The Devon Scott for Wilmington campaign has lofty goals, but we will ground them in actionable policy.
The growth of our region is inevitable, our task is to shepherd this growth in a way that brings value to all Wilmingtonians. We all do better when we all do better.
Our approach to policy writing is like product development where the goal is for the product to be most useful to the most people. We seek to avoid platitudes and empty promises, and instead create prototypes that demonstrate real value, then we work to scale them for the greater good.
Dynamic problems are not solved using linear thinking. These policies are presented individually, but they are infused by a larger vision that helps the pieces work together in harmony and actionable resonance.
We are looking beyond symptoms, identifying our weakest links, and choosing a systems-based approach to city building and problem-solving. With this perspective we can bring all of our human faculties of thinking, feeling, and willing into action and lift Wilmington up so we can move her forward.
In this spirit, we are developing a Wilmington Smart Growth Filter to ensure that there is a public value checklist applied when making development decisions going forward.
Smart Growth is sensible, planned efficient growth that integrates economic development and job creation with community quality of life by preserving and enhancing the manufactured and natural environment.
Smart Growth encourages healthy growth management through diversity and balance. Smart Growth reduces municipal costs. Smart Growth reduces traffic. Smart Growth regenerates the environment and improves public health. Smart Growth puts true market value on public treasures such as trees, water, parks, and green spaces.
The Wilmington Smart Growth Filter will be drafted by city staff following these principles:
- Improves the quality of life of our citizens
- Increases connectivity, bikeability & walkability
- Avoids the unnecessary cost of sprawl development
- Supports an effective use of public transportation
- Improves our position on affordable housing
- Creates clean jobs that do not pollute
- Explores Defensive Design postures for our region
- Development near existing development & infrastructure
- Protects green space & critical resources
- Respects the desired character of the community
- Is regenerative & sustainable towards Culture, Resources & Rights
The Wilmington Smart Growth Filter infuses every aspect of our platform. There is no more important issue for the future of this city or the people who live in it than the way our growth and land are managed.
To frame the rest of the issues in our platform we have developed a series of #hashtags that focus attention and energy around three realms of social organization – Equality, Ecology, and Economy.
Charity is a blessing, but in a truly healthy society charity is injustice. A government that does not express true equality to all people on all levels is defeating its purpose. We must unlock the potential of our existing citizens and infrastructure, and identify all places where favoritism or neglect is present in government – including purchasing, policy, and government culture – and abolish it.
- Police: We will empower our law enforcement to be outreach for the city and to use restorative justice practices and harm reduction strategies as we work to reduce crime through compassion, accountability, and common sense.
- Noise Ordinance & Enforcement: We will define simple and coherent noise ordinance policies that are sensitive to the details of incidence, that do not suppress our creative spirit, and that are respectful to our residents.
- Ethics: Accountability to the public, accessibility, and transparency must be a priority of our government and elected officials if we are to establish trust and encourage greater civic engagement.
- District Elections: Wilmington is growing quickly and with ever-increasing diversity, we need our government to reflect this diversity and appropriately represent our citizens by officially identifying districts for voting, development, and community building.
- Traffic: Public transportation can be leveraged to balance geographic inequalities and connect our communities if we plan to increase participation in public transportation using non-subsidized targeted and multi-modal strategies to fund and expand our services.
The term ecology was first used by Ernst Haeckel (1869). The American plant ecologist Frederick Clements considered ecology as “the science of the community”, and the contemporary American ecologist Eugene Odum defined ecology as “the study of the structure and function of nature”.
We are all a part of Mother Nature. We live in the Earth, not just on it. We must adopt an “ecosystem approach” to the way we identify problems, and in the way we make decisions and pursue solutions. We cannot afford to kick the can down the road, our goal should always be to hand our children a healthier world than we were given.
- Neighborhoods: We must pay attention to and serve our human ecosystems by designing easily traversable 15-minute neighborhoods that directly engage communities in healthy activity and discourse, and that stimulate civic saturation and participation.
- Environmental Toxicity: Clear and stern ordinances against unhealthy emissions into the air, contamination of our watersheds, and the toxification of our soil, combined with further collaborate with our surrounding counties and municipalities on all options to protect the public and safeguard our environment against neglectful corporate activity, will go a long way towards regenerating the damage that has been done to us and our ecosystems.
- Green Spaces: With available land area dwindling and slim protections on a shrinking tree inventory our aesthetic and natural resiliency is at risk; making protection of our urban forest, increasing the amount of pervious ground, and utilizing available vacant land as functional greenspace an important local cultural priority.
- Public Health: We must broaden our attention and definition of the social determinants of health to include housing, diet, education, and poverty, and work to bring harmony to the spheres of food, farming, and human health that results in a resonance that raises all ships.
- Renewable Energy: We can achieve an ambitious agenda for renewable energy in Wilmington by leveraging opportunities in solar, lobbying the state for responsible wind development, exploring new opportunities in efficiencies being offered by blockchain technology, and making visionary identity statement to our surrounding regions.
We must instill a spirit of shared, fair, and impartial value into our local and regional economy. The incentives we leverage and the intentions we hold must be pointed to creating ownership and raising the entire community if we are to succeed as a city. We all do better when we all do better.
- Land Development Strategy: We can redevelop and expand our city without creating a cascade of gentrification and coerced land loss through a land development strategy that focuses on low impact development, puts reasonable value on public health and cultural treasures like heritage trees, eliminating food deserts, and connecting communities to amenities and opportunities for employment that will bring us closer together and allow all of us to spread our wings.
- Urban & Regional Agriculture: We can put our regional trade skills to work by making community gardens and urban agriculture a part of our plan. This will not only allow our land and communities to be intrinsically productive entities, but will provide highly accessible opportunities for community empowerment and skills training.
- Entrepreneurship: The government, along with our media and private institutions, has a role in encouraging and supporting our city’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. Encouraging our business communities to take calculated risks with high return will produce greater opportunity and foster the problem-solving culture the city needs. Supplying RFPs for public works to those communities can excite participation, promoting mixed-use developments that encourage community garages, kitchens, makerspaces and so on that will provide opportunity for innovation.
- Affordable Housing: Our housing crisis will have to be attacked from multiple angles, including attraction of higher wage businesses, supporting and incentivizing higher wages within our city, and building more units for our population through aesthetically pleasing densification.
- Brand & Recruiting: If we support our existing businesses and escort them to success, our IPOs and startup exits will make a statement to the region that Wilmington can incubate and launched successful industries, and in doing so, we will attract the white collar jobs necessary to bridge the inequality gap and support the economic mobility of all citizens.