In pursuit of that goal, the Environmental Protection Agency provides growth planning assistance to communities across the nation.
"Development decisions affect many of the things that touch people's everyday lives - their homes, their health, the schools their children attend, the taxes they pay, their daily commute, the natural environment around them, economic growth in their community, and opportunities to achieve their dreams and goals. What, where, and how communities build will affect their residents' lives for generations to come.
Communities across the country are using creative strategies to develop in ways that preserve natural lands and critical environmental areas, protect water and air quality, and reuse already-developed land. They conserve resources by reinvesting in existing infrastructure and reclaiming historic buildings. By designing neighborhoods that have shops, offices, schools, churches, parks, and other amenities near homes, communities are giving their residents and visitors the option of walking, bicycling, taking public transportation, or driving as they go about their business.
A range of different types of homes makes it possible for senior citizens to stay in their homes as they age, young people to afford their first home, and families at all stages in between to find a safe, attractive home they can afford. Through smart growth approaches that enhance neighborhoods and involve local residents in development decisions, these communities are creating vibrant places to live, work, and play. The high quality of life in these communities makes them economically competitive, creates business opportunities, and improves the local tax base.
Smart Growth Principles
Based on the experience of communities around the nation that have used smart growth approaches to create and maintain great neighborhoods, the Smart Growth Network developed a set of ten basic 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 decisions
The 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. Through research, tools, partnerships, case studies, grants, and technical assistance, EPA is helping America's communities turn their visions of the future into reality."
Making Smart Growth Happen
EPA offers many tools and resources to help communities learn about and implement smart growth approaches. Please also see the resource list of topics, education and outreach resources, and examples of smart growth communities and projects available on our site.
Smart Growth Implementation Assistance - Technical assistance for localities that want to incorporate smart growth techniques into their future development.
Smart Growth Implementation Assistance for Coastal Communities (EPA and NOAA) - Technical assistance through Sea Grant universities to help communities develop in ways that meet environmental and other goals.
Smart Growth Index - A past EPA technical assistance program that developed a GIS sketch model to simulate alternative land-use and transportation scenarios and evaluate their outcomes using indicators of environmental performance. This program is no longer active, but the materials remain available.
Examples of Codes That Support Smart Growth Development - Sample codes and ordinances that support smart growth.
Sample Requests for Proposals (RFPs) - Examples of RFPs issued by communities to find consultants experienced in smart growth to work on plan updates.
Model Course Prospectuses: Teaching smart growth at colleges and universities - A compilation of course prospectuses that offer students hands-on experience in smart growth issues.
Smart Growth Scorecards: Useful examples from across the country - Sample scorecards that can help communities assess their development patterns and related aspects like walkability.
Smart Growth Network - Partnership of more than 30 national organizations that promote smart growth and offer resources to help communities.
Governors' Institute on Community Design - Helps governors to share information and learn about tools and strategies to help their states develop in an environmentally sound, economically sustainable way.
Regional Smart Growth Alliances - Urban Land Institute project, partially funded by EPA, to create regional alliances to promote smart growth development.
Memorandum of Agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - EPA and NOAA partnership to improve the quality of development in coastal communities.
Memorandum of Understanding with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) (PDF) (3 pp, 366 K, About PDF) - EPA and AIA agreement to work together to promote sustainable development and green building.
Grants and Other Funding
EPA Smart Growth Grants and Other Funding Sources - Funding from EPA and other sources to assist local and state governments, communities, and non-governmental organizations that are seeking to address various aspects of smart growth.
Funding Resources: Federal, state, and local programs that provide funding to communities to help them develop in an environmentally sustainable manner.The 2009 Request for Applications for Smart Growth Implementation Assistance is now open. It will close on April 23, 2009. Click here for more information on the SGIA program. For the application, click here: HTML PDF (6 pp., 116 KB)
EPA Smart Growth Grants and Other Funding
Request For Grant Proposals (RFP) - Announcements
More Information About EPA Smart Growth Grants
Other Funding Resources
Other resources from EPA
Environmental benefits of smart growth
Smart growth issue pages, resources, and examples of smart growth communities
Publications from EPA's smart growth program
National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. Annual award recognizing communities that use the principles of smart growth to create better places.
Smart Growth Illustrated. Shows how smart growth techniques look in communities around the country.
EPA Smart Growth Strategy (2003). Strategy for how the EPA should focus its smart growth efforts to achieve the maximum environmental results.