Duluth is at a crossroads: While in the midst of a building boom at home (“Building toward the boom: Duluth construction expected to ramp up this year,” Jan. 18), it is, in part, the effects of outdated planning and development that are sending the climate into a tailspin. Climate change is not simply the result of the resources we use but also the way our communities are designed to depend on them. As we build Duluth today, it becomes imperative that we craft all planning and development with the vision for a clean, carbon-neutral, and healthy city of tomorrow.

To consistently rely on the planning and development models of yesterday will ensure that Duluth remains one step behind. Are our new projects LEED certified or using cutting-edge innovations? Are they mixed-use in ways that actually reduce automobile dependence? Are they pedestrian-, bike-, and public transit-focused and friendly? Do they incorporate substantial green spaces, greenhouses, and gardens into living communities? Do they generate energy through onsite renewable sources?

Vibrant communities of tomorrow will answer these questions through forward-thinking planning and development today.

Sadly, the proposed Lester Park Golf Course land sale could become yet another example of using yesterday’s mindset to solve tomorrow’s problems (“City proposes to downsize Lester golf,” May 2). Will we chop down trees and pave green spaces for the quickest version of four walls and a roof repeated 400 times? Will we move hundreds of people to the edge of town and ignore, for now, the environmental and traffic problems caused by added lengthy commutes? Will we gut our green spaces for the urban planning equivalent of the cassette tape?

And will we then, absurdly, call it “progress?”

Let’s innovate away from yesterday’s planning and development. Let’s move beyond 20th-century mindsets. If Duluth is to enjoy the 21st century as a city of tomorrow, we need visionary leadership today.

Nathaniel Bushek

Duluth