ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY LARRY THAL of MOUNTAINSIDE VILLAGE Upon Achieving Gold Certification under the Greater Yellowstone Framework for Sustainable Development May 7, 2014 – Victor, Idaho
Thank you, YBP. This is an honor. Thank you to Jan, Heather and Wendy. Founding a neighborhood has a lot in common with raising children –You do your best to get them started in the right direction as they will grow up and take on a life of their own.. At that point you can only hope that you did your best to start them off in the right direction and that they have been given the tools and resources to thrive. So what is the “right direction” for a neighborhood? That’s what this discussion is about. All of us here today are involved in the process of nurturing, our communities. We are talking about good parenting. If you want to raise good kids, you need to set boundaries & you need to inspire them with worthy goals--Same thing with community building. Like parenting – we are not the first to face these challenges- we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. We are wise to learn from successful communities and those who nurtured them. I‘m an advocate of Traditional Neighborhood Design. Let me explain that is not about re-creating some romantic, nostalgic place from the past. It is about building places for the future, using time tested practices adapted for our time and place. We use these practices because they have proved to be so practical. We are facing some serious challenges & we cannot afford to get it wrong. I’m all about high performance. We need high performance buildings, high performance neighborhoods, cities and counties. How does that translate to nurturing our communities? It turns out our historic towns performed pretty darned well – Walkable is high performance. Durable is high performance, adaptable is high performance. The one key factor I keep being reminded of is that building the kind of places that people truly love is super high performance. If we love our built environment, we care more about it, we maintain it, and we celebrate it. These places endure and prosper. Although love of place may seem intangible, the fact that these places also hold value and appreciate more rapidly than the norm is notable and not to be dismissed. In the West we are now getting beyond our rugged, self-sufficient individual ideal when it comes to how we build communities. It turns out that many people like having neighbors and living in neighborhoods, but it’s crucial to get the basics right. A strong sense of community prospers when we build neighborhoods, towns and cities in a way that protects the environment, helps the individual and fosters community. So how does the Greater Yellowstone Framework for Sustainable Development fit into nurturing our communities? It’s all about boundaries- tools- guidelines – inspiration and education. We want the best of these for our children and we desperately need them for our communities. This Framework has the potential to be those things- to help set good boundaries- to educate & to inspire. Having been in a parenting role of a little village, one that I hope you will come visit later today, I now get to thank all who have & continue to help us -in the process of nurturing this village. · I thank all of our team members who have worked on Mountainside Village over the last 10 years. · I thank my family, the City of Victor & all those we have worked with from the city and entire community over the years. · Of course I must thank YBP. This organization has been a supporter that we truly a appreciate, especially in helping us in so many ways as a pilot for this certification. It has been a pleasure & honor to work with you. There are too many to name but I would like to personally thank Jan, Heather, Wendy, Kath, Dahvi & more. I thank all who have worked & continue to work on this Framework. And to the anonymous certifiers who we know have a thankless job. Thanks to all. And now it is my pleasure to invite you for a walk around Mountainside Village at 5:15. Let’s hope the weather holds & that we can have a good walk & some great conversations about just how we can nurture better, stronger, more resilient & well-loved communities.