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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

What is 'smart growth,' anyway?

Kaid Benfield

Posted August 12, 2010

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  Joralemon St, Brooklyn Heights (by: Steve Minor, creative commons license)

Lots of us have tried to answer that question in various ways, perhaps most frequently via the Smart Growth Network's well-known ten principlesEmpire State Future has recently posted some answers of their own that I really like:

"It's the effort to build a healthy economy that offers real choices in transportation, housing, and education while respecting farmlands, open space, and our many natural and historic resources. By building more homes and businesses in already-existing communities, we can save valuable open space and conserve money spent on our roads and costly utility infrastructure. All of which makes Smart Growth important for our future, and for our children's future . . . 

"Why shouldn't it be simpler for us to work toward a more attractive and economical civic future? A future where

  • new development is constructed in places that maximize existing public investment in schools, roads, water and sewer service, transit facilities and information infrastructure.
  • workers have good jobs that are within walking distance or an easy commute by bike, bus, rail or automobile
  • farm land is protected from encroachment so it can continue to be used to raise livestock and crops, providing a continuing and strong agricultural sector, and rivers, lakes, streams and ponds are pollution-free and provide recreational opportunities for residents and tourists alike
  • people can choose to live in older, thriving communities that are beautiful and unique, and that validate the reality that this is still the Empire State!"

Read the full post and find links to lots more about the work of Empire State Future here.

Move your cursor over the images for credit information.

Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment.  For more posts, see his blog's home page. 


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E M RisseAug 12 2010 11:58 AM


I frequently find interesting items on your Blog and this is one.

As you know we are big fans of ‘principles’ and the Empire State ones (and the Smart Growth ones) are great, BUT

They all contain words that need definitions as a longer note to you that is in the works will point out.

Keep up the good work.


LindaAug 15 2010 04:33 PM


I live in Martinez, CA and am on a task force to help update our city's General Plan. I found NRDC's information in book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR and just now happened upon your blog. Any links I might want to be aware of that could help me along in this process?


Linda Meza

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