The Houston-Galveston region is expected to see 4 million new residents in the next 30 years.

With that, several questions will come up: Where will those residents live? How will this change affect quality of life? How will they get around?

To help answer those questions, a regional plan is being developed by the Houston-Galveston Area Council. And officials are seeking input from the public in the 13-county region.

The Houston Galveston Area Council will hold a public engagement meeting for Wharton County residents from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Wharton Civic Center, 1924 N. Fulton St., Officials are soliciting input from the general public regarding their thoughts on what should be in this plan.

The 13-county plan explores opportunities to improve the region’s most important resources, including clean air and water, good jobs, safe and attractive neighborhoods, affordable housing, transportation choices, and open spaces and parks. The council is seeking input through March to help set goals and priorities for the plan.

The Regional Plan for Sustainable Development will be the first regionally-adopted, consensus-based sustainability plan for the Gulf Coast Planning Region of Texas. The plan will address the interaction of land use, transportation and infrastructure, housing, economic development and environmental elements — and the social equity issues related to each — and contain appropriate implementation strategies identifying context-specific strategies for the region’s urban, suburban, rural and coastal communities.

The plan will be developed by a 24-member consortium representing a robust cross section of communities and organizations, including government agencies, non-profit/advocacy organizations and research/educational institutions. The diverse experience of members of the Coordinating Committee is intended to strike a balance across sectors and begin to dialogue for this planning process.

The plan will build on previous and on-going planning efforts in the region to address the myriad of sustainability issues including: housing/transportation affordability, air quality, energy consumption, transportation choice, access to fresh food, water quality and quantity, and natural disaster resiliency.

Although the region has seen a long history of programs, projects, and entities dealing with these issues individually, an overarching plan to convert the whole into something greater than the sum of all these parts is needed. The plan will allow the region to unify various efforts to steer the region toward a livable, equitable, and sustainable future.

Similar meetings are planned for other counties in the region.

More information about the Houston Galveston Regional Plan is available at www.ourregion.org. Contact ourregion@h-gac.com or 713-463-8200.

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