Why Smart Growth: A Primer

In communities across the nation, there is a growing concern that current development patterns— dominated by what some call “sprawl”—are no longer in the long-term interest of our cities, existing suburbs, small towns, rural communities, or wilderness areas. Though supportive of growth, communities are questioning the economic costs of abandoning infrastructure in the city, only to rebuild it further out. They are questioning the social costs of the mismatch between new employment locations in the suburbs and the available work-force in the city. They are questioning the wisdom of abandoning “brownfields” in older communities, eating up the open space and prime agricultural lands at the suburban fringe, and polluting the air of an entire region by driving farther to get places. Spurring the smart growth movement are demographic shifts, a strong environmental ethic, increased fiscal concerns, and more nuanced views of growth. The result is both a new demand and a new opportunity for smart growth.

Downloadable Documents: 
Geoff Anderson
Washington, DC: Smart Growth Network and International City/County Management Association
Page Numbers: 
Publication Date: 
July 1, 1998
Literature Category: 
Reports and Studies