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Introduction to Smart Growth

Smart Growth is an umbrella term for a set of tools that communities can use to ensure that the growth they get is the growth they want. Smart Growth is also a broad movement embraced by environmentalists and public officials across the country who seek, not to prevent progress, but to ensure that growth is planned, in order to produce a high quality of life.

Smart Growth policy directs government investments into existing communities, recognizes that transportation and land use policies go hand in hand, and makes the link between the quality of urban life and the rural environment. It seeks to protect farmland, open space, historic and pre-historic resources, and areas of scenic beauty.

Sprawl is wasteful development that is despoiling the American countryside while draining the life from our older communities. Sprawl is the opposite of Smart Growth, which recycles existing buildings and land, conserves historic downtowns and residential neighborhoods, preserves farmland, maintains local community character, promotes a sense of community, and protects the environment for future generations. By contrast, sprawl devours open space and wastes public and private investments already made in existing communities.

Historic preservationists care about Smart Growth because they understand that larger land-use decisions made about transportation, zoning, and sub-divisions can directly impact local efforts to preserve a historic building, an archaeological site or a historic downtown. 

More general information about Smart Growth can be found below:


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