International City/County Management Association (ICMA) has released a new report, “Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities,” which focuses on how to adapt smart growth strategies to rural communities. Funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities, the report examines the challenges rural communities face, including rapid growth at metropolitan edges, declining rural populations, and the loss of working lands. It highlights smart growth strategies that can help guide rural growth while preserving the unique rural character of existing communities. It also highlights three central goals: 1) support the rural landscape by creating an economic climate that enhances the viability of working lands and conserves natural lands; 2) help existing places to thrive by taking care of assets and investments such as downtowns, Main Streets, existing infrastructure, and places that the community values; and 3) create great new places by building vibrant, enduring neighborhoods and communities that people, especially young people, don’t want to leave.
Innovative Practices & Partnerships,