(This post was sent as an newsletter to the Las Catalinas mailing list today.)
Dear Friend of Las Catalinas,
Las Catalinas exists to help create a better way to live. I'd like to talk about what this means and share some new thoughts about the values of our town.
We think the way of living we are creating at Las Catalinas is more fun, more satisfying, healthier, and more sustainable.
Some of the important elements of this better way of living are:
A Great Place to Walk - Because this is a requirement for everything else.
A Place Where Children Can Have Freedom - Because this is so important in its own right and because it is a key indicator that a better way of living is actually happening.
Natural Sociability - Because an environment that makes it easy and pleasurable to connect with the people around you makes life so much more enjoyable and fulfilling.
Things To Do - Because a vibrant community of activity, social opportunities, achievement, and recreation is fun and satisfying.
Beauty - Because being surrounded by beauty is important.
Nature - Because pleasurable opportunities to interact with nature that are easily available within a short walk should be an everyday part of life.
Do we, the people of the Earth, need a better way to live? I think so. The development patterns of the automotive era have led to a way of living that is problematic in many ways. More thoughts on this can be found on a blog post here.
Much of our early Las Catalinas thinking about creating a better way of living had to do with physical design: creating places that facilitate this way of living. This is undeniably extremely important. But lately I have been thinking more about the importance of the values, the character, and the personality of the people who make up our town. When I talk to Las Catalinas owners and visitors about what they like best about our town, comments about the people are most prominent. "I like the kind of people that come to Las Catalinas." "I love the way the staff treats me like a friend." "I feel like I can just invite anyone at Las Catalinas in for a drink or dinner." "I love that people here are so easygoing." Clearly, this is really important to our town. And just thinking about it logically, isn't the single most important thing about nearly any place really the people who are there?
We have thought and written about the topic of values and personality in our town a fair amount up until now, but I think we could emphasize it even more:
I personally have been very focused on the importance of shared values to work organizations for many years, and the Las Catalinas Core Values and Beliefs are extremely important to our company.
From the beginning we expected Las Catalinas would appeal to people with a certain set of characteristics: active; curious; unpretentious; nature lovers; people who are open to new experiences; people who want to make the world a better place. To a remarkable extent that does describe the people who make up Las Catalinas.
In the legal founding documents for our town we recite our company's Core Values and Beliefs and state our aspiration that they guide the actions not only of our company but of The Las Catalinas Trust, town merchants, owners, and visitors. The documents also particularly highlight the importance of "The Experience of Children, Restrictions on Motor Vehicles, The Joy of Neighborly Interactions, and The Right to Peace and Quiet."
The cast-iron sign that we placed in Plaza Danta some years ago reads, among other things: "Las Catalinas welcomes everyone who shares our values of respect, honesty, and love."
I could not be more pleased with the people who have chosen to be part of Las Catalinas thus far. I would describe them as follows, and say that our aspiration is that we continue on this path.
The people of Las Catalinas are:
Kind, considerate, thoughtful and honest.
Curious, active, interested, and interesting.
Lovers of nature, beauty, and other people.
Easygoing, welcoming, and nice.
If this describes you, then get yourself to Las Catalinas right away. You will love it here, and we will love having you.
As for me, I think Las Catalinas is making me a better person. When I am there I am more open. I'm more physically active. I'm more connected to the people around me. I'm more connected to nature. I'm happier. I feel like I belong. There are always people around who I really enjoy spending time with. I hope that you feel the same way when you are there.
I live in Atlanta most of the time. This morning I drove my son to school, and on the way home I had the urge to stop off somewhere just to meet up with some friendly faces and chat a bit before I moved on to my work day. I often have this urge. But guess what? There was nowhere for me to go. How pathetic is that? And it would never, ever happen at Las Catalinas. It is a better way to live.
We are having a great year at Las Catalinas, and hope to see you there soon. As always, thanks for your support. Please tell a friend about Las Catalinas today!
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