Smart Growth in Rural Communities

An EPA-funded report focuses on smart growth strategies that can help guide growth in rural areas while protecting natural and working lands and preserving the rural character.

PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS | Apr 5, 2017

Many rural communities face challenges, including rapid growth at metropolitan edges, declining rural populations, and loss of working lands. With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ICMA wrote a report, Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities, focusing 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. 

These strategies are based around 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 thrive by taking care of assets and investments such as downtowns, Main Streets, existing infrastructure, and places that the community values; and (3) create great new places by building vibrant, enduring neighborhoods and communities that people, especially young people, don’t want to leave. 

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