Smart Growth for Coastal and Waterfront Communities

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the International City/County Management Association, and Rhode Island Sea Grant, jointly released "Smart Growth for Coastal and Waterfront Communities," intended for planners, local government officials, developers, residents, and other stakeholders. Developed in consultation with the national Smart Growth Network, the interagency guide builds on the network's ten smart growth principles to create coastal and waterfront-specific strategies for development. The guide includes an overview of the unique development challenges and opportunities along the water and provides specific approaches to development that include a description of the issues, tools and techniques, and case studies.

Understand regulatory, voluntary, and incentive-based approaches to build resilience and sustainability in coastal areas.

The coastal and waterfront elements presented in this guide augment the existing smart growth principles to reflect the specific challenges and opportunities characterizing the waterfront, be it on a coast, a river, or a lake. Smart growth approaches are guided by a set of principles that help communities grow in ways that expand economic opportunity, protect public health and the environment, and enhance places that people care about. Some of these approaches also can help communities be more resilient to hazards created by weather and climate, such as drought, sea level rise, and coastal and inland flooding. 

This guide begins with an overview of some of the challenges and opportunities that communities along the water face. Ten sections follow, one for each of the smart growth coastal and waterfront elements. Each section begins with a description of what smart growth looks like and how it may be applied differently along the water - and then offers examples, tools, and techniques for implementing smart growth approaches. The guide includes regulatory approaches as well as voluntary, incentive-based tools. 

The ten smart growth principles, or elements, included are: 

1. Mix land uses

2. Take advantage of compact building design

3. Create a range of housing opportunities and choices

4. Create walkable communities

5. Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place

6. Preserve open space, farmlands, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas

7. Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities

8. Provide a variety of transportation options

9. Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective

10. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions



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Publication Date: September 9, 2009

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