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Approaching the "Smart Growth" Issue: A Look at Best Practices Used by Transportation Planning Organizations
Lester A. Hoel
John S. Miller
John S. Miller
Year: 2000
VTRC No.: 00-TAR3
Abstract: A fundamental public policy decision implicitly addressed by agencies responsible for urban transportation planning is the right of the individual versus the goal of the community. This question arises in considering the role that state and local officials should play within the context of transportation and land development, specifically the "smart growth" movement. Although there is no universally accepted definition of "smart growth", discrete actions being implemented or advocated under that rubric reveal that smart growth is viewed as a range of regulatory, financial, and educational practices that may help to coordinate transportation and land use through integrated planning. Practices helpful in this coordination include communications, consensus building, and legislative efforts that improve the dialogue, reduce polarization, and enable coordination of transportation and land use decisions. None of these practices requires the use of the "smart growth" label; instead, they expose tangible initiatives that can be publicly debated. Only when referring to specific initiatives (rather than the general slogan "smart growth") is it fair to ask a community or an organization to take a position on the issue of individual autonomy versus communal desires. This paper discusses critical policy issues facing agencies responsible for land use planning, reviews organizational approaches to resolving smart growth issues, and suggests practices to enhance community participation.