In communities across the nation, there is a growing concern that current development patterns dominated by what some call “sprawl” are no longer in the long-term interest of our cities, existing suburbs, small towns, rural communities, or wilderness areas. Though supportive of growth, communities are questioning the economic costs of abandoning infrastructure in the city, only to rebuild it further out. Spurring the smart growth movement are demographic shifts, a strong environmental ethic, increased fiscal concerns, and more nuanced views of growth. The result is both a new demand and a new opportunity for smart growth.
Smart growth recognizes connections between development and quality of life. It leverages new growth to improve the community. The features that distinguish smart growth in a community vary from place to place. In general, smart growth invests time, attention, and resources in restoring community and vitality to city centers and to older suburbs. New smart growth is more town-centered, is transit and pedestrian oriented, and has a greater mix of housing, commercial and retail uses. It also preserves open space and many other environmental amenities. But there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. Successful and sustainable communities do tend to have one thing in common–a vision of where they want to go and of what things they value in their community–and their plans for development reflect these values.
Below we have included some of these visions from other communities, organizations and case studies.
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