The idea of sustainability has been around and bandied about for long enough that the public at-large could be excused for seeing it take on an almost abstract quality. But for those looking to grasp just how sustainable their community is, the answer may be as simple as calculating the distance of the closest bar to their home. Some of the brains behind the new Neighborhood Development category for LEED- one of the primary systems in the U.S. for rating sustainability- view the existence of a "third space" (aka a place to hang out with members of your community other than home or work) as crucial to making a place livable. Our own Decatur is cited in the piece as a place rife with these third spaces given the growth in craft beer and pub culture. And the fact that the community is arguably Atlanta's most sustainable neighborhood is, according to the authors, not a coincidence. The idea makes a lot of sense viewed from a global perspective as well. It's difficult to detach the coherence, walk-ability and perserverence of European cities like London, Paris and Rome from the abundant pubs and cafes teeming with locals and tourists alike. And on the other end of the spectrum, anyone care to wager a guess on how many Alpharetta residents can walk to a bar?
· Why a Good Bar Is Essential to Sustainable Communities [The Atlantic Cities]