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

EPA National Community Recognition Program - Question 11

Our community’s comprehensive planning integrates smart growth principles and promotes application of these to encompass active aging/physical activity programs and opportunities for older adults.


Experience has shown that greater success is achieved by having discussions about smart growth/active aging issues at the planning level rather than waiting for a specific project to arise. Developing community consensus around the principle of keeping older adults active and walking then helps to inform decision making on a specific project.

A comprehensive plan is a guidance document that will help your community make development decisions into the future. By integrating smart growth and active aging principles into your comprehensive plan, you can ensure a focused effort has been established to achieve your community’s vision. The process also ensures stakeholders are in agreement in the application of growth and development in the community. The more specific the plan, the more readily the objectives can be carried out. As comprehensive plans typically only serve as guidance, your community may need to look to zoning regulations and legislation to codify the plan in a binding framework.

Getting Started

A comprehensive plan may be an entirely new document for your community or you may have previous plans from which you can build; begin by identifying the situation you will be starting from. Then, this exercise will require a thorough examination of how your goals and strategies will fit into a broader framework, as the comprehensive plan will bring your vision, goals, and strategies relating to smart growth and active aging to address a wider range of growth strategies, such as infrastructure, the environment, and the relationship of your community to neighboring communities and the region. The links below provide information to assist you in launching a comprehensive planning process with a focused effort on smart growth and active aging.

Internet Resources on Comprehensive Planning for Smart Growth and Active Aging

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Healthy People in Healthy Communities (44 pp, 1.17MB)  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

International City/County Management Association
Managing Active Living Communities (20 pp, 436.9K)  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

Municipal Research and Service Center of Washington
Comprehensive Planning/Growth Management  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

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