Friday, February 1, 2008

Coming Soon: What is a Smart Growth Project?

Building Open Opportunity Structures Together (BOOST) is dedicated to bringing you the most timely, relevant, reliable, and well-structured information about urban revitalization with an emphasis on new and emerging tools and strategies that lead to beneficial outcomes and opportunities in underserved neighborhoods and markets.

Smart growth is typically measured by "how" and "where" growth occurs. BOOST and other forward-thinking persons and organization's also measure "why" growth occurs and will be developing, promoting, and facilitating forums and venues wherein these measures are addressed by experts in these important areas. You are welcomed and encouraged to post your comments on this Blog in order to share your insights, ask your questions, and promote your initiatives.

What is smart growth? Is there a definable and measurable project that can be used as an example or model for real-time examination? Next week, February 4th through 9th, BOOST will be posting elements of a project it views as such a model - one that can be replicated in America's older, former industrial, and economically struggling cities and regions.

What is Smart Growth?

Smart Growth is an urban planning and transportation theory that concentrates growth in the center of a city to avoid urban sprawl; and advocates compact, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use, including neighborhood schools, streets that work for everyone, mixed-use development with a range of housing choices.

Smart Growth values long-range, regional considerations of sustainability over a short-term focus. Its goals are to achieve a unique sense of community and place; expand the range of transportation, employment, and housing choices; equitably distribute the costs and benefits of development; preserve and enhance natural and cultural resources; and promote public health.

Note: today, smart growth advocates and proponements have also began to take a closer look at sustainable design, energy efficiency, and community inclusionary planning and decision-making processes as necessary components of measuring smarth growth.

In addition to increasing the range of housing options; creating or enhancing a vibrant mix of uses; providing multiple choices to getting around, and walkability (spawning activities at the street level and encouraging personal interaction); Smart Growth principles also include building and developing places and spaces that respects community character, design, and historic features and creates various forms of linkages to existing development plans and takes into consideration future trends. Smart growth projects are also measured by how well they implement a creative mix of financing mechanisms to keep the residential and commercial spaces they develop - or adaptively reuse - within the reach of the local market they are located in and – at the same time – create enough value to warrant higher-income earners and job-generating businesses to locate in these areas.

Check back soon for the extension and expansion of this line of thought and for a case-study we can all use as "lessons learned", right in your/our own backyard.

Very best regards,

Tim Razzaq for BOOST and Partners

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