The Technology Behind Smart Growth
Implementing Smart Growth principles is easier with high-tech tools.
By James L. Sipes, ASLA
(c) Caliper Corporation, www.caliper.com
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the
United States is projected to grow from 281 million in 2000 to 338 million in
2025. Where are we going to put all of those people? Our cities are already
crowded, suburbs are eating up the landscape, precious natural resources are
being destroyed, and we seem to spend much of our lives in a car driving from one
place to another. Communities are struggling to find ways to accommodate future
growth while meeting environmental goals and reducing our dependence on
Many communities are starting to apply principles of Smart
Growth, which seeks to help us make better decisions about how we plan where we
live. At its core, Smart Growth is all about walkable neighborhoods, a variety
of housing opportunities and choices, mixed land uses, preservation of open
space, higher densities, interconnected networks of streets, outstanding
architecture, and the integration of art, recreation, and wellness into our
communities. In many ways it is advocating a return to the time before World
War II, when we designed communities built around people, not automobiles.
Most landscape architects are familiar with Smart Growth
principles, and the more we know about the digital tools available that can
help implement these principles, the better.
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