Smart Growth for Conservatives

A good blogpost by William Fulton entitled “Shouldn’t Smart Growth appeal to Conservatives?” can be found on the California Planning and Development Report website.  Fulton discusses a session held at the recent New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Kansas City, at which conservative commentators called out several instances where Smart Growth practices embody more conservative principles than the traditional rules of development.  Conservatives should embrace practices that create more flexibility in the marketplace.  Overemphasis on suburban low-density development, rigid use separation (“why not allow granny flats?”), onerous minimum parking requirements, and a lack of enabling legislation in many states (including Iowa)  that would force growth to pay its own way were some of the traditional practices that conservatives agreed need to be abandoned.

The conservative commentators referenced in Fulton’s post certainly do not agree with all Smart Growth practices, but this is the turf on which Smart Growth should be debated.  As one of our bright graduate students in the ISU planning program and I point out in our Des Moines Register op-ed, discussions of the merits of good planning practice are increasingly being hijacked by Agenda 21 conspiracy theorists.  The time and oxygen at public forums is better spent by citizens discussing the pros and cons of transit-oriented nodes, mixed use development, or green infrastructure, rather than the U.N.’s secret efforts to move us all into communes.

Smart Growth America awards technical assistance to 1 community, 1 organization in Iowa

The city of Carlisle, Iowa and the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization are among the 22 recipients of Smart Growth America’s 2013 technical assistance awards.  Each year, Smart Growth America makes a limited number of technical assistance workshops available to interested communities for zero cost. This competitive award gives communities a chance to understand the technical aspects of smart growth development through a one- or two-day workshop on a subject of their choosing.

The program is funded through a grant from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities under its Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program. The Building Blocks program funds quick, targeted assistance to communities that face common development problems. Three other nonprofit organizations—Forterra, Global Green USA and Project for Public Spaces—also received competitively awarded grants under this program to help communities get the kinds of development they want.

You can read more about the award here.

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