What is a Smart Growth Community?
Smart Growth communities integrate land use planning and transportation to improve transportation options. The communities promote pedestrian-friendly developments and preserve natural lands. Rural residents are diverse in their abilities and age. All modes of transportation must be reliable, efficient, user-friendly, accessible, and easy to use. Ultimately, the goal is to create a high-quality living environment for all residents. Smart Growth communities integrate sustainable development best practices into every aspect of planning, development, and maintenance.
Housing options that are diverse
The Smart Growth policy focuses on urban redevelopment and infill, improved mixed-use design features, and multimodal transportation systems. Smart Growth also encourages the incremental development of suburban communities with master plans reflecting its principles. Smart Growth promotes more employment and local services in suburban developments. Greenspace preservation is another goal of smart growth. By integrating all of these strategies, smart growth communities create a range of housing options and promote affordability.
Investing in non-automotive modes of transportation
Smart growth communities must invest in non-automotive transportation. Communities that practice smart growth encourage alternative modes and land use. Smart Growth communities, for example, prioritize transportation alternatives that aren’t dependent on the automobile. This includes bike lanes, walking trails and public transit. Smart Growth communities are also walking and biking friendly, allowing residents the freedom to do most of their daily activities on foot or by bicycle.
Conserving natural lands, and other important environmental areas
Smart growth planning includes preserving important environmental areas and lands for future generations. American Planning Association supports policies that integrate affordable housing into existing neighborhoods and TODs. These policies can also preserve farmland, open space, and other important open spaces resources. In addition to smart growth principles, American Planning Association policy advocates for fiscal policies that prioritize the use of existing infrastructure, which can help communities achieve a balance between new development and preservation of rural landscapes and lands.
Invest in energy efficiency
Investing to improve energy efficiency in low-income communities can be a win-win for both sides. Increasing energy efficiency can lower energy bills and improve air quality, while providing job creation and local economic development. It can also put money back into the pockets of the poor. In other words, a smart growth community can do more for its triple bottom line. The benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy are well documented, and the government is doing its part to support them.
Investing In Affordable Housing
Investing in affordable housing in a Smart Growth community is an excellent way to support the creation of healthier neighborhoods. Infill development and the development of sustainable transportation options can increase private property value. Smart Growth Guidelines for Sustainable Design and Development in the Capital Region provide a checklist for programs and developments. These guidelines can be used by local governments to attract private investment.