Smart Growth is a development and planning trend that evolved from the anti-sprawl movement.
Beginning in the 1970s, concerns over demographic shifts, loss of farmland and open spaces, environmental impact of over-development, and urban decay spurred interest in smart growth and livable community policies. This movement culminated in the creation of Smart Growth America which is a nationwide coalition, formed by the American Planning Association in the mid-1990s, that advocates for smart growth policies and issues including: farmland and open space protection, neighborhood revitalization, and affordable housing. A key element of smart growth is an emphasis on regional cooperation around these issues. Many states have enacted “smart growth” laws that require routine comprehensive planning at the local and regional level.
The following are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ten guidelines or themes for smart growth:
- Mix land uses
- Take advantage of compact building design
- Create housing opportunities and choices for a range of household types, family size and incomes
- Create walk-able neighborhoods
- Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
- Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas
- Reinvest in and strengthen existing communities & achieve more balanced regional development
- Provide a variety of transportation choices
- Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost-effective
- Encourage citizen and stakeholder participation in development decisions
Here are some links to help you learn more about Smart Growth: