At the August 6, 2007 city council meeting, council passed a resolution providing $11,000 to ASAP (Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population) to support a first
phase of research by ASAP to define an optimal sustainable population size (or range) for the Albemarle-Charlottesville Community. I believe this is $11,000 well spent by the city. Given our limited natural resources, and city infrastructure currently pushed ever closer to their current capacity, it is essential that both Charlottesville and Albemarle County planners understand the implications of growing in population on the quality of life in our region, and on the ability of community to meet the water, sanitary sewer, education, and all other demands that grow with population. I encourage you to read the letter from Jack Marshall, ASAP president, to city council requesting this funding. It is available on the city at August 6, 2007 council agenda (with background material).
Charlottesville has gotten a variety of high rankings on a variety of lists relating to tourism, retirement places, and quality of life. But, the best list I can think on which we should strive to be number one is a list of sustainable cities. well managed growth is clearly a major element in becoming a sustainable urban area. It appears that Charlottesville-Albemarle may be the first urbanized area to carry out an investigation of this type to determine both a research methodology, and a determination of an optimal population range consistent with becoming a truly sustainable and desirable community.
If this research is successful, I believe that both Charlottesville and Albemarle County can do significantly better planning for our future, and be much more efficient at providing and maintaining basic infrastructure consistent with serving a sustainable population.
I look forward to following the progress on this effort and applaud the efforts of Jack Marshall and others associated with bringing this proposal forward.
I can't recall the exact agency that did a ranking of sustainable urban areas about one year ago (I think it was within the United Nations), but I do recall that no North American urban areas were on the listed rankings. Perhaps Charlottesville-Albemarle can take a major step toward being recognized as a sustainable urban area through this exciting work.