Centers of opportunity are places that are – or can be – highly competitive for the next generation of jobs and housing in Southern Maine. They are well positioned to tap into the market’s desires for safe, livable, and walkable neighborhoods, with choices of housing and transportation. They will be the targets of focused investments in infrastructure to meet the needs of 21st century businesses and their workers. Not all growth in the region will be suitable for Centers of Opportunity, but if the centers can position themselves to absorb significant shares of most kinds of growth over the next 25 years, they will help spur economic growth and stability in the region while protecting the surrounding rural landscape.
Centers of Opportunity exist in most communities, small and large. More than 160 different potential centers of opportunity across the towns and cities in Southern Maine were identified and mapped. They range in scale and function from Neighborhood Centers to Community Centers, Downtowns and larger Regional and Employment Centers. Across these ranges there are some common characteristics:
- Mixed use, with residential, commercial, and often civic or open space components;
- Generally no more than a half-mile in diameter;
- Utilities, telecommunications, and transportation infrastructure to support residential and business development; and
- Connections between the centers by different modes of transportation.