Saturday, August 27, 2005


My friend Barb told me that her son, Connor came home from school the other day talking about “smart growth” and the advantages when people understand it. “I thought he was talking about how fast he was growing and that it might be a good idea to buy his shoes a size too big,” she confessed, “ but I was soon to discover that I was wrong!”

Connor explained that ”Smart Growth refers to a relatively compact pattern of development that accommodates a diversity of people, housing types and jobs, and makes efficient use of public investments.”

He was quick to point out the advantages:
~ cost-efficient regional transportation systems;
~ efficient and sustainable use of land, natural resources and energy;
~ walkable and bikable neighborhoods;
~ centrally situated public facilities;
~ no abandonment of existing neighborhoods and urban centers;
~ preservation of a built heritage for future generations, and;
~ broad-based citizen participation in the process.

In the Greater Asheville area the concept of Smart Growth has caught on...

as per: http://www.ci.asheville.nc.us/business/smart.htm

Asheville is a city of approximately 70,000 residents in a metropolitan area experiencing moderate growth. It is the largest city in Western North Carolina and serves as a regional hub for commercial, medical, industrial and tourist employment. It is a community with a nationally recognized high quality of life due to its revitalized Downtown, diversity of population and housing opportunities, status as a regional center, strong neighborhoods, mild climate, and outstanding physical beauty.

Asheville faces several threats to its character and quality of life. These threats include:

Air quality issues from local, regional and interstate sources.

A shortage of developable land.

An affordable housing problem that rates us as the least affordable large city in North Carolina.

Outdated infrastructure, including street pavement conditions and needed water system improvements.

A trend towards sprawl development that creates a ubiquitous "this could be anywhere" appearance which is expensive to provide urban services and infrastructure.

A tax base that relies heavily on the residential sector.

A regional setting that includes a profound lack of growth management controls (Buncombe County is the most populous county in North Carolina without countywide zoning).

A roadway pattern that relies on the interstate system to handle large amounts of local traffic.

Any definition of Smart Growth must incorporate this context.

SO...in Asheville the Definition of Smart Growth
is a proposed City of Asheville development pattern that makes efficient use of our limited land, fully utilizes our urban services and infrastructure, promotes a wide variety of transportation and housing options, absorbs and effectively serves a significant portion of the future population growth of Buncombe County and Western North Carolina, protects the architectural and environmental character of the City through compatible, high quality, and environmentally-sensitive development practices, and recognizes the City’s role as a regional hub of commerce and employment. Inherent to this definition is the need to implement Smart Growth through comprehensive, consistent and effective policies, regulations, capital projects and incentives.

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