Smart growth isn’t just one thing

Smart growth—building places that are healthy, resilient, and prosperous—requires tackling an almost impossibly long list of complicated issues. But Smart Growth America has the diverse experience required to move the needle.

We are improving lives by improving communities with our wide span of expertise and programs—will you support more of this in 2020?

Make a year-end gift

Designing places for people is at the center of our work to foster thriving communities.

  • Our Complete Streets Coalition generated massive national and local media coverage about the mounting toll of people struck and killed while walking, fueling powerful advocacy on Capitol Hill that resulted in the first ever federal Complete Streets bill.
  • Our Arts & Culture program kickstarted the first ever artist-in-residence programs at two state DOTs to help keep people and communities at the center of things.

We are reforming a 1950s approach to transportation that wastes money and separates us from opportunity.

  • Our Transportation for America program made huge waves with a call to stop spending more money on a program that neglects repair, produces more dead pedestrians, increases pollution and emissions, and leaves people stuck without options for getting to jobs and other essentials. T4America’s three new core principles—prioritize repair, design for safety over speed, and connect people to jobs and services—show a better way forward.
  • After years of work, we are on the cusp of bringing passenger rail back to the Gulf Coast, connecting dozens of towns and cities to one another with rail for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

We’re helping to bring a fundamental shift to land use and development.

  • Our Form-Based Codes Institute recommended the zoning changes required to turn a sprawling, auto-dependent district in Leesburg, VA into an extension of the historic, walkable downtown, helped the City of Honolulu revise an off-street parking ordinance in anticipation of their new transit system, and wrote a new zoning code for a mixed-income neighborhood in Charlottesville, VA that includes incentives for developers to provide more affordable housing.
  • Our LOCUS program is working with more than a dozen cities and communities to ensure that Opportunity Zone investments will benefit rather than displace residents, and result in walkable communities with jobs and housing options for everyone.

Smart growth is the best form of economic development.

  • Our economic development team worked with dozens of local leaders to show them how investing in downtown and making their cities walkable and connected is their best path to long-term prosperity. As one mayor told us this year following a workshop, “I have done a 180 on my thoughts on annexation… we can do a better job of utilizing the footprint and infrastructure we already have in place.”
  • We’ve now worked with 10 communities over the last three years—ranging from legacy manufacturing cities to isolated rural places—to help them use small-scale manufacturing as a means for employment opportunities in the neighborhoods people love.

Making smart growth happen can feel like a massive challenge—so many things have to change. We know! Smart Growth America, through our range of programs and teams, is well-equipped to take them on, but we need your support.

Donate to Smart Growth America for 2020.

Complete Streets Economic development Form-Based Codes LOCUS Rural Development Technical assistance Transportation