Smart growth 101

Smart growth is a better way to build and maintain our towns and cities. Smart growth means building urban, suburban and rural communities with housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools. This approach supports local economies, protects the environment, and preserves farmland, forests, and open spaces.

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Mixed land use

Mixed land use attracts pedestrians and helps revitalize community life by making streets, public spaces, and pedestrian-oriented retail become places where people meet.

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Compact Design

Compact building design suggests that communities be laid out in a way that preserves more open space, and that individual buildings optimize use of land and resources. 


Housing choice

A wider range of housing opportunities and choices can generate a strong foundation of support for neighborhood transit stops, commercial centers, and other services.

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Walkable neighborhoods

Walkable communities provide goods and services within an easy and safe walk, creating a streetscape for a range of users – pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and drivers.

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 Development Revitalization

Development in existing communities strengthens tax revenues, increases access to jobs and services, optimizes use of land and infrastructure, preserves open land, and boosts rural communities.


Appealing communities

Smart growth encourages communities to craft a vision and set standards for development that respect community values of architectural beauty and distinctiveness.

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Transportation choice

To mitigate the effects of traffic congestion, communities are using a multi-modal approach to transportation along with supportive development patterns, to create a variety of transportation options. 

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public participation

Involving the community early and often in the planning process vastly improves public support for smart growth and often leads to innovative strategies that fir the unique needs of a particular community.

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Land preservation bolsters local economies, preserves critical environmental areas, improves community quality of life, and guides new growth into existing communities.


Government Leadership

State and local governments can provide smart growth leadership for the private sector by supporting development of innovative, walkable, and mixed-use projects.