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Visualizing the Potential of Smart Growth

NRDC has developed a fabulous visual tool showing how 70  sprawling or desolate urban areas could be converted into pleasant and lovable neighborhoods. The tool shows pictures of sites that step-by-step are converted from sprawl, vacant property or disinvestment into lively, beautiful neighborhoods with parks, plazas, bike lanes, walkable retail and housing and other pleasant features. The scenarios involving “From Wasted Space to Gathering Place” and “Light Rail, Right Time” show particularly the value of creating public spaces and parks within walkable, transit accessible communities, and may be of great interest to parks people.

According to NRDC:

Sprawling land development is devouring the American countryside at an alarming rate of 365 acres an hour, turning open land into a network of strip malls, anonymous suburbs and traffic-clogged roads. Being forced to drive everywhere contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and the warming of our planet. But some communities are choosing to develop differently, creating a more pleasing mix of homes, stores and offices and giving their residents an alternative to the car. Smart growth is about returning to the principles that once made America’s big cities and small towns great places to live.

This is a great tool in showing the potential of smart growth.

2 Responses

  1. Thanks so much for the mention of NRDC’s new web feature. And I love your post from yesterday, too – keep up the great work.

  2. This is a really powerful visual demonstration. There is another similar demonstration done – http://www.urban-advantage.com/ -that illustrates these same benefits. If only we could sell everybody on the fact that this could be possible.

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