The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines smart growth as “development that serves the economy, community and environment”, and lists 10 accepted principals that define smart growth:
- Mix land uses
- Take advantage of compact building design
- Create a range of housing opportunities and choices
- Create walkable neighborhoods
- Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
- Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas
- Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities
- Provide a variety of transportation choices
- Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective
- Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions
In theory smart growth principals guide development toward effective land use policies, multi-modal transportation options, re-use of materials and existing buildings, and provide for a variety of housing and business options.
Reversing the effects of suburban sprawl and the creation of density lead to a strong, sustainable economy for local governments, investors and real estate developers and the community as a whole. Smart growth decisions can be made by elected officials and those in the private sector but even more importantly, they can be made by you in choosing to support programs and properties that value sustainability and community.