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Achieving Smart Growth - Smart Growth America

Setting goals is easy. Attaining them is always the challenge. But after years of experience with an assortment of projects, we are beginning to see what approaches work best. Though techniques will vary across regions and community types, the ten tools listed here can form the basis for a sensible and effective smart growth plan. This list has been adopted by a variety of political and business leaders, including the National Governors’ Association.

To achieve smart growth, communities should:

1. Mix Land Uses. New, clustered development works best if it includes a mix of stores, jobs and homes. Single-use districts make life less convenient and require more driving.

2. Take Advantage of Existing Community Assets. From local parks to neighborhood schools to transit systems, public investments should focus on getting the most out of what we’ve already built.

3. Create a Range of Housing Opportunities and Choices. Not everyone wants the same thing. Communities should offer a range of options: houses, condominiums, affordable homes for low income families, and “granny flats” for empty nesters.

4. Foster “Walkable,” Close-Knit Neighborhoods. These places offer not just the opportunity to walk—sidewalks are a necessity—but something to walk to, whether it’s the corner store, the transit stop or a school. A compact, walkable neighborhood contributes to peoples’ sense of community because neighbors get to know each other, not just each other’s cars.

5. Promote Distinctive, Attractive Communities with a Strong Sense of Place, Including the Rehabilitation and Use of Historic Buildings. In every community, there are things that make each place special, from train stations to local businesses. These should be protected and celebrated.

6. Preserve Open Space, Farmland, Natural Beauty, and Critical Environmental Areas. People want to stay connected to nature and are willing to take action to protect farms, waterways, ecosystems and wildlife.

7. Strengthen and Encourage Growth in Existing Communities. Before we plow up more forests and farms, we should look for opportunities to grow in already built-up areas.

8. Provide a Variety of Transportation Choices. People can’t get out of their cars unless we provide them with another way to get where they’re going.More communities need safe and reliable public transportation, sidewalks and bike paths.

9.Make Development Decisions Predictable, Fair, and Cost-Effective. Builders wishing to implement smart growth should face no more obstacles than those contributing to sprawl. In fact, communities may choose to provide incentives for smarter development.

10. Encourage Citizen and Stakeholder Participation in Development Decisions. Plans developed without strong citizen involvement don’t have staying power.When people feel left out of important decisions, they won’t be there to help out when tough choices have to be made.

Defining Smart Growth - link

Smart Growth America online - link


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