With rapid growth, there's no better time for tomorrow than today in Iowa

The population of Central Iowa is growing fast, and it needs new strategies for development if it wants to turn that growth into prosperity.

That was the theme of a presentation earlier this month by Bill Fulton, Smart Growth America’s Vice President of Policies and Programs. Fulton spoke to a group of elected officials, members of the board of Des Moines’ Metropolitan Planning Organization and other interested residents about how the region can use smart growth strategies to provide better housing and transportation options for its residents in years to come – and protect public budgets in the process.

“I strongly believe that long term prosperity of any American metropolis requires a different approach to how growth and development occur in the region,” Fulton explained. “We are not going to have have as much taxpayer money to build infrastructure and to provide public services as we have in the past and I think that has enormous implications for how we grow and how we manage that growth and I think a plan, a regional plan…can help, especially if it focuses not only on environmental sustainability but economic sustainability as well.”

Forbes recently named Des Moines the #1 best city for young professionals, a title which Fulton cites as an enormous opportunity for the region. Young professionals drive many sectors of the American economy, and in many places they’re driving the housing market too. This demographic’s strong desire for walkable neighborhoods – combined with similar demand from retirees and Latinos in the Des Moines region – mean Central Iowa has some changes to make to its development strategies if it wants to keep that title.

Fulton’s presentation was hosted by The Tomorrow Plan, a regional planning effort focused on the sustainable development of Greater Des Moines. Launched last year with the help of a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, The Tomorrow Plan aims to involve residents and local leaders in addressing the region’s changing demographic, environmental and economic needs.

Interested in bringing a member of Smart Growth America’s staff to your town or city? Contact us..