One basic thing that most of our local leaders seem to be overlooking is the need for a jobs-to-housing balance in newly developing areas. Residential and commercial development should be planned to coincide so that housing is centered around short commutes to workplaces. Both small towns and big city downtowns used to be built this way. The dream of walking to work doesn't have to be just a dream that people dismiss as unrealistic. This is the reality in older cities and towns all over the world. The best cities in the world are walking cities -- Paris and Rome come to mind.
Small towns around Central Florida should be the first ones on board to embrace a Smart Growth pattern. Building higher density around mixed-use centers doesn't automatically mean high-rises. Old downtown Winter Park is a great example of a mixed-use main street with some higher density residential nearby, and it's beautiful. Growth should be controlled, shaped, and molded by our local officials. The idea that we can't stop or control growth is absurd. Of course our local governments have the power to stop or limit growth. When officials step up and take responsibility and aren't afraid to lead, then great results are possible. Stopping growth is not usually going to be the best option for economic vitality. Controlled growth is a must.