"We are organized to address challenges and
deliver services at the federal, state, and local levels, but
the tough challenges are not respecting jurisdictional
boundaries. They are primarily emerging at the neighborhood,
regional, and global levels."
-- William Dodge
Mountain Communities fosters regional collaboration and innovation
to improve people's quality of life.
HMC organizes ongoing forums for regional dialogue,
collaboration and networking and offers a package of data,
strategic planning and decision support tools to help community leaders better
understand issues and implement solutions at the local and regional
In the spring of 1993,
over 100 residents began a year-long planning process that
identified key issues facing the region. These citizens created HMC
to foster regional connections between citizens, local
governments, and community sectors and to facilitate solutions to
the broad health issues (social, economic, environmental) affecting
communities. This process and seed funding for HMC were provided as
part of the through the
Colorado Trust's statewide
Healthy Communities Initiative.
In short, Healthy
Mountain Communities is a means to work on issues that extend
beyond political boundaries and a way for citizens, business
leaders, and local governments to collaborate in new and exciting
ways. It is also an advocate of a broader, and longer term
definition of health in our communities — a definition that connects
the qualities of our lives, our communities, our economy, and our
Today, HMC involves
citizens, elected officials, and organizations in several
initiatives and projects and aimed at making the communities of the
Parachute to Aspen Region healthy in the broadest sense of the term.
Many problems cross political boundaries, which
makes them difficult for individual communities to solve alone.
Taking a regional perspective can help pool resources to address
More people can win and win more
often when we work with each other. Collaboration often means
working with unlikely partners and across community sectors to
achieve common goals. Such an approach to problem solving takes
advantage of the many talents and resources in our region to the
fullest extent possible.
Creating healthy communities requires more citizen
participation than a trip to the voting booth every four years.
Fortunately, citizens are a wealth of information, skills, and
perspectives waiting to be tapped. Broader citizen participation in
problems that affect our everyday lives can make addressing problems
easier and solutions more enduring.
The health of a community relates to the jobs people
have, the neighborhoods they live in, and the state of their
environment, as well as numerous other factors. Systemic
thinking assumes that many of our current problems are connected and
cannot be addressed in isolation and that good solutions solve
"Dynamic places have dynamic problems. The West
has plenty. Resolving these problems will require dynamic, healthy
conversation in Western Communities."
-- Frank Allen
(Click on a name to send an email message)
Former Carbondale Trustee
Planner, Design Workshop
Principal, The Land Studio, Basalt
Asst. City Manager, Aspen
Big Stone Publishing
Colin Laird Director