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Smart Growth Definition - Smart Growth America

We define smart growth according to its outcomes —outcomes that mirror the basic values of most Americans. Smart growth is growth that helps to achieve these six goals:

1. NEIGHBORHOOD LIVABILITY - The central goal of any smart growth plan is the quality of the neighborhoods where we live. They should be safe, convenient, attractive, and affordable. Sprawl development too often forces trade-offs between these goals. Some neighborhoods are safe but not convenient. Others are convenient but not affordable. Too many affordable neighborhoods are not safe. Careful planning can help bring all these elements together.

2. BETTER ACCESS, LESS TRAFFIC - One of the major downfalls of sprawl is traffic. By putting jobs, homes and other destinations far apart and requiring a car for every trip, sprawl makes everyday tasks a chore. Smart growth’s emphasis on mixing land uses, clustering development, and providing multiple transportation choices helps us manage congestion, pollute less and save energy. Those who want to drive can, but people who would rather not drive everywhere or don't own a car have other choices.

3. THRIVING CITIES, SUBURBS AND TOWNS - Smart growth puts the needs of existing communities first. By guiding development to already built-up areas, moneyforinvestments in transportation, schools, libraries and other public services can go to the communities where people live today. This is especially important for neighborhoods that have inadequate public services and low levels of private investment. It is also critical for preserving what makes so many places special—attractive buildings, historic districts and cultural landmarks.

4. SHARED BENEFITS - Sprawl leaves too many people behind. Divisions by income and race have allowed some areas to prosper while others languish.
As basic needs such as jobs, education and health care become less plentiful
in some communities, residents have diminishing opportunities to participate in their regional economy. Smart growth enables all residents to be beneficiaries of prosperity.

5. LOWER COSTS, LOWER TAXES - Sprawl costs money. Opening up green space to new development means that the cost of new schools, roads, sewer lines, and water supplies will be borne by residents throughout metro areas. Sprawl also means families have to own more cars and drive them further. This has made transportation the second highest category of household spending, just behind shelter. Smart growth helps on both fronts. Taking advantage of existing infrastructure keeps taxes down. And where convenient transportation choices enable families to rely less on driving, there’s more money left over for other things, like buying a home or saving for college.

6. KEEPING OPEN SPACE OPEN - By focusing development in already built-up areas, smart growth preserves rapidly vanishing natural treasures. From forests and farms to wetlands and wildlife, smart growth lets us pass on to our children the landscapes we love. Communities are demanding more parks that are conveniently located and bring recreation within reach of more people. Also, protecting natural resources will provide healthier air and cleaner drinking water.

Achieving Smart Growth - link

Smart Growth America online - link


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