Smart Growth Self-Assessment for Rural Communities
This self-assessment tool from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a checklist of “smart growth” strategies for local governments and planners that can help inform the development of healthier and more resilient communities. This “yes”/“no” checklist is organized by eleven goal areas common to rural communities, each including examples of associated strategies from around the country with related resource links. The self-assessment allows rural communities to identify strengths and gaps in policies, plans, programs, codes, and zoning regulations which can help inform subsequent identification of high- and medium-priority strategies to address a community’s unique goals and needs. Climate change resilience and adaptation strategies are incorporated across this smart growth guidance.
Users are instructed to begin with the first section to indicate a baseline of smart growth policies already in place within the jurisdiction, and then choose additional relevant sections to complete in accordance with a community’s particular goals. The eleven sections/goal areas are:
- Revitalize Village and Town Centers
- Strengthen the Local Economy
- Engage and Connect Community Members
- Improve Health and Promote Active Living
- Protect Natural Habitats and Ecosystems
- Support Productive Agriculture for a Variety of Markets
- Meet Housing Needs for Different Ages and Incomes
- Preserve Historic and Cultural Resources
- Provide Transportation Choices
- Invest in Efficient Public Infrastructure Systems and Operations
- Use Energy Efficiently and Provide Renewable Energy
The climate change adaptation strategies suggested in various sections of this assessment relate mostly to stormwater management and green infrastructure, for example:
- Encourage green infrastructure strategies to collect and treat stormwater runoff, such as rain gardens, vegetated swales, and permeable pavements, through incentives in new developments or redevelopments.
- Codes include provisions exist to minimize or reduce the amount of impervious surface.
- Permit green roofs.
- Water-harvesting devices, such as rain barrels and cisterns, are permitted.
Additional adaptation strategies relate to water conservation, reuse of greywater, climate-appropriate and native landscaping, community gardening, floodplain development regulations, and energy efficiency in buildings.
Publication Date: July 2015
- Small Communities
- Agriculture and food
- Biodiversity and ecosystems
- Land use and built environment
- Public health
- Small communities
- Tool (general)