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Municipal Level Scorecards

Introduction | Municipal Level Scorecards | Project Specific Scorecards | Component Scorecards | Additional Resources

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Municipal level assessments:

  1. Vermont Smart Growth Scorecard
  2. Colorado Smart Growth Scorecard
  3. Vision 2020 Smart Growth Audit
  4. New Jersey Future Smart Growth Scorecard: Municipal Review
  5. EcoCity Cleveland Design Principles for Great Places
  6. Cape Cod Growth Management Audit
  7. Smart Growth Leadership Institute Code and Policy Audits
  8. Commonwealth Capital Scorecard

1. The Vermont Smart Growth Scorecard (PDF) (18 pp, 1.4 MB)
Year developed: 2000
Smart Growth Vermont Publications Exit EPA

This is a simple, easy to use tool that allows communities to assess their own ability to handle projected growth and development. The scorecard is arranged into 8 categories based on locally developed principles that describe smart growth in Vermont. Each category has a series of multiple-choice questions that assign relative values to the chosen answers. Particularly good is the section on including citizens in the process of developing goals and strategies. Aggregated scores yield and overall score. The scorecard concludes with a set of resources and suggestions that communities can use once they have evaluated their own current conditions.

What to expect in this scorecard?

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2. Colorado Smart Growth Scorecard (PDF) (32 pp, 3.7 MB)
Year developed: 2003
Colorado Center for Healthy Communities: Publications Exit EPA

The Colorado Smart Growth Scorecard is divided into 10 categories with multiple-choice questions relating to each of the ten sections. Each category is accompanied by a list of resources that relate to that particular category. As the introduction indicates, there is no concise, all encompassing definition of smart growth in Colorado. This scorecard allows communities to assess their own situations, take the information and opt to make changes based on the answers generated from these questions. Users of this card are encouraged to work with sections most relevant to a community's needs. Of particular note is the section that deals with compactness and walkability. This section is illustrated with diagrams of compact development juxtaposed with more sprawling development. The document also includes "Tips for Answering Questions" in each category.

What to expect in this scorecard?

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3. Southeastern Massachusetts Smart Growth Audit (PDF) (12 pp, 145 K)
Year developed: 2003
Vision 2020: A partnership for Southeastern Massachusetts Exit EPA

The Smart Growth Audit is a product of three organizations in the southeastern part of Massachusetts - the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston, the Old Colony Planning Council in Brockton, and the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District. These organizations produced a scorecard that could be used by the 52 communities within the service areas of these three organizations. This scorecard is divided into categories that broadly reflect smart growth principles in Massachusetts. That it was developed by three organizations and with the intent to be used by more than 50 communities indicates the versatility of this tool.

What to expect in this scorecard?

Vision 2020 document that aggregates all of the results from the communities assessed with the scorecard is available here: SE Massachusetts Smart Growth Audit results (PDF) (8 pp, 178 K)

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4. Smart Growth Scorecard: Municipal Review (PDF) (4 pp, 382 K)
Year: 2002
New Jersey Future: Scorecards Exit EPA

New Jersey Future developed this scorecard so that citizens and decision makers could determine whether or not a community is "growing smart." It also helps a community determine if the correct tools are available to help ensure that growth and development are beneficial to all members of the community. The scorecard includes a series of questions in 7 smart growth categories. The scorecard is concise and to the point. Many of the questions are New Jersey specific (they relate to New Jersey codes and regulations). Communities outside of New Jersey would benefit from the basic strategy outlined in the scorecard, but it should be adjusted to reflect the policies of a community's state regulatory landscape.

What to expect in this scorecard?

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5. Design Principles for Great Places (PDF) (7 pp, 85 K)
Year: 2002-2003
EcoCity Cleveland: Smart GrowthExit EPA

This is a broad assessment tool that allows citizens and decision makers to rate communities and neighborhoods from urban to exurban. The tool can also be used to rate proposed developments as well. The developers of this rating system are interested in making sure the built environment is situated well within the context of the natural environment. Ideally, this scorecard should be used in conjunction with the municipal level assessment to provide a comprehensive view of the regulatory conditions that govern future growth and the current built conditions (which were determined by the contemporary regulatory conditions).

What to expect in this scorecard?

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6. Cape Cod Growth Management Audit (PDF) (8 pp, 60 K)
Year: 2004
Association to Preserve Cape Cod: Growth Management Audit Exit EPA

In 2004, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Business Roundtable, Cape Cod Selectmen's and Councilor's Association, Cape Cod Economic Development Council, and the Cape Cod Commission cooperatively sponsored the distribution and analysis of the Cape Cod Growth Management Audit. Fifteen towns received the audit and fourteen of those returned completed forms. The intent of the audit was to continue discussions on growth and development patterns - discussions that had already begun through a series of workshops in early 2004. The Growth Management Audit is modeled on the Vision 2020 audit form (see above) and tailored to meet the needs of the local communities on Cape Cod. The audit process allowed communities to understand what policies were impacting their development projects, a way to gather and organize information on what policies were not working, and it afforded each town a way to examine a range of policies may work in their own communities.

What to expect in this scorecard?

An analysis of the results are available here: Association to Preserve Cape Cod Audit Results (PDF) (10 pp, 239 K)

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7. SGLI Policy Audit (PDF) (8 pp, 129 K) and SGLI Code Audit (PDF) (35 pp, 401 K)
Year: 2004/2005
Smart Growth Leadership Institute: Implementation Assistance Exit EPA

The Policy Audit template and the Code Audit template produced by the Smart Growth Leadership Institute (funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the US EPA) allow communities to assess their own development policies and codes. The Policy Audit tool evaluates a community's policies compared to the a set of generally accepted smart growth "best practices." These policies are organized by the 10 smart growth principles. The Code Audit template allows a community assess its zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations, street design standards, building codes, and other regulatory items that impact development. The comprehensive analysis that results from this type of audit shows the importance of ensuring that all of the relevant documents support smart growth approaches to development.

What to expect with these scorecards?

A discussion of SGLI's work with communities is available on the Community Profiles Web site Exit EPA.

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8. Commonwealth Capital Scorecard (PDF) (1 pp, 110 K)
Year: 2006
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Commonwealth Capital Program
Contact: Commonwealth Capital Program Exit EPA

Commonwealth Capital (initiated in 2005) is a new system for distributing state funding for capital/infrastructure, based on whether cities and towns in Massachusetts are engaged in smart growth. The key tool is the Commonwealth Capital scorecard.

Communities fill out the scorecard and explain what they have or are committed to institute in a range of categories (see "Issue categories covered" below). Based on responses to questions in these categories, each community gets a score. That score counts for 30 percent of the decision on whether they get a grant or loan in the Commonwealth Capital "family" of grants and loans. In this way, Commonwealth Capital acts as a screen for $500 million annually in grants and loans; it rewards communities engaged in smart growth and leverages capital funding so it goes to the places that need it for smart growth. The communities note that filling out the scorecard is also a very useful exercise in terms of mapping out where they are on their long-term growth strategy, planning and overall direction. Nearly 280 cities and towns have filled out the Commonwealth Capital scorecard over the past two years of the program.

What to expect in this scorecard?

Community scores are posted on the Commonwealth Capital Program site. Exit EPA

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