Birmingham, AL looks for ways to grow smarter

In 2000, the average resident of Birmingham, AL drove 34.8 miles each day, and only 2% of residents took transit or walked to work. Now, Birmingham is looking to change these trends and asked Smart Growth America for ideas about how to do it.

The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham invited Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson and LOCUS President Chris Leinberger to come to Birmingham last week to speak about smarter growth. In a joint presentation, Anderson and Leinberger discussed new trends in neighborhood design and what they could mean for Alabama.

Anderson framed the issue for listeners at the event, explaining that regional and neighborhood planning can help towns get more out of their investments than just new pavement:

The big trend over the last 15 years, is people are asking ‘Are we getting as much as we can out of our development? Can we do better?’ And they’re asking it from a walkability standpoint, and they’re asking it from a health standpoint, but they’re also asking it from an economic, a fiscal standpoint.

The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham provides planning services, economic development services and multiple initiatives for six counties and 84 communities throughout central Alabama. Those services include intergovernmental cooperation; transportation and transit planning; community planning; community and economic development; and information management. Learn more about their work at