Smart Growth America proposes the following:
- Understand your community
- Create an attractive, walkable place
- Diversify economic uses
- Plan for equity
- Improve government regulations and processes
- Finance projects
- Establish on-going place management
The Washington, DC metro area is a complicated place to try and answer these kinds of questions. How does an incorporated municipality in Prince George's County compete with a similarly-sized neighborhood in DC? How does College Park stand out as a college town with the pull of downtown DC just a metro ride away? How can any community address equity issues in the face of a multi-billion dollar regional real estate market?
As an environmental and community activist I am glad groups like Smart Growth America are researching these issues and providing materials like (Re)Building Downtown. Getting land use and placemaking right means healthier, more livable communities and a healthier environment - not just locally, but regionally, because desirable core cities limit sprawl development and the accompanying environmental, economic, and social impacts.