Competitive Communities
Building Communities for Tomorrow's Economy
Implementing Smarter Growth

Saturday, February 18, 2006  

The Quality Place component of Competitive Communities is aimed at understanding and building value in uniqueness. We are developing Quality Place Measures to establish current position, assess impact / direction of community growth values and assist in charting a course for the future. It is not a device to rank communities against one another. It is simply a measure and value direction scale for charting place characteristics. There are nine categories of measure. Contact us to learn more.

Marketable ideas about growth have passed from one community to another without an understanding of the consequences and without tools to manage good and bad impacts. The result is often a rather uninteresting sameness that adversely impacts unique character that distinguishes a community. The Competitive Communities framework can serve as a simple tool for organizing dialogue about community actions and outcomes as well as beginning to connect quality place strategies with brainpower and innovation strategies.

There are a number of organizations working to increase the body of knowledge about quality place and provide tools to assist communities in growing smarter and in becoming more sustainable. Many of these guidelines are the result of research on negative consequences of growth patterns that are proving unsustainable. More sustainable approaches have now become marketable. These new characteristics are often reminiscent of older inner neighborhoods that have, over time, lost value and show symptoms of disinvestments while prosperity has moved outward. These new / old ideas about planning community are a good fit for inner neighborhoods that have suffered neglect.

However, the new principals are often used to retool outward growth strategies that continue to not fully address the broader issues of competitive communities and regions. It remains easier and more profitable to develop in a green field. Although it is a better growth pattern than low-density sprawl, these efforts could be more aptly branded “new suburbanism”.

If you would like to know about principals of growing smarter the Smart Growth Network and the International City/ County Management Association (ICMA) have produced two documents to assist communities in implementing better growth policies:

·Getting to Smart Growth: 100 policies for implementation

·Getting to Smart Growth II

These two documents provide examples that demonstrate applications of smart growth principals:

1. Mix land uses
2. Take advantage of compact building design
3. Create a range of housing opportunities and choices
4. Create walkable communities
5. Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
6. Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas
7. Strengthen and direct development toward existing communities
8. Provide a variety of transportation choices
9. Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost-effective
10. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration

Download a presentation; Making Land Development Regulations Work for Smart Growth , that includes links to resource organizations. Smart Growth America has also re-released a 2004 publication; Smart Growth is Smart Business, Boosting the Bottom Line and Community Prosperity . Smart Growth America has a number of other resource publications that will be helpful in becoming a smarter community.

posted by Kim | 6:28 AM