Placemaking, local businesses and the 'knowledge economy' at GrowSmart Maine's annual summit


On November 20, smart growth advocates and policymakers in Maine convened for our coalition partner GrowSmart Maine‘s annual summit. The conference drew members from across the state for an afternoon focused on the policies, trends, events, and projects that have strengthened Maine’s economy, environment and communities. 

Roger Millar, Vice President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, spoke on the conference’s keynote panel. He spoke about how communities can use smart development strategies to attract and retain workers in the ‘knowledge economy,’ support local businesses and provide for aging residents. Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal recapped his comments:

“If those knowledge workers, those cool people and change-agent folks can live anywhere on the planet, why would they choose to live here? What strengths do you have, how do you build on those and what gaps do you need to fill? That’s what you need to think about to bring those people to the state of Maine.”

Millar added that smart growth strategies aren’t limited to attracting younger residents. Aging baby boomers and senior citizens stand to benefit from these strategies as well.

“The average American male is going to outlive his ability to drive by seven years, and the average woman by 11,” Millar said. “That doesn’t mean we won’t still be out there bumping into each other. “So how do we maintain our independence and our dignity in the communities we live in when we have to hang up the car keys for the last time? And how are local governments going to move people around who feel they’ve earned a right to be moved around?”

Read more: “Young and old want urban living, according to Smart Growth group” [Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal (ME)—November 20, 2013]