As we start to tie a ribbon on 2018 and look ahead to the next year, I have a couple of thoughts to share.
We know the U.S. Census named Idaho the fastest-growing state last year, at 2.2%. We grew by nearly 37,000 new Idahoans, mostly in a few metro areas around the state. In numbers alone, it’s not so impressive–sixteen U.S. metros each added more people than our whole state did. But the impact is proportionally more dramatic here. Most of us have come, stayed or returned to Idaho precisely to avoid the challenges of those large population numbers. Rapid population growth threatens the quality of life and the natural beauty that all of us value.
What can we do about it? Many want to build more roads and suburbs for the growth, similar to the metros they are fleeing. Others want to block new developments altogether and live in their own “private Idaho.” Neither approach is practical or sustainable. Or friendly.
At Idaho Smart Growth we know that growth and change can be painful but potentially rewarding. Our work is based on the idea that everyone has a stake in their communities, and that all stakeholders should be engaged in community issues. That means being interested, educated and involved—which is where we’re trying to make a difference. We’re working across Idaho to help people become active participants in how their communities deal with growth, or decline. Below are a few examples of what we’ve been up to, and more information is available on our website.
We know you are interested in this work, too. As Idaho grows, so does the need for Idaho Smart Growth. To keep up, we are dependent on the support of individuals and groups around the state. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to consider whether you can contribute. Check out our donate page to learn more.
Thank you for an engaging and rewarding year! I hope you have a fabulous holiday season and an excellent new year to come!