Community

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 centersĀ 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.


Sustainable Communities Network

A huge searchable database or resources vital to creating healthy, vital and sustainable communities. The resources include online and offline references as well as case studies, and funding sources.

Scorecard.org by Environmental Defense

Just enter your zip code and find out what pollutants are being released into your community –and who is responsible. Find out about the pollution problems in your community. Search by geographic area or company name, or learn more about environmental issues. Reports are currently available on: air quality criteria and hazardous air pollutants, land contamination, superfund sites and lead hazards, toxic chemical releases from industrial plants and animal waste produced by factory farms, Clean Water Act status and watershed health.

 

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