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American Society of Landscape Architects


December 2006 Issue

The Technology Behind Smart Growth
Implementing Smart Growth principles is easier with high-tech tools.

By James L. Sipes, ASLA

The Technology Behind Smart Growth. (c) Caliper Corporation,

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 automobiles.

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.

…To read the entire article, subscribe to LAM!

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