What is Smart Growth?
Smart Growth is a principal that examines how our communities are designed in relationship to place. With features like forest/farmland preservation, walkable neighborhoods, urban villages, transit oriented development; these livable communities are those that are healthy, economically vibrant, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable. When building, Smart Growth looks at choosing environmentally sound locations that reduce the need for automobile use. By using less land to create more benefits, energy, water and other natural resources are conserved.
LEED for Neighborhood Development
The LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design. More on LEED-ND at the USGBC website.
How is LEED-ND being used locally? The Bellingham waterfront district site is pilot LEED-ND site that optimizes best land use practices. Read about the latest architect's report here. This tool is also helping inspire and innovate urban village rezones in Old Town and Samish Way.
Smart Growth Principles
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) helps communities grow in ways that expand economic opportunity, protect public health and the environment, and create and enhance the places that people love. Based on the experience of communities around the nation that have used smart growth approaches to create and maintain great neighborhoods, the EPA's Smart Growth Network developed a set of ten basic principles:
1) Create Range of Housing Opportunities and Choices
2) Create Walkable Neighborhoods
3) Encourage Community and Stakeholder Collaboration
4) Foster Distinctive, Attractive Communities with a Strong Sense of Place
5) Make Development Decisions Predictable, Fair and Cost Effective
6) Mix Land Uses
7) Preserve Open Space, Farmland, Natural Beauty and Critical Environmental Areas
8) Provide a Variety of Transportation Choices
9) Strengthen and Direct Development Towards Existing Communities
10) Take Advantage of Compact Building Design
More information on the Smart Growth Network available here.
Smart Growth America is a coalition of national, state and local organizations working to improve the ways we plan and build the towns, cities and metro areas we call home. More information available here.
The American Planning Association identifies great neighborhoods as those with characteristics that include the following:
· Variety of functional attributes that contribute to a resident's day-to-day living (i.e. residential, commercial, or mixed-uses).
· Accommodates multi-modal transportation (i.e. pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers).
· Has design and architectural features that are visually interesting.
· Encourages human contact and social activities.
· Promotes community involvement and maintains a secure environment.
· Promotes sustainability and responds to climatic demands.
· Has a memorable character.More information on the American Planning Association here.
Smart Growth BC
is a provincial non-government organization devoted to fiscally, socially and environmentally responsible land use and development.