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Smart Growth

Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities

Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities
For hard copies of the report, email or call (800) 490-9198 and request EPA 231-K-10-003.

Many rural communities and small towns are facing challenges, including rapid growth at metropolitan edges, declining rural populations, and loss of working lands. Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities (2010) focuses on smart growth strategies that can help guide growth in rural areas while protecting natural and working lands and preserving the rural character of existing communities.

The report focuses on three central goals:

  1. Support the rural landscape by creating an economic climate that enhances the viability of working lands and conserves natural lands.
  2. Help existing places to thrive by taking care of assets and investments such as downtowns, main streets, existing infrastructure, and places that the community values.
  3. Create great new places by building vibrant, enduring neighborhoods and communities that people, especially young people, don't want to leave.

Featuring case studies from across the country, the report highlights how local governments, states, and nonprofits have implemented smart growth strategies to support rural lands, revitalize existing communities, and create great new places for residents and visitors. The report provides tools that leaders from rural communities and small towns can use to help attract and direct growth while ensuring that it meet their economic, environmental, and public health goals.

The report is the result of collaboration between EPA and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). 

Learn more about smart growth in small towns and rural communities.

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