Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Wake Up Washtenaw “White Paper”: Overview

This is the first in a series of posts airing the first draft of Wake Up Washtenaw's "What Paper". It's out here for your comments and suggestions, so have at it!


Wake Up Washtenaw is a non-profit citizens' organization encouraging sustainable, transit-oriented development by private groups in Washtenaw County.
  • We encourage sustainable development that is carbon-neutral, and when possible, is able to provide basic food needs and take care of its own waste stream.
  • We encourage walkable, transit-oriented development that enables residents to get to their jobs, shopping, recreation and worship without the need for privately owned vehicles.
  • We encourage development by a consortium or similar group of private businesses and residents, rather than depending on public funding.
  • Now is the time to begin: a low point in the economic cycle is a good time for planning new projects and investing in the necessary resources. In addition, the certainty of climate change and the limits of fossil fuels have brought public awareness to an all-time high.
It's not enough for citizens to wait for "them" to do something about our changing needs. It is necessary for all of us to work together to make sustainable living possible - and profitable.


  1. The comments about food and waste streams are startling to me; I have not heard about really trying to do that, and the idea of handling your own waste stream, besides being a bit gross, brings images of thousands of miniature sanitation plants to mind. I don't have advice for this, but that is my impression.

    The second bullet makes sense, and is easier to digest. A couple things catch my eye though. The first is that while you are really talking about a savvy combination of walking, buses, and trains, it sounds at first like you're going to try to have a church, a mosque, and a synagogue at regular intervals so that they are in walking distance for everyone. I'm not sure if the emphasis on walking over various forms of public transit was intentional or not.

    I think the inclusion of the fourth bullet is wise, and the imagery of the low point and the high point is good.

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  3. Yes, the emphasis on walking over public transportation is intentional. It's healthy, and it's ultimately the most sustainable way to get from A to B.

    Right about the waste stream - gross! But at the same time an extremely important factor in how we, as a civilization, interact with our environment. More on that in later posts!

    I think it's important to reassert the central role of worship in the community, and I hope we can encourage faith-based groups to take root and build. Communities of this size (five to ten thousand) generally support several churches in the US, faith and denomination depending on the demographics, of course.