Smart Growth

Smart growth

Author: Garrett Brown

When it comes to creating ideas for improving a city, those ideas that support a unique set of principles are the projects that are considered as smart growth. What a smart growth project entails is that it encourages community collaboration within the development of projects. Furthermore, as the community has a voice in what is developed, these projects support the multiple factors as previously mentioned. In detail, these main factors include using land for mixed purposes, using compact design, provide transportation choices, and give communities a sense of place and involvement within existing communities. As there are more specific principles, the overall idea is that as the community gets involved in development, the community creates spaces that everyone can benefit from and is cost effective. The idea is to take a step back and let the community get involved and develop what they need and would like to see within their communities. As these projects are completed, a sense of place is established and communal ties deepen. This only spurs more projects to be developed and it eventually becomes a cycle where the community has the power to bring about change they want. This idea goes along with the idea of “giving the people what they want”.

The principle of mix land means building different types of development close to each other, either on the same block or even building. The whole idea is based around trying to get and keep a certain location busy throughout the day, which is why different developments are the key as there are different hours and schedules of popular times. By keeping a certain area busy with foot traffic at various times during the day businesses will be supported more, life in this location will improved, and the safety level within these areas will rise. In addition by incorporating mixed land use near neighborhoods, the need for cars and other transportation will be reduced drastically as all needed outlets will be within walking distance. Furthermore, this boosts real estate value and thus tax revenue. This principle goes hand in hand with the idea of compact design.

The idea of compact design takes the idea of mixed land use and looks at a specific piece of land and how to develop it further. The whole idea of compact design is encourage development to “grow up, not out”. By taking underdeveloped pieces of land to create a new project which is home to multiple businesses placed on top of each other, attraction to this piece of land increases dramatically. By placing multiple businesses together in a compact space within an existing neighborhood, the same benefits from mixed land use will be seen as this allows access to various businesses in one location.
On the other hand for those not with a close proximity to the mixed use land or compact designs, providing a variety of transportation choices is essential to effective smart growth. By having high quality public transportation and walkways to be able to reach the previously talked about principles, the community is able to reach these developments and benefit them further. This idea also goes further to include having safe and convenient biking available and well-maintained roads and bridges. As a community, this attracts the creative class at is shows a physically appealing thriving city that is just missing their spark to spur economic and social improvement. All three of these principles then come together to give the community a sense of place and involvement.

The idea of smart growth and the principles it promotes come together to give the community a sense of place and involvement. By giving the community unique and interesting places through the implementation of mixed land use and compact design, the community becomes drastically more attractive. Furthermore by having high quality transportation for all aspects to be able to reach these places with ease is essential to solidifying the idea of smart growth. Incorporating new design ideas and art help distinguish these places from neighboring places and attract the younger population while also supporting the community that already lives there. Overall, these principles come together to be smart growth. The whole idea is revolved around the community to help stimulate both social and economic growth.

An example of this principle at work: