What Is Smart Growth?

Smart Growth refers to land use and transportation policies designed to combat sprawl, reduce traffic and dependence upon the automobile, improve environmental quality -- including reductions in vehicle emissions -- and enhance the quality of life in metropolitan areas through the creation of more attractive and livable communities.

Key Elements of Smart Growth

Cedar Crossing at Takoma Metro

  • Transit-Oriented Development. Focus new development in existing neighborhoods well-served by transit.
    Build more, not less, at transit.
  • People-Oriented Transportation Choices. Public sector transportation decisions -- from parking to roadway widths to signalization to sidewalk design -- are too often automobile-centric, made without concern for the impact on pedestrians, bicycles, of the potential for thoughtful land use.
    Recognize that streets are for everyone, not just cars.
  • Neighborhood-Enhancing Development. New private development should respect, protect, and enhance existing neighborhoods and be designed to contribute to the urban vitality and safety of neighborhoods with mixed-use, lively streets.
    Build great streets. They are the foundation of healthy, sustainable neighborhoods.