In class on Wednesday, we discussed the ten principles of smart growth. But before that, we discussed reasons urban areas tend to sprawl. Today we discussed how cities usually get to a point where crime, pollution, unemployment can trigger a negative feedback loop which causes people to leave and the population to decrease. That leads to the suburbs growing because of things like an increase in jobs available, less pollution and less crowding. As the suburbs grow, there is a transition into a positive feedback loop triggered by the Highway Trust Act which leads to an acceleration in urban sprawl. In the book, figure 10.15 is a good example of this positive feedback loop; as the city sprawls outward–>leads to longer commutes to work–>leads to more money spent on gas–>leads to more money gather in taxes by government–>leads to more money for more highways—>leads to more urban sprawl…
The next thing we did in class was go over the ten principles of smart growth (can be found on pages 276-277 in the book)
Smart Growth Principles: An attempt to battle urban sprawl and make attractive, livable, sustainable urban/suburban areas.
1. mixed land uses: mixing residential, education, recreation, etc. in one area. Leads to easy accessibility and less automobile dependency.
2. range of housing opportunities and choices: provides housing for people of all incomes.
3. walkable neighborhoods: encourages walking which leads to less automobile use.
4. community and stakeholder collaboration: involve all stakeholders in the planning of determining how neighborhood will appear and be constructed.
5. compact building design: multistory buildings and parking lots to take up less land (spread up instead of out).
6. communities with a sense of place and distinct character (ex. Dilworth and Phillips Place).
7. preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty: to keep some green space and have access to fresh, local produce and recreation.
8. variety of mass transportation choices: convenient alternatives to driving.
9. strengthen existing communities (infill): infill construction in existing communities. The process of buying land and tearing down the old houses and buildings on that land and replacing them with new and bigger houses. Instead of going outside of the city, you take land that is not being used from inside the city and reuse it.
10. predictable, fair, and cost effective development decisions.
*Note: you can check the book on these 10 if you need or are unclear on any of these or want to clarify them for the reader.
After going over these principles, we watched a video that talked about how a city, Boulder, Colorado, created a new community. As we watched the video, we were asked to look for how many smart growth principles they incorporated into this community. We concluded that they included every one of the ten principles. This shows that it is possible to create a community that uses all ten of these principles. Here is one source that you can look at that shows the Holiday Neighborhood in Boulder. http://www.terrain.org/articles/16/wann.htm