Is Smart Growth the Answer for South Florida?

“Smart Growth”, a comprehensive approach to development used in many cities across the nation, incorporates the following principles:

  • encourages development in existing urbanized areas,
  • creates more compact development in non-urbanized areas,
  • promotes the proximity of jobs, shopping, and services to residential areas,
  • provides more transportation options,
  • and ensures access to natural areas.

Smart growth principles have been advocated to help South Florida meet the needs of our current and future families by revitalizing neighborhoods, preserving natural areas, stimulating economic development, and providing transportation alternatives to the car.

Enhance Quality of Life

Smart Growth communities are designed to attract a diverse population of residents and businesses — then keep them there, with pedestrian-oriented walkable neighborhoods, diverse housing and an array of local businesses and services. Nearby resources minimize car trips and maximize walking, bike-riding and person-to-person interaction. It's compact land-use planning at its best, including commercial, office, public, and recreational uses.

Promote Economic Development

Attract businesses and jobs to locations near housing, infrastructure, and transportation options. Promote economic development in industry clusters. Expand access to education, training, and entrepreneurial opportunities. Support the growth of local businesses, including sustainable natural resource-based businesses, such as agriculture, forestry, clean energy technology, and fisheries.

Create Livable Communities

Support the revitalization of city and town centers and neighborhoods by promoting development that is compact, conserves land, protects historic resources, and integrates uses. Encourage remediation and reuse of existing sites, structures, and infrastructure rather than new construction in undeveloped areas. Create pedestrian-friendly districts and neighborhoods that mix commercial, civic, cultural, educational, and recreational activities with open spaces and homes.

Promote Alternative Transportation

Maintain and expand transportation options that maximize mobility, reduce congestion, conserve fuel and improve air quality. Prioritize rail, bus, boat, rapid and surface transit, shared-vehicle and shared-ride services, bicycling, and walking. Invest strategically in existing and new passenger and freight transportation infrastructure that supports sound economic development consistent with Smart Growth objectives.

Create a Range of Housing Opportunities

Support the construction and rehabilitation of homes to meet the needs of people of all abilities, income levels, and household types. Build homes near jobs, transit, and where services are available. Foster the development of housing, particularly multifamily and smaller single-family homes, in a way that is compatible with a community's character and vision and with providing new housing choices for people of all means.

Preserve Open Space, Natural Resources & Environment

Protect and restore environmentally sensitive lands, natural resources, agricultural lands, critical habitats, wetlands and water resources, and cultural and historic landscapes. Increase the quantity, quality and accessibility of open spaces and recreational opportunities.