4  USD
 United States
 Environmental Protection
Office of the
April 2001
What   Is
Smart   Growth?
    Smart growth is development
    that serves the economy, the
    community, and the environment.
It changes the terms of the
development debate away from the
traditional growth/no-growth question
to "how and where should new
development be accommodated?"
Smart growth is development that
simultaneously achieves:

• Economic development and jobs—
  that create employment and
  business opportunities, improves
  local tax base, provides
  neighborhood services and
  amenities, and creates
  economically competitive

• Strong neighborhoods—that
  provide a range of housing options
  giving people the opportunity to
  choose housing that best suits
  them. Smart growth provides the
  choice to walk, ride a bike, take
  transit, or drive. It maintains and
  enhances the value of existing
  neighborhoods and creates a
  sense of community.

• Healthy communities—that provide
  families with a clean environment.
  Smart growth balances
  development and environmental
  "The goal of smart growth is not no
 growth or even slow growth. Rather,
 the overall goal is sensible growth
 that balances our need for jobs and
 economic development with our
 desire to save our natural
        Parris Glendening, Governor,
                State of Maryland
  "With smart growth we will save
  acres, save money on roads and
  sewers, keep homes more affordable,
  and make our cities and town centers
  thrive. That's good growth."
            Christine Todd Whitman,
          as Governor of New Jersey
    growth while preserving open
    space and critical habitat, reusing
    land, and protecting water supplies
    and air quality.

  Prevailing development patterns of the
  last 50 years have brought benefits and
  concerns for communities across the
  country. Though supportive of growth,
  communities are questioning the
  economic costs of abandoning
  infrastructure in the city and rebuilding  it
  further out. They are questioning the
        necessity of spending increasing time
        in cars, locked in traffic or traveling
        miles to the nearest store. They are
        questioning the practice of
        abandoning brownfields in older
        communities while developing open
        space and prime agricultural lands at
        the suburban fringe, which damage
        our environment.

        Smart growth recognizes the many
        benefits of growth. It invests time,
        attention, and resources in restoring
        community and vitality to center cities
        and older suburbs. Smart growth in
        new developments 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
        other environmental amenities. Smart
        growth recognizes connections
  Smart Growth Principles

  • 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
                  Smart   Growth   Fact  Sheet

                    Smart   Growth    Fact  Sheet
between development and quality of
life. Smart growth is:

•  Not anti-growth; it's about better
   growth—growth that makes sense.
   Smart growth leverages new
   growth to improve the community
   and finds ways to meet economic,
   environmental, and quality-of-life

•  Not anti-automobile; it's about
   having transportation options—to
   drive, walk, bike, or take public

•  Not anti-suburb; it's about building
   better places to live in existing
   suburbs, cities, and new
   communities. It's about protecting
   existing investments and quality of
   life in areas where people,
   communities, and governments
   have already made a commitment.
   "Smart growth is pro-growth. We
   know that developers, banks, and
   the entire community rely on
   growth to fuel the economy. The
   goal is not to limit growth, but to
   channel it to areas where
   infrastructure allows growth to be
   sustained over the long term."
                   Hugh L.  McColl,
        Chairman and CEO,  Bank of
•  Not about big government; it's
   about improving market efficiency,
   making it legal to construct the
   small towns and neighborhoods we
   used to build, making brownfield
   redevelopment easier, and getting
   more value from the tax dollars we
   spend on roads, sewers, and other
   taxpayer investments.

The features that distinguish smart
growth vary by community. No two
streets, neighborhoods, or cities are
  In 1989, the San Francisco Chronicle rated Suisun City, California, a town of
  25,000 people midway between San Francisco and Sacramento, the worst
  place to live in the Bay Area. At that time, Suisun City's historic Main Street
  was a strip of boarded-up storefronts, vacant lots, and auto body shops.
  Several blocks away, an oil refinery sat at the head of the heavily polluted, silt-
  laden Suisun  Channel. Today Suisun's harbor is filled with boats and lined with
  small businesses. A train and bus station that connects the city to the rest of
  Northern California sits a few blocks away. The town is diverse, walkable, and
  picturesque.  Its crime  rate is low and its housing affordable.

  How did Suisun City transform itself in a decade?  Was it the beneficiary of a
  huge government redevelopment grant or a gift from a rich foundation? No
  such luck.  Instead, Suisun City's residents, businesses, and elected officials
  agreed on a common vision for their town's future. Clean-up polluted Suisun
  Channel and make the waterfront a focal point of theirtown, they said.  Re-
  establish historic Main  Street as a social and retail gathering  place.  Strengthen
  municipal finances by encouraging tax-generating  commercial development
  such as retail shops and restaurants along Main Street and the waterfront.

  In its rebirth, Suisun City avoided large-scale redevelopment projects such as
  shopping centers and industrial parks that would have obliterated its historic,
  small-town character.  Suisun City is still a work-in-progress. But this once-
  troubled town has turned the corner. Suisun City is invigorated with  new
  businesses and residents, rekindled community spirit, and unbridled optimism
  about its future.
identical. There is no "one-size-fits-all"
solution. Smart growth in Portland,
Oregon, has different characteristics
than smart growth in Austin, Texas—
and it should. For that reason, smart
growth does not prescribe solutions.
Rather, it provides choices and seeks
to build on proven successes. The
Smart Growth principles (see box on
opposite page) reflect the experience
of localities that have successfully
created smart growth communities.
These  communities had a vision of
where they want to go and of what
things they value in their community.
Spurring the smart growth movement
are demographic shifts, a strong
environmental ethic, increased fiscal
concerns, and more nuanced views of
growth. People know there is a better
way to grow. The result is  both a new
demand and a new opportunity for
growth that emphasizes preservation
of open space and farmland, greater
choice in housing and transportation,
efficient investment of limited
infrastructure dollars, and the
strengthening of existing
neighborhoods. Smart growth can
make these alternatives a  reality.
        To learn more about Smart Growth and the
            Smart Growth Network, please go to
    EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment. How and where communities grow and develop impacts
       public health and the environment. Therefore, EPA works with states and communities to find ways to grow while
    minimizing environmental and health impacts. Studies have demonstrated that smart growth development approaches
      have clear environmental benefits, including improved air and water quality, increased wetlands preservation, more
                     brownfield sites cleaned and reused, and increased preservation of open spaces.
                    5 Printed on 100% recycled/recyclable paper with a minimum 50% post-consumer fiber using vegetable-based ink.