Is it important for cities to foster vibrant, affordable neighborhoods for young people? What was most important to you when you were a young adult looking for a place to live?
Lanni Fish, Irving: Absolutely. It is important for a city to plan ahead and try to provide the things that will attract young families. The young family is the future of the city. Without a constant infusion of young and growing families, a city will dry up and die. When my husband and I moved to Irving in 1973, we had four children, ages 3 to 14. We wanted an uncluttered neighborhood, with a wide street and good sidewalks where the kids could play. We also wanted good schools, convenient access to shopping and the airport, as well as easy access to the main roads that would take us to Dallas and Fort Worth. We found all of this in Irving, and then set about finding the most important thing — an active, vibrant church in which to rear our children. A city that wants to grow and attract strong, productive, law-abiding people should start with the basics and try to provide clean, inviting, safe neighborhoods and good schools, and encourage churches to thrive. These are the things that will attract good families — families led by responsible thinking people.

John B. Dodson, Irving: When you ask if cities should foster affordable housing for our young people, you’re asking me if I agree with what I consider to be one of the more troubling scenarios in our society today: The coddling of our youth. Today, we’re afraid to allow our kids to fail, to lose ballgames, to make failing grades … name it! My wife of 60 years and I started out poor as Job’s Turkey. (That’s an expression used by us oldsters to demonstrate how hard we had it as youths — even worse than having to walk to school, uphill, both ways, in the snow!)  You use the term “vibrant,” in addition to “affordable.” You can see by the very nature of your question that we have a real problem on our hands. Not only are we to feel guilt at not providing housing within their price range, but we must feel less than sufficient in not providing housing that is pulsing, throbbing with energy and activity, vigorous, lively and vital.

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