To the editor:
I read recently that the Lawrence population grew 0.7 percent last year.
A prominent community planner said that was "failing" and we needed to grow 2.5 to 3.0 percent a year to be "successful." I have heard this reasoning all my life, and wonder why population growth (i.e., money, jobs, new business, etc.), always seems to be THE measure of progress. We even offer enormous financial incentives (funded by current taxpayers, of course) to lure new business to Lawrence. How about quality of life? Shouldn't that be the main component in any discussion of a community's "success"?
I never hear discussion about the consequences of continuous and steady growth. Do we really want to grow indefinitely so we can satisfy some arbitrary definition of success? I made some calculations based on a current population of 90,000, increasing at 3 percent a year. In 20 years Lawrence would be over 162,000. In 40 years we would be up to 293,000. Perhaps we could eventually have the "success" of continuous housing from Lawrence to Kansas City, along with the additional pollution, traffic headaches, increased crime, etc.
The major factors in my family's decision to move here when I retired was the size and atmosphere of Lawrence. I previously lived in Houston, Tulsa and Kansas City and have experienced the impersonal way of life and other negative issues in those heavily populated areas. I love Lawrence just the way it is.
To quote Joan Rivers' famous line: "Can we talk?"