Promote quality of life aspects, including greenspace, as an attraction to new businesses and residents.
The design of a city, its public spaces, and public infrastructure have important correlations with quality of life, social development, and other key components of human wellbeing. Likewise, appealing cities are more likely to attract a creative, innovative, and skilled workforce, and the investments that are needed to drive the urban economy. The urban design practice in the modern world is not only for building layouts, but includes an additional focus on the goals of making urban areas functional, attractive, and sustainable.
One great example of city-wide amenities that improved the quality of life is the Legacy Trail system through Lexington. Many new businesses and residents factor the trail systems in when making their company and home location decisions. This type of regional greenspace is largely well-received by citizens. Another regional greenspace project underway is the Town Branch Commons, a world class greenway and park for downtown Lexington. It will be a 2.5-mile linear park that follows the historic route of the Town Branch Creek, currently located in a culvert under modern day Vine Street. This system will provide continuous bike and pedestrian connections, a lush green band through downtown, connections to new and existing parks, and improvements to water quality. Town Branch Commons will also connect the Legacy and Town Branch Trails, completing a 22-mile trail network that can be used for far more than just recreation. A project of this scale needs support from all community stakeholders with public and private partnership. The project is already energizing multiple facets of private developments along the corridors, with increasing interest among new businesses and residents.
During comprehensive plan community discussions, the general public indicated broad support for the overall concept of continuing to preserve the outlying horse farms that are widely represented as Lexington’s identity. As has been mentioned before, these farms are not only pretty to look at, but are vital in direct and indirect impacts to Lexington’s economy. In recent years, the horse farms have started to embrace connections with the urban population, opening up their doors with Horse Country tours. This creates a personal connection between the urban and rural areas and strengthens Lexington’s identity, which assists in bringing more people and businesses to Lexington.