Western Nevada is changing.
Change is normal. Yet Reno is substantially different than it was twenty years ago. Change will accelerate as we adjust to the new world created by COVID-19.
What do we mean by the new normal? Will people around the country feel they have a wider choice where to live if they continue to work more from home? For many, Western Nevada will be an exceptionally compelling choice, with our great outdoor resources and growing city identity. Most importantly, as we continue to grow, we must remember what makes us special.
Over the years Burning Man, Artown, and other events have brought compelling art and culture to our area – from art installations like the Space Whale to wildly popular outdoor concerts, festivals, and live events. Reno’s rapidly expanding population brings new opportunity and diversity to our streets. Midtown’s unique business district and the downtown Riverwalk embody what makes Reno special: the amenities of a big city with the heart of a close-knit town. We’re like the wide and expansive roots of a tree; close enough to each other to share ideas like nutrients necessary to survive.
We absolutely have our struggles, however. Reno is now the third-largest city in Nevada. Our population has expanded by 13% over the past decade. Even after COVID-19, in July the median home price in Reno hit $459,900. The city feels the strain. Surging population, rents and home prices created a crisis. Many people have arrived in Reno, yet few can afford to live here. As we make room for our new residents, we struggle to accommodate our growing underserved neighbors.
Developers like those behind The Village on Sage Street and the Tiny Ten are creating homes, not just buildings. Increasingly many are adding Missing Middle Housing to their projects — duplexes, fourplexes, and bungalow courts, providing options along a spectrum of affordability. These developers treat the land with respect by engaging in smart growth. Spaces like these ensure housing diversity, allowing more households the chance to own homes. Although modest, these are promising starts. How can we ensure more inclusive and protective measures are put in place, not just in Reno, but throughout the eight-county region surrounding us? How can we intelligently grow together?
Rapid change doesn’t just affect our people, but our land as well. As we grow, how do we ensure our practices protect and sustain what Nevada gives to us? From water to land to energy to people, how do we give back just as much as we take? Western Nevada has beautiful natural resources -- Lake Tahoe, the Truckee River, Pyramid Lake and so much more. These resources must be passionately protected as we grow.
Population increase and climate change are drastically affecting our water supply. The City of Reno has taken important steps with the Energy and Water Efficiency Program and the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. The action plan’s nine priorities outline how the city will increase clean energy and green building, ensure clean water, make city operations more sustainable, keep forests healthy and strengthen climate resilience. But this is just one step. It’s crucial we consider our options before we cause damage we can’t reverse. How do we continue protecting Nevada?
Unlike most metropolitan areas, we’re in the early stages of growth. We have the opportunity to shape our shared home into a thriving and sustainable place giving back to those who give. This is regenerative design – an approach centered on co-creating spaces, participation practices, and partnerships benefiting both people and planet. Residents aren’t only inhabitants, they’re active community members engaging as co-developers of the home they share. Regenesis Reno works with partners to create a root system of ideas and action plans. We celebrate everything Western Nevada offers while driving future generations towards sustainable success.
Our small-town feel means voices can be heard more easily than in large cities. This makes us special. A smaller root system allows us to share, create, and voice ideas much faster than other places. Not only can we change, we can do it quickly and effectively. As we embrace change, it’s important to preserve the Reno we love.
What makes our home special to you?
As we grow and spread our branches, what do you love most?
Is Western Nevada growing the way you envisioned?
Do you want to participate more in our co-development?
Together we can cultivate the growth we want to see.