I like the term Character Towns. This is a concept coined by Bill Kercher, a planning consultant based in Florida. He refers to Character Towns as small communities that direct all of their planning and economic, physical and social assets to develop a city that is both prosperous and pleasant. We all understand this concept, and we live it whenever we visit a place and say the following upon returning home: “You know—I could live in that place!”
Character Towns is also the name of a useful website and new e-book that provides tips and guidance on how to build a character town of your own. The e-book is definitely worth a read, especially at the low Kindle download cost of only $5. As someone who works in many Character Towns or wanna-be Character Towns, I found these materials to be very helpful. They don’t contain any blinding new insights (to me, at least), but the e-book is full of sensible ideas and concepts–all in one place and presented in a useful and readable format. It also contains lots of real-life exercises and examples from Kercher’s long experience in community planning.