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Smart Growth

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  1. Smart Growth

  2. Overview • What is it? • Why do we need it? • Sprawl & other Indicators of Activity • Issues • Principles • Examples

  3. What is it? • Growth that recognizes that connections between development and quality of life. • It leverages new growth to improve the community. • Time, attention and resources are invested into restoring the community and vitality of city centers. • New growth is more town-centered, more pedestrian and transit-oriented, and have a greater amount of mixed-use development.

  4. Why do we need it? • Unnecessary land consumption. • Auto dependence. • Fragmented open space, wide gaps between development. • Lack of public spaces and community centers. • Fragmented and dispersed communities.

  5. Why do we need it? Sprawl. “Sprawl is dispersed development outside of compact urban and village centers along highways and in rural countryside.” -

  6. Top cities ranked by Sprawl Growth 1970-1990 How bad is sprawl? Source:

  7. Recent Legislation • More than 2,000 “smart growth” planning bills were introduced between ’99-’01. • 17 governors issues 19 executives order on planning, smart growth and related topics over the past two years (compared with 12 orders during the previous eight years). • In ’00 election, 553 state or local ballot initiatives in 38 states focused on planning or smart growth issues. 70% passed.

  8. Trends • Efforts have focused both on enactment and implementation. • Adopted reform is usually backed by a key leader. • Smart growth reform linked with traffic congestion, housing affordability, and environmental issues. • Wide-array groups have a vested interest in reform.

  9. Smart Growth Issues

  10. #1: Quality of Life • Issue: Fragmented and dispersed communities are contributing to a decline in social interaction. • Solution: Encourage pedestrian-friendly modes of transportation, such as public transit, connecting sidewalks and greenways. Exemplify a unique cultural heritage to rekindle community spirit. Provide various types and scales of housing, business and industry to create diverse residential and commercial opportunities nearby.

  11. #2: Design • Issue: Buildings are large, unfriendly and inefficient. • Solution: Green building design combine energy and water efficiency, healthy indoor air quality and the use of natural building materials. High density, low impact, mixed-use development create environmental, economic, social and health benefits.

  12. #3: Environment • Issue: Sprawl has contributed to air and water pollution, global warming, habitat fragmentation and conversion. • Solution: Cluster development can reduce runoff, compact development can improve travel alternatives.

  13. Issue: Communities need to attract companies as a tool for economic development. Solution: Offer workers a reasonable commute, a vibrant social life, environmental amenities, and housing and transportation choice. #4: Economics

  14. #5: Health • Issue: Conventional community design leads to an increase air pollution and respiratory illness. • Solution: Compact walkable neighborhoods with mixed-uses, walking and bicycling become viable transportation.

  15. #6: Housing • Issue: No single type of housing can serve the varied needs of today’s diverse households. • Solution: Increase housing supply in existing infrastructure. Integrate single- and multi-family structures into new developments to allow a more equitable distribution of households across all levels of income.

  16. #7: Transportation • Issue: Congestion has increased over the last several years in every major metropolitan area. • Solution: Implement better approaches to transportation planning, such as transportation demand programs, intelligent transportation systems, high quality transit service, and pedestrian, bike and transit connectivity.

  17. Smart Growth Principles

  18. Mixed Land Uses • Provide incentives through state funds to encourage residents to live near where they work. • Adopt new smart growth codes to parallel existing conditional development codes. • Use innovative zoning tools to encourage mixed-use communities. • Zone areas by building type, not use.

  19. Compact Building Designs • Ensure ready access to open space in compactly-developed places. • Encourage developers to reduce off-street parking. • Match building scale to street type in zoning and permit approval process. • Employ a design review board to ensure that compact buildings reflect desirable standards. UC-Irvine Campus

  20. Range of Housing Opportunities • Enact inclusionary zoning ordinance for new housing developments. • Revise zoning and building codes to permit a wider variety of housing types. • Implement regional fair-share housing allocation plan. • Implement a program to identify and dispose of vacant and abandoned buildings.

  21. Walkable Communities • Concentrate critical services near homes, jobs and transit. • Adopt design standards for streets that ensure safety and mobility for pedestrians. • Connect walkways, parking lots and other public and private services.

  22. Strong Sense of Place • Create active and secure open spaces. • Encourage the adaptive reuse of historic or architecturally significant buildings. • Enact clear design guidelines so that streets, buildings and public space work together. • Plant trees throughout communities.

  23. Open Space Preservation • Coordinate local, state and federal planning on land conservation and development. • Create a network of trails and greenways. • Partner with NGOs to acquire and protect lands. • Employ regional development strategies that better protect and preserve open space edge areas.

  24. Redevelopment • Strengthen state or local brownfields program. • Create economic incentives for businesses and homeowners to locate in areas with existing infrastructure. • Locate civic buildings in existing communities rather than greenfield areas. Astros Field, former brownfield site

  25. Transportation Choices • Finance and provide incentives for multimodal transportation system that include supportive land use and development. • Connect transportation modes to one another. • Require sidewalks for all new development. • Zone for concentrated activity centers around transit service. • Collaborate with employers to provide incentives to minimize rush-hour congestion impacts.

  26. Community Involvement • Cultivate relationships with schools, universities and colleges. • Bring developers and the development community into the visioning process together. • Work with media to disseminate information.

  27. Examples of Smart Growth in American Communities

  28. Maryland’s Smart Growth Act 1997 Three Goals: • Save the most valuable remaining natural resources. • Support existing communities and neighborhoods. • Save taxpayers $$$ in the unnecessary cost of building infrastructure to support sprawl. Funding: • Priority Funding Area Legislation – limits most State infrastructure funding and housing and economic development to locally designated Smart Growth Areas. • Live Near Your Work Pilot Program – provides $$$ to workers buying homes in older neighborhoods. • Rural Legacy Program – provides $$$ for the protection of farm and forest lands. • The Job Creation Tax Credit Program – encourages mid-sized and smaller businesses to invest in Smart Growth areas around the State.

  29. In Maryland in 2002 alone… • The $35M GreenPrint program allows for the purchase of easements on agricultural lands, and creates an integrated network that links existing preserved areas to maximize environmental value. • $10M will be used for neighborhood revitalization efforts that fill in the gaps between existing programs, and helps communities focus on comprehensive planning strategies and approaches to revitalization.

  30. Washington State’s Growth Management Act • Implemented in 1990, it is one of the most comprehensive and modern planning statutes in the country. • Requires additional park, school and law enforcement needs to be addressed in comprehensive plans and development regulations. • Requires state and local governments to identify and protect critical areas and natural resource lands. • Local governments have many choices regarding the content and implementation strategy of comprehensive plan.

  31. Boulder Valley’s Comprehensive Plan • Implemented in 1996 • Open land buffer separates Boulder from surrounding communities. • Use urban growth boundaries to maintain compactness. • Stresses the importance of a central area as the regional service center of the Boulder Valley. • Defines the desired land use pattern regarding location, type and intensity of development.