Smart Growth in Action: Fundamental Principles Series
Principle 2: Promote the health and vitality of Vermont communities through economic and residential growth that is targeted to compact, mixed use centers, including resort centers, at a scale convenient and accessible for pedestrians and appropriate for the community.
An important principle in smart growth planning and development is to include a mix of uses (residential, services, businesses and civic institutions) in close proximity. When implemented on-the-ground, this allows residents to work, play and access services all within walking, or biking distance of their homes or jobs. Walkable neighborhoods promote a healthy lifestyle and are a simple way for all citizens to contribute to the reduction in carbon emissions by driving less and increasing their community involvement.
Social interaction is at the heart of a healthy, vibrant community and building compact, mixed-use centers fosters the relationship between people and their environment. As you walk your child to school or bike or walk to work, you interact with both people and the built environment creating a heightened awareness of your surroundings that can have a positive impact on your neighborhood.
A mixed-use project could be in one building with a business or restaurant on the ground level with offices on the second floor and apartments on the third or fourth floor. Mixed use can also be planned for a city where commercial space, offices, services and different style homes (single and multi-family) are within easy walking distance (general rule of thumb 1/2 mile) of one another.
The creation of compact, mixed-use centers requires citizen participation in the planning process. Attending planning meetings, encouraging the revision of zoning to support infill development, and backing incentives for mixed-use projects are just a few of the ways you can get involved!
To learn more about compact, mixed-use centers and other principles of smart growth visit www.smartgrowthvermont.org.