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Self Management Assessment and Resource Tool (S.M.A.R.T.)

EPA National Community Recognition Program - Question 2

Our community’s governing body has conducted or commissioned an assessment of what it will take to apply smart growth principles.


Before beginning an assessment, consider your governing body’s understanding of smart growth principles. Understanding your goals within the smart growth framework will give you perspective on the issues that need to be assessed within your community. Results of the assessment will provide you with an understanding of the current smart growth strengths and weaknesses of your community that will guide you in making progress towards achieving your community vision. This process of gathering accurate and useful data will serve as a crucial tool for decision making and the establishment of priorities to move forward, as well as ensure transparency during the planning process. Later, the information and steps taken during process of assessment can help the community transition into evaluation of the smart growth plan.

Getting Started
To begin the process of community assessment, determine the information that will be relevant to developing your action plan for reaching the community vision. Consider the main goals you are interested in achieving in your community and where you currently stand on them. Examine land use patterns, zoning regulations, transportation, local market conditions, etc., as they relate to your ultimate vision. The tool kits and score cards listed below can aid you in initiating a community assessment. Be sure to have a clear plan and timeline for data collection and ensure the accuracy and reliability of information.

Internet Resources on Community Assessments

Iowa State University Extension
Preparing for a Community Assessment
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/CRD334.pdf#search=%22community%20planning%20assessment%22 (PDF) (8 pp, 110K)  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

Vermont Forum for Sprawl
Pathways to Planning
http://www.vtsprawl.org/category/aging/  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

Georgia Department of Community Affairs
Smart Growth Audit
http://www.dca.state.ga.us/intra_nonpub/Toolkit/Guides/SmtGrwthAdt.pdf (PDF) (5 pp, 21K) Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

New Jersey Future
Smart Growth Score Card – Municipal Review
http://www.njfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/planscorecard.pdf (PDF) (4 pp, 383K)  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

EcoCity Cleveland
Smart Growth Score Sheet
http://www.ecocitycleveland.org/smartgrowth/imageswr/commun_score.html  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

The Smart Growth Leadership Institute
National Smart Growth Implementation Kit
http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/leadership-institute/implementation-tools  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

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