One of the many things I love about Greenville is how it has grown and continues to grow in a very positive direction. It has an incredible balance of urban developments and green spaces, which was very intentional on the city council’s part. In January of 2021 the Greenville city council passed the Greenville 2040 plan, a document meant to guide the growth of the city over the next 20 years. It details an exciting future for growth in Greenville, and is definitely worth the read. It is quite long and detailed, so I have compiled the highlights to give you a general idea so you don’t have to sit down and read the whole thing. 

 

The first thing they address in the document is the guiding principles. They are as follows: be enterprising by taking risks to improve the community, be resourceful by using everything at our disposal, be inclusive by relying on and valuing diverse perspectives, and be courageous by taking bold action, even when difficult. The document states that when any development decisions are made, these are the ideas that should be kept in mind. 

 

One thing that I am a huge fan of is their core goal, which is to improve the quality of life in Greenville as a mechanism for creating sustainable growth. They state they are using “quality of life as the key to community and economic vitality”. I truly believe if more growing cities focused on this, their growth would be much healthier. 

 

The biggest part of the plan moving forward is establishing what they refer to as a ‘node and corridor’ system. The ‘nodes’ will be established areas that will grow to be traditional mixed-use community hubs that absorb a lot of Greenville’s projected population and job growth. Surrounding these nodes will be Greenville’s historical neighborhoods, which will be preserved and strengthened. The ‘corridors’ connect the nodes to each other, and will be carefully designed to funnel growth into the established nodes. This plan will take some of Greenville's most congested roadways and turn them into more traditionally urban streets, making them more friendly to pedestrians, bikes, and buses. Ideally in this scenario dependency on cars as a mode of transportation will be reduced.  

 

The plan also stresses the importance of increasing affordable housing and ensuring that Greenville has plenty of green space available. With regard to affordable housing, the plan states that the city should guarantee that 10% of all new housing units should be dedicated for income eligible households. In particular they also want to make sure that there is more affordable housing in the Downtown area, as many low income families have been forced out of the area due to rising rents. In reference to green space, the plan suggests that 35% of Greenville’s remaining vacant land should be reserved for recreational use and natural buffers to enhance quality of life and protect natural resources. They also want to increase planted medians on roadways and set a goal of planting 1000 trees a year to preserve Greenville’s canopy. 

 

We can already see some of the points of this plan unfolding. One example of this is the construction of Unity Park downtown. This is a massive construction that is taking place in phases to create another beautiful park in the downtown area. It also symbolizes the coming together of diverse communities in a unified effort. Right next to the park there is going to be an entirely new complex of permanently affordable housing provisions, following up on the vision of inclusivity and increasing housing options for all of the city’s citizens. 

 

This city plan makes me so excited for the future of Greenville, and makes me very glad that I live here and get to be a part of it all!