Smart growth is a term for a set of tools and techniques that communities can us to control the wasteful, out-of-control development now known as sprawl. Smart growth is a broad movement adopted by environmentalists and public officials across the country who do not want to prevent development, but see that growth is planned and protects the things we value such as historic buildings and landscapes, open space, environmental quality and local character. Smart growth encourages recycling existing buildings and land, conserving historic downtowns and residential neighborhoods, preserving farmland, maintaining local community character, promoting a sense of community and protecting the environment for future generations. Sprawl on the other hand drains the life out of older downtowns and residential communities, leaving historic communities vulnerable to under use , neglect and demolition. Sprawl destroys the unique identity and character of towns and the countryside, replacing them with cookie-cutter residential developments and standardized big box stores. Sprawl also eliminates all transportation choices except driving, adding pressures to create or widen roads that often destroy historic resources or detrimentally alter their surroundings. Sprawl also destroys the characteristics that are essential to create and maintain a sense of place and community. It devours open space and wastes public and private investments already made in existing communities. Historic Preservationists are passionate about Smart Growth because they realize that the larger land-use issues regarding transportation, zoning and subdivisions can directly impact efforts to preserve historic buildings, an archaeological site or an historic downtown. The Smart Growth Network lists the following as the premises of smart growth:
Referenced below is material prepared by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and other organizations such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation relevant to the Smart Growth Movement. Additionally you will find a list of related web-sites dedicated to smart growth.
- Mixed land uses
- Take advantage of compact building design
- Create housing opportunities and choices for a range of household types, family sizes and incomes.
- Create walkable neighborhoods
- Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place.
- Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, historic buildings, and critical environmental areas.
- Reinvest in and strengthen existing communities and achieve more balanced regional development
- Provide a variety of transportation choices.
- Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective.
- Encourage citizen and stakeholder participation in development decisions.