The Smart Growth toolkit is released

This is a news release from the Smart Growth Leadership Institute about the final release of their new toolkit:

Smart Growth Leadership Institute releases toolkit to help communities implement smart growth.

The Smart Growth Leadership Institute (SGLI) has released a suite of tools to help communities identify and overcome barriers to smarter growth and more sustainable development. The Smart Growth Implementation Toolkit will help communities across the nation to encourage development that creates safer, healthier, more livable neighborhoods; helps to protect the environment and reduce energy consumption; expands housing options; helps households lower their expenses; and, maximizes returns from existing community investments.

The Toolkit is designed to help community leaders review and revise their land use policies, zoning and development codes and project design standards. It includes step-by-step “audits” of policies and codes, as well as a scorecard for evaluating proposed development projects.

The toolkit and the individual tools are available as free downloads via

“The toolkit’s release comes as more and more communities across the country are taking the lead in providing solutions to our most pressing local, national and global challenges,” said Tamar Shapiro, executive director of SGLI.

“Many communities are opting for more compact growth patterns that reduce overall energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, minimize the burden of high infrastructure costs on local governments and taxpayers, and also cater to the preferences of an aging population and mobile workforce,” Shapiro continued.

Tim Torma, Acting Director of the smart growth division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, noted that, “Smart growth development is a strong tool to address a wide range of community challenges, including health issues such as obesity and asthma; the aging population; increasing traffic congestion and the impact of rising fuel and energy costs on our households.” The EPA funded the development of the tools through a four-year grant, which allowed SGLI to test the tools in the field while providing technical assistance to communities.

The toolkit outlines smart growth techniques that many communities around the country are using to spur and shape redevelopment, to bring new residents and vitality to town centers, to accommodate growth in areas served by public transit and to create greener, more walkable neighborhoods. The techniques include very practical approaches that will reverse current unsustainable development practices, such as putting homes, offices, and stores closer together; introducing a wider array of housing and transportation choices in once automobile-dependent suburbs; and, designing “complete streets” that accommodate motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“Getting there from where we are today can look like an overwhelming task because it asks community leaders to level the playing field and to overhaul outdated plans,” said Shapiro. “The good news is there is a large unmet market demand for smart growth and communities can leverage that demand by simply removing some of the barriers to more walkable, mixed-use development. The tools in the Smart Growth Implementation Toolkit can help community leaders take the critical first steps in that direction.”