My family went camping this weekend, and by "family" I mean eight adults and eight little girls. We left Friday morning and got back Sunday evening. It was a fantastic time. After cleaning up gear and getting stuff put away, I fell asleep putting kids to bed and did not wake up until nearly 9 AM Monday morning. I feel great, but am looking at the 164 new emails in my inbox, the five phone call messages I need to return, the pile of regular mail on my desk and the fact that I have not read the news in four days, and I am realizing that the blog is going to be short-changed today.

Sorry Strong Town Advocates.

Here is a thought I have had that I wanted to share and see if we could get some discussion going.

Today as we design the layout of our small towns, the primary concern - the concern that overrules all concerns - is the free flow of traffic. If traffic can not flow freely, accommodations must be made and capital spent to make sure that it does. This has resulted in the spending of trillions of dollars in the United States on projects such as the one I talked about last week happening here in Brainerd.

Overlooking whether or not this is a strategy that actually accomplishes its purpose (the free flow of traffic), here is the question I would like to see discussed:

If we reoriented our thinking and required that each investment made in the community added to the overall value (you could roughly measure value as tax base) of the community, how would that change our priorities? Exclude maintenance costs - what I am talking about is a capital improvement. It is requiring communities to show a return on investment on public improvement projects.

There are many ways to look at this and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Please leave your comments in the comment section and we can discuss here throughout the week.