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Smart Growth

Smart Growth Illustrated

Smart growth is generally defined by 10 principles developed in 1996 by the Smart Growth Network, a partnership of real estate and development, environmental, historic preservation, affordable housing, public health, government, and other organizations. The network used the experiences of communities around the country to develop the principles, which are intended to be broad enough to apply to communities of all sizes and contexts.

While the principles describe smart growth, pictures can communicate ideas about density, design, walkability, and housing and transportation choices better than words alone. Smart Growth Illustrated provides visual examples of smart growth techniques being used in real places.

While every example illustrates several smart growth principles, each one was chosen to highlight one specific principle. Together, these case studies show how the 10 smart growth principles have helped 20 communities around the country build and support healthy, prosperous neighborhoods with a high quality of life for people of all income levels.

Find more examples of smart growth projects

Smart Growth Principle Case Study
Mix land uses Eighth and Pearl, Boulder, CO
Legacy Town Center, Plano, TX
Take advantage of compact building design Belmont Dairy, Portland, OR
Highlands' Garden Village, Denver, CO
Create a range of housing opportunities and choices Hismen Hin-Nu Terrace, Oakland, CA
Benedict Commons, Aspen, CO
Create walkable neighborhoods Northwest Landing, DuPont, WA
Bethesda Row, Bethesda, MD
Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place The Can Company, Baltimore, MD
Downtown Brea, Brea, CA
Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas Abacoa, Jupiter, FL
East Lake Commons, Decatur, GA
Strengthen and direct development toward existing communities Mizner Park, Boca Raton, FL
Uptown District, San Diego, CA
Provide a variety of transportation choices King Farm, Rockville, MD
The Crossings, Mountain View, CA
Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective Green Tape Program, Silver Spring, MD
Compact Development Endorsement Program, San Francisco, CA
Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions Barrio Logan, San Diego, CA
East Russell, Louisville, KY