At one point during the hour and a half meeting, I stood still for a moment and listened. People were talking in every part of the building. There was excitement, and thoughtfulness, and surprise in the voices.
All these ideas got written down. It was an impressive list ranging from the very concrete (more bike paths) to the nearly fantastical (more and smaller schools). There is something magical in the way that so many people got together to generate ideas and try to pull them into a cohesive blueprint. Of course that last part — the cohesive blueprint — is an enormous job, which our very capable planning department is heading up.
Over the past week and a half since the meeting I’ve been trying to make my own sense about what I saw and heard. Two themes are emerging for me, and from what I’ve gleaned about the first two comprehensive plan meetings, these themes may be a consistent thread.
One theme is human scale. This is the idea that we want the way in which we live in Goshen to be self-contained, manageable and generous. We want our homes, our neighborhoods, our work — our lives — to reflect appropriate agency and pride, ability and contentment, personal time and energy. We want to build a city that encourages us to have enough space for ourselves, and our neighbors — what Mayor Kauffman has called “quality of life.”
The other theme is diversity. This goes hand in hand with the theme of human scale. Our vibrant downtown is a living example of this: geographically it is self-contained and manageable — nothing overwhelming about it — and there are many words to describe what happens there on First Fridays (for example), but I would put “generous” at the top of the list. And diversity — to me — is the engine that drives this.