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What is smart growth?

Communities use smart growth to ensure economic growth without sacrificing the safety of the environment.

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon, located at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, connects city growthand the health of its rivers. In addition to efforts to build compactly within existing neighborhoods, Portland has created green infrastructure policies that support compact design. Its comprehensive Metropolitan Greenspaces Program acquires natural areas and trails to give people places for recreation while protecting the city's water quality, floodplains, and fish and wildlife habitat.

Smart growth is a way of approaching community development and expansion with the goal of making them “more livable, more economically efficient, and more effective at meeting the needs of the people who live there.”

Smart growth encourages building communities that are easily walkable while also providing a range of other transportation options. Houses are built to be attractive and affordable using compact, energy efficient designs. These tenets, as well as an overall goal of environmental respect and preservation guide smart growth community building.

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Last updated: 01/20/23
Author: NOAA
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