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Smart Growth Strategies for Rural Communities

Full Resource: Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities

Source: ICMA

Authors: Nadejda Mishkovsky, and Matthew Dalbey and Stephanie Bertaina of EPA; and Anna Read and Tad McGalliard of ICMA

Both population growth and decline bring great challenges to rural communities across America.  Rural communities often struggle with maintaining a strong economy and distinct character, as well as with redeveloping their town to attract investments. “Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities” provides rural decision-makers with smart growth strategies that can be applied particularly to the rural context, especially in times of change. The report focuses on strategies that can help guide growth in rural areas based around supporting the rural landscape, helping existing places to thrive, and creating great new places. 

“Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities” addresses specific trends and challenges facing rural America today and offers strategies for confronting them—first addressing conserving land through approaches such as: policy, energy development, easements, agritourism, zoning, funding, and more.  Throughout the report, success stories are provided of rural communities applying the strategies.  The report then explains ways rural communities can invest in their infrastructure and downtowns to both preserve community destinations and create new ones—from improving streets and parks, to infill development, reuse, and rehabilitation. Lastly, the report describes the visioning and policy making involved in encouraging new places and businesses to bloom in a rural town.

This report is produced by the International City/County Management Association Center for Sustainable Communities, which aims to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build sustainable communities that improve people’s lives worldwide. 

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