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Community Growth: Process
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons for Change
Preventing Pollution
Where To Go for Help
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Livable Tucson Goals: Highlighted Projects
Listing of highlighted projects toward attaining managed growth.

Paying for Prosperity: Impact Fees and Job Growth
This report addresses the controversy around impact fees by reviewing the academic literature concer...

Smart Growth at the Frontier: Strategies and Resources for Rural Communities
Smart growth tools are not currently widely adopted in rural areas. This publication identifies the ...

Ten Steps to Sustainability
Lists important criteria for launching successful sustainability programs, with links.

Throughout the United States, large and small communities are competing. They compete for things that make them prosper -- industry, tourism, resources, and people -- while struggling to manage growth and secure the finances necessary to provide public infrastructure and services. Some states have developed specific ways to support their communities' growth planning processes and advise the state legislature on growth management issues. Tools are being developed that help communities:

Development Decisions

Here are common growth situations with potentially negative repercussions to sustaining the environment and quality of life in a community:

  • Zoning rules that forbid a mix of homes, densities, and business, and discourage walking, biking, and public transit
  • Readily available federal grants and low-cost financing for water, sewers, and roads, inviting decentralized expansion.
  • Mortgage interest and property tax deductions give people a subtle incentive to buy bigger houses on bigger lots, thus promoting consumption of open space
  • State finances oriented towards building new rather than repairing existing infrastructure, and pulling resources from the metropolitan core
  • Commercial development emphasized along transportation corridors rather than "centers based" within residential areas
  • Conflict between local and state design standards
  • Tax rate structures that make sprawl-type developments financially attractive
  • Reliance on population growth for lower per capita property tax
  • Subsidies for developments that outweigh the tax revenues received from them
  • Lack of jurisdictional cooperation among cities, counties, and regions

New Planning Principles

Because of shared problems facing communities and regions, a variety of principles that advocate sustainable growth have been offered. The American Planning Association summarized much of what is accepted in the following principles. Most are applicable to pollution prevention.

  1. Recognition that all levels of government, and the non-profit and private sectors, play an important role in creating and implementing policies that support smart growth.
  2. State and federal policies and programs that support urban investment, compact development, and land conservation.
  3. Planning processes and regulations at multiple levels that promote diversity, equity, and smart growth principles.
  4. Increased citizen participation in all aspects of the planning process and at every level of government.
  5. A balanced, multi-modal transportation system that plans for increased transportation choice.
  6. A regional view of community.
  7. One size that doesn't fit all - a wide variety of approaches to accomplish smart growth.
  8. Efficient use of land and infrastructure.
  9. Central city vitality.
  10. Vital small towns and rural areas.
  11. A greater mix of uses and housing choices in neighborhoods and communities focused around human-scale, mixed use centers accessible by multiple transportation modes.
  12. Conservation and enhancement of environmental and cultural resources.
  13. Creation or preservation of a "sense of place

In its Toolkit for Community Growth Planning, The Western Regional Development Center suggests five cyclical steps: awareness, assessment, alternatives, action, and evaluation for community planning. The most successful planning documents and plans occur when there is in-depth involvement from stakeholders throughout a region in all five phases. As one community planner said, "You are going to hear from everyone at some point, so you might as well involve everyone right from the beginning." Finally, community growth management often revolves around monitoring measurable indicators that show whether the community is moving towards or away from its vision.


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Community Growth Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Center
Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Center
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Hub Last Updated: 1/25/2013