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Smart Growth

Choosing Our Community's Future

Choosing Our Community's Future (2005) is a guidebook to help residents shape the growth and development of their neighborhoods, towns, and regions. Smart Growth America Exit developed it through a cooperative agreement with EPA.

The guide explains community design elements, the planning and site approval process for development projects, and the factors that make plans or projects deliver community and environmental benefits. These benefits include walkability, durable design, and community features like parks, libraries, schools, and convenient shopping.

Choosing Our Community's Future focuses on the visioning and planning efforts that set the stage for smarter growth, discussing how citizens can engage and make suggestions through collaborative stakeholder meetings and workshops. The guidebook can help you:

  • Make sure infill development works in your neighborhood.
  • Evaluate mixed-use projects.
  • Argue for redevelopment that brings benefits to the entire community.
  • Reduce the environmental impact of growth and development projects.
  • Get the most from community planning.

Contents include:

  • A Citizen’s Introduction to Planning, Zoning and Development with tips on how to find the information you need.
  • Key Principles for Managing Change, which details characteristics of good and not-so-good development and includes a project evaluation scorecard.
  • Evaluating Potential Impacts of Development from density to traffic to property values.
  • True Stories from people who have been through the development process and the lessons they have to offer.
  • Links for additional help, references to other resources, and a glossary.
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