Smart Growth America's state smart growth partners meet to discuss shared goals

Coalition members visited Winthrop, MA, pictured above, to learn about smart growth strategies in the small coastal town. Photo via Facebook.

Smart Growth America works with over 50 organizations from across the country as part of our coalition of allied non-profits. Many of these organizations work exclusively on smart growth issues in their respective states, and last month these partners came together to discuss shared challenges and goals.

Town officials give coalition members a guided tour of Winthrop, MA.

Our coalition partner the Massachusetts Area Planning Commission (MAPC) hosted this year’s meeting, which took place from November 21 to 23, 2013. MAPC staff kicked off the meeting at their offices in Boston with a discussion on ways to increase diversity within the smart growth movement. MAPC staff led the conversation and shared what their organization has done to diversify both their external partners and internal staff. Coalition partners highlighted the need to engage and collaborate with non-traditional partners outside of the smart growth field to make sure future projects are shaped by wide spectrum of residents and stakeholders.

Then, on November 22, coalition partners traveled to Winthrop, MA, an ocean-side community outside Boston. Town officials met with coalition members to give an overview of the town’s history, discuss how the town is working to protect itself from future natural disaster, and their strategies for attracting residents and businesses before leading a tour of the town.

providence-riProvidence, RI’s Riverwalk was part of the coalition’s tour.

On November 23, the group traveled to Providence, RI, for a tour of how Providence is restoring and revitalizing historic areas, and new initiatives being undertaken to continue those efforts. Leading the tour were coalition members Scott Wolf of Grow Smart Rhode Island and Dan Baudoin of The Providence Foundation.

After the tour of Providence, administrators from the New England regional offices of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agencies joined the group for a presentation on historic preservation in Rhode Island by Scott Wolf and a presentation about the newly released report on infill housing by Matt Van der Sluis of California’s Greenbelt Alliance.

The next meeting of our state and regional smart growth coalition partners will be in the spring in Washington, DC. If your organization is dedicated to smart growth issues at the state or regional level, consider becoming a coalition member today.