Fostering Distinctive, Attractive Communities with a Strong Sense of Place

What does it mean to foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place?

The Smart Growth Tenet: Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place that reflect the values, culture and vision of residents through the growth and history of their community.


Why is fostering distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place important?

Communities with a strong sense of place build on their unique history, identity and assets to foster community pride, increase …

Compact Design

Compact building design allows communities to be designed in a way that preserves more open space and makes more efficient use of land and resources. By encouraging buildings to grow vertically rather than horizontally, and by incorporating structured rather than surface parking, for example, communities can reduce the footprint of new construction and preserve more green space (Smart Growth Online).

Compact building design simply means using the least amount of land for development and supporting infrastructure that is reasonable under …

Land Use in the Wildland-Urban Interface: Urban Sprawl and Smart Growth


As urban populations grow and more people want privacy and greenspace, development inevitably creeps beyond city limits into natural and agricultural areas, creating the wildland-urban interface. The wildland-urban interface is an area of changing land uses – often an increasing amount of development leading to increasingly fragmented natural areas. If the development occurs without consideration for infrastructure, commercial needs, efficient transportation options, or quality of life, it can degrade rather than enhance the nearby community. Without considering …

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Cluster/Conservation Development


Over the past fifty years, residential development has spread across the Illinois landscape, quite rapidly in some areas. As urbanized areas have grown, people have migrated to what have become known as “subdivisions” located in more suburban or rural areas on the outskirts of towns and cities. Much of this type of development has followed a traditional design, which some have described as “checkerboard or cookie-cutter housing development.” The residential zoning ordinances in most communities have …

Conservation Subdivision: Design Phase – Patch Size and Shape of Conserved Open Spaces


As urban communities grow, design and management strategies for new developments become critical factors that determine impacts on natural resources. How can we accommodate growth and yet conserve natural resources and biodiversity? In this document, we focus on conserving biodiversity when land is subdivided. The term “biological diversity,” or “biodiversity” refers to the variety of life and its processes. Biodiversity includes species diversity, habitat diversity, and genetic diversity. For the purposes of this article, we focus on biodiversity of …

Modeling Downtown Parking Requirements With Planning Support Systems in Sheridan, Wyoming


Sometimes the goal of preserving and enhancing a community’s historical downtown character isn’t compatible with a community’s minimum parking requirements as dictated by zoning regulations. The town of Sheridan, Wyoming used sophisticated GIS-based planning support systems to assess the city’s parking requirements and show how these would support or impact their community’s goal of a pedestrian-friendly downtown.

Find out what they found – [1]

Reprinted with permission from Western Planner Resources

Designing America’s Wildlife Highway: Montana’s U.S. Highway 93

Grant Jones, FASLA, Cory Parker, ASLA, Charlie Scott, ASLA

Spend some time in western Montana and you’ll see the bumper sticker: “Pray for me, I drive U.S. 93.” This highway runs from Arizona to Canada. It is a two-laner through much of Montana, entering big-sky country from Idaho at Lost Trail Pass and passing through Missoula, Kalispell, the Flathead Indian Reservation, and along the western shore of Flathead Lake before entering Canada.

The road is heavily used, filled with recreational …