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Smart Growth for Coastal and Waterfront Communities

Winooski, Vermont, revitalized its downtown with mixed-income housing, stores, and a new Riverwalk that reconnects the town to the Winooski River.

Winooski, Vermont, revitalized its downtown with mixed-income housing, stores, and a new Riverwalk that reconnects the town to the Winooski River.

In partnership with NOAA, Rhode Island Sea Grant, and the International City/County Management Association, EPA has released Smart Growth for Coastal and Waterfront Communities.  This interagency guide builds on existing smart growth principles to offer 10 specific development guidelines for coastal and waterfront communities.

Coastal and waterfront communities have a distinctive sense of place created by their history, as well as by their characteristic sights, sounds, and smells. These communities face many unique challenges, including potential sea-level rise, hurricanes, flooding, other weather and climate-related hazards, vulnerable ecosystems, and limited land.  More than half of the U.S. population lives in coastal counties that cover less than 17 percent of U.S. land area, and that percentage continues to grow.  Additionally, 180 million people visit coastal areas every year, and many others visit lake and riverfront communities.  As they struggle to accommodate this intense interest, many coastal and waterfront communities have found that conventional development patterns threaten the assets they treasure most.  Smart growth approaches can help these communities accommodate development, protect their natural resources, and keep people and property out of harm's way.

Smart Growth for Coastal and Waterfront Communities features 10 smart growth guidelines for development along the water.  These guidelines, developed in consultation with the Smart Growth Network, build upon the original smart growth principles to reflect the specific challenges and opportunities characterizing the waterfront, be it on the coast, a river, or a lake.  In addition to the 10 guidelines, the publication highlights tools, techniques, and examples of smart growth in practice.  The publication is intended for planners, local decision-makers, developers, nonprofit groups, and others with an interest in waterfront development issues.

SG Coastal

Smart Growth for Coastal and Waterfront Communities can be downloaded at http://coastalsmartgrowth.noaa.gov.  This web site also features supplemental information that will be updated periodically.

For hard copies, email nscep@bps-lmit.com or call (800) 490-9198 and request EPA 231-K-09-001.

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