There’s something special about every town—the corner barbershop on Main Street, acres of wilderness, busy local shops, hard-working lands and people, or deep-rooted traditions. That character is why people love their towns. It’s why they live there. And it’s also in danger.
Towns everywhere struggle to cope with rapid demographic, economic and land use changes, and many are losing what makes them special. Traditional planning processes aren’t enough to respond to a dizzying array of challenges and keep our towns from becoming soulless shells of communities. And top-down, isolated decision-making isn’t enough to engage today’s diverse, active, information-hungry citizens, who have the power to strengthen their communities in the face of change.
The key to successful communities is their heart and soul—the unique cultures, landscapes, traditions, and values that people cherish. Many communities are ready to protect their unique character, deeply engage their citizens, and meet the challenges of the 21st Century. We’ve created a set of principles to guide communities interested in taking the Heart & Soul path to healthy, enduring futures: