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Basic Principles of Smart Growth

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Below are the ten guiding principles that make up Smart Growth. These principles illustrate the characteristics associated with healthy, vibrant, and diverse communities that offer their residents choices of how and where to live.

Smart Growth Principles

  • Mix land uses – the mixing of land uses (commercial, residential, recreational, educational, public, open space, and others) that can encourage foot and bike modes of transportation.
  • Take advantage of compact building design – use less land for development (this includes building size as well as parking); land consumption for buildings can not be used for open space.
  • Create housing opportunities and choices – providing quality housing for people of all income levels and age groups.
  • Create walkable communities – the need for pedestrian-friendly features ranges from types of development to shade for sidewalks.
  • Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place – opposite to strip development that does not instill community pride.
  • Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas - preserves critical environmental areas, provide recreational opportunities, and guide new development into existing communities.
  • Provide a variety of transportation options – will help to improve congestion in transportation system.
  • Strengthen and direct development to existing communities – development directed to communities already served by infrastructure; use resources of existing neighborhoods offer and maintain value of public and private investment.
  • Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective – concept must be accepted and endorsed by private sector to be able to meet the future demand for development. Predictability assures developers their projects can be approved.
  • Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions – concept must be consistent with community’s own sense of how and where the growth should happen.
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