The concept of “smart growth” emerged in 1992 from the United Nation’s adoption of Agenda 21 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Driven by “new guard” urban planners, architects, developers, community activists, and historic preservationists, it accepts that growth and development will continue to occur, and so seeks to direct that growth in an intentional, comprehensive way.
One of the earliest efforts to establish smart growth as a regulatory framework were put forth by the American Planning Association which in 1997 introduced a project called Growing Smart and published “Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook: Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change.”
Smart Growth Principles identified by the APA’s Guidebook include:
•Mixed land uses
•Compact building design
•A range of housing choices
•A strong sense of place
•Preserving natural beauty and critical environments
•Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities
•Fair and cost effective development decisions
•Community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions
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