Thrive 2050 Must Contain a Comprehensive and Equitable Green Infrastructure Plan
The Thrive 2050 plan, the master plan update process that will guide the county's growth and development for the coming decades is nearing approval by the Council. Many residents are frustrated with the lack of concrete recommendations in the plan to take on real challenges like affordable housing, equity and climate preparedness. As the plan moves forward, the county seems to be spending more time calling these legitimate concerns "myths" to be dispelled in both text and video form than revising the plan to make it stronger.
It is fact, not myth, that the draft Thrive plan does not give appropriate emphasis to climate change response, the importance of green infrastructure and the role of the Reserve in our resilience both in food and fiber production and biodiversity. In general, the final plan offers 85% less action items than the one created from public listening sessions, with less importance placed on meeting the challenges we face on climate and equity. (Check out Thrive by the Word Counts to see the data.)
Dismissing concerns and those who express them (repeatedly and in slick production) about the implications of the draft Thrive plan as myths reflects the continued disdain held for the public by Planning.
There is still time for the Council to make Thrive 2050 a plan that appropriately meets our challenges.
We are proud to have joined with other civic organizations to call on the Council to add a comprehensive green infrastructure plan as a core priority of the Thrive 2050 plan.
Green Infrastructure includes things like: interconnected greenway spaces, conservation landscaping including tree plantings and rain gardens, and constructed wetlands.
These solutions reduce heat in neighborhoods, provide cleaner air, mitigate flooding and provide recreation opportunities -all wins for public health, all critical climate change adaptation strategies that all neighborhoods, particularly low income areas, need. Currently the Thrive plan includes planning for more park areas. While this is important, the benefits of parks need to be felt throughout the county, in all neighborhoods. Planners have coined the term "Tree Equity" to describe the deficits low income neighborhoods have in tree canopy - statistically correlated with worse health outcomes.
A plan charting our future needs to meet critical needs please add your support to this letter and amplify the message to the Council.
Please click "start writing" and take two minutes to contact the council today before the PHED Committee takes up the plan on Monday the 11th.
Update - for a deep dive into how Thrive proposes environmental protection as "Dressing on the Side" check out this explainer.