11 Principals of Smart Growth and its benefit to the environment

We define Smart growth as a way of reducing the excessive use of land. This development serves the environment, the community, and the economy. It doesn’t mean that we stop the growth but it simply answers the question “where and how should new development occur?”. For this question, we wanted to discuss the Principals of Smart Growth and what are its benefits.

Principals of Smart Growth

Some times we can call Smart growth the sustainable development, that promotes:

  1. Development of Economy and employment. This generates business opportunities, boost local tax bases, including public infrastructure, and build a better economy.
  2. Accommodating neighbourhoods, that provide a variety of housing options and offer people the opportunity to choose the housing that best suits them. Smart mobility gives you the opportunity to cycle, ride, drive or use public transport. This maintains and strengthens the importance of developed communities and creates a sense of socialism.
  3. Healthy neighbourhoods, that provide a clean environment for households. It balances development and helps in environmental protection, adapts growth while preserving open space and critical habitat and reuses land. It also protects water supply and air quality.

Renewable energy is one of the main energy resources we’d need to implement while going towards smarter communities. Read more about 5 types of renewable energy.

Principals of Smart Growth

  1. Mix land uses: Smart development encourages the incorporation of mixed land use into cities as a key component by creating a better place to live. Through the incorporation of multiple uses, alternatives to driving, such as walking or cycling, become more realistic. Mixed land use also encourages a more dynamic and growing society that facilitates public transit, economic development, and aims to revitalize community life.
  2. Take benefits of compact building design: The use of land has been increased day by day, smart growth communities can determine how and where they can grow with the compact building designs. In this way, this preserves the open space, reduces water runoff, leaves undeveloped land open to filter rainwater and snowmelt,  leading to less expensive services and maintenance; and allows for more efficient development on less land.
  3. Produce a range of opportunities for housing: Smart growth also promotes opportunities for the people of different income levels to build their houses. In this way, the environmental effects of communities can also be reduced by using existing infrastructure more efficiently.
  4. Creation of walkable areas: In recent times the use of automobiles has been increased. Smart growth encourages the use of walkable areas as they reduce environmental impacts and increase mobility. It is also a safe any easy way for mix land use.
  5. Increase the Unique & attractive communities: Smart growth helps create neighbourhoods that are recognizable, special and reflect the values of the residents. It supports the types of physical structures that foster a more cohesive community, facilitates the maintenance and restoration of infrastructures that are assets of the neighbourhood. Moreover, it promotes an architecture that uses natural resources. 
  6. Conserve farmland, open space, critical environmental areas & natural beauty: Smart growth provides a better place to live, support the goals of future populations. It conserves the critical environmental areas and provides opportunities for the local population and guide patterns of new growth in societies. These open spaces created can increase the value of a property and stimulate the tourism and employment rate. This also reduces taxes for the local community. Preserving the local open areas protects habitats for plants, animals and water resources for all living creatures. Speaking of critical environmental areas, read more about How Deforestation Can be Environmentally Friendly?
  7. Strengthen the development of existing economy and community: Smart growth strengthens the development by using the existing resources of neighbourhoods and preservation of natural resources of the open areas. The economy rises by the direct development of an existing area. It also gets benefits from:
    • a stronger tax base
    • increases in the employment rate
    • improvement in the quality of water and air
  8. Increase in choices for transportation: Smart growth provides people with different choices for transportation as the congestion of traffic is becoming worse all over the world. The problem cannot be solved by building new roads. Studies show that when new roads are built people take advantage by increasing their driving for the use of new infrastructure. With this increase in driving, the development patterns changed to create new traffic and more growth. In return, smart growth can lead to the implementation of new practices such as:
    • better land and transportation use
    • increase in the rate of high-quality transits
    • creating connectivity within roads
    • ensuring a connection between bike, pedestrian and road facilities.
  9. Implement cost-effective, fair and predictable decisions for development: In order to make smart growth successfully implemented, it must be funded by the private sector. When investors, banks developers, builders and others do not make a profit, few projects of smart growth will be introduced. State and local governments need to make development decisions with an effort that encourages smart growth in a more predictable, cost-effective, and timely way for developers to exist.
  10. Encourage collaboration of stakeholders and community in decisions of development: if the community’s vision supported growth and development, we can create great places to recreate, work, and live better. The main component of smart growth is to ensure early and regular engagement of stakeholders in recognizing and resolving specific needs. The engagement of stakeholders provides key information on development options to constructors by providing them with an increased understanding of the value and challenges in the investment and planning of goods. It also improves the involvement of the community in the planning process of smart growth.
  11. Environmental Benefits: Smart development strategies contribute to
    • better air and water quality
    • enhanced restoration of natural areas and open space
    • increased regeneration of brownfield sites.
Better usage of spaces

Smart growth is achieved through practices that reduce the impact of development on the environment, including reduced surfaces that are impervious, improved retention of stormwater, environmental protection of sensitive areas, compact development, accessibility of transit, and support for bicycle and pedestrian activity.

Environmental topics became a very important topic recently. Read more 10 ways to make 2020 your most sustainable year yet

Conclusion on Principals of Smart Growth

Smart Growth is about improving the efficiency of our lifestyle, making it efficient to build small and environmentally friendly towns. This will help to increase the employment rate and making the economy much better, with the preservation of the environment.

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