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Success Stories

Integrated Land Use Strategies 
Growth Control Strategies 
Agricultural Land Protection
Brownfield Development
Open Space Protection
Collections of Land Use Success Stories

Integrated Land Use Strategies 

Cool Cities -- Michigan
The Cool Cities initiative launched by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is an urban redevelopment endeavor aimed at attracting creative young workers to the state's cities. A series of forums throughout the state--and an online survey--collected input on ways to revitalize cities, strengthen the economy, and make Michigan a magnet state for new job creation and business expansion.

Learning Corridor -- Hartford, Connecticut
Trinity College helped turn around the decline of its neighborhood by building a $175-million "Learning Corridor," according to a piece for the Elm Street Writers Group. The development combines a neighborhood school, job training facility, playing fields and open space to revitalize what had been an urban area in serious decline. The "Learning Corridor" has become a model for other communities that want to avoid "school sprawl" that pushes neighborhood schools to suburbs accessible only by car.

Carlsbad, California
In 2001, the City of Carlsbad created formal policies and a comprehensive program addressing livable streets and neighborhoods. The program includes four components: livable streets, traffic calming, planned development, and neighborhood design standards. The City of Carlsbad published a number of "Avenues" documents (PDF) in 2002, explaining the City's approach and policies on various issues, including smart growth, open space, and growth management.

Civano – Tucson, Arizona
An 820-acre traditional neighborhood development designed to promote economic growth while maintaining important social values and ecological harmony. Civano buildings use the best available technology to reduce energy and water demands. The project also focuses on land-use planning and sustainable transportation design. Also see Civano Sustainable Community Project

Stapleton Development Corporation – Boulder, Colorado
Profiles the redevelopment of the former Stapleton International Airport site, near Denver. The project involves constructing a community of urban villages, employment centers, and greenways that focus on sustainability, environmental preservation, and economic and social development.

Village Homes Sustainable Community – Davis, California 
Discusses a 68-acre model development which includes community gardens and greenways in an innovative, sustainable design. 

Jackson Meadow – Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota
Details this new 64-home residential development focusing on ecological land use. Jackson Meadow has a "commitment to create a sustainable environment that respects the unique nature of this special place." The development is combined with more than 100 acres of open space for people and wildlife, and includes a communally constructed wetlands, and natural ponding for water filtration and runoff.

Lake Tahoe Regional Plan – Lake Tahoe, Nevada 
Describes the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s measures to manage land use, development density, rate of urban growth, percentage of land coverage, and excavation activities. 

Grand Valley Metropolitan Council – Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Valley Metropolitan Council (GVMC) is an alliance of governmental units in the Grand Rapids, Michigan metropolitan area that are appointed to plan for growth and development, improve the quality of community life, and coordinate governmental services. Through joint planning they coordinate land use planning with transportation and other systems.

The Vail Environmental Strategic Plan – Vail, Colorado 
Describes a program that was adopted to maintain and improve environmental quality in the Vail Valley and to ensure the prolonged economic health of the region.  Efforts include monitoring and improving air and water quality, preserving open space, and protecting the area’s natural wildlife. 

Haymount Town Development – Haymount, Virginia
Explains a new development that focuses on New Urbanism, a form of planning that puts pedestrians first and focuses on "recapturing the street as a part of the public realm." Only one-third of the 1,650-acre site will be developed; the rest will remain as forested lands, wetlands, and farming areas.

Growth Control Strategies 

Manchester Planning and Zoning Program – Manchester, Vermont 
Describes a program to avoid urban sprawl and sustainably manage development. 

Town of Dunn Land Use Plan – McFarland, Wisconsin 
Profiles a land use plan for growth management through zoning restrictions, lot size limits, conservation easements, and the purchase of development rights. 

Growth Management Plan – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
Describes a comprehensive open-space preservation plan in Philadelphia. 

Theory in Action – San Francisco Bay Area
This online publication from the Association of Bay Area Governments profiles smart growth case studies.

Pennsylvania Growing Smarter – Pennsylvania
In support of the Growing Smarter initiative, the Governor's Center for Local Government Services offers technical and financial assistance to encourage sound land management practices. An online library offers a clearinghouse of land use regulations and plans.

Agricultural Land Protection 

Bureau of Farmland Preservation – State of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of farms and acres of farmland protected. Counties work with the State in this successful program.

Farmland Preservation – Ashfield, Massachusetts 
Profiles the Franklin Land Trust’s efforts and accomplishments in preserving farmland in New England. 

American Farmland Trust – Regional Offices
The regional offices of American Farmland Trust offer a variety of publications, tours and other events that highlight successful farmland preservation activities.

Brownfield Development 

New Jersey Enacts New Brownfields Law 
Describes the perceived benefits of New Jersey's new brownfield redevelopment law. 

Brownfield Case Studies – Carnegie Mellon University's Brownfield Project
Provides links to Brownfield case studies conducted by Carnegie Mellon University. 

Brownfield Success Stories 
A publication from the Northeast-Midwest Institute profiles success stories from Akron, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fort Collins, Colorado; Mesa, Arizona; and Meadville, Pennsylvania in overcoming challenges encountered, and creative solutions sought by communities facing brownfields blight. 

Brownfields Success Stories – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA's Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative reports the successes from a number of specialized brownfields-related pilot programs. 

Open Space Protection 

Community Greens – Arlington, VA
Promotes more urbane, livable cities through the creation of parks that are collectively owned and managed by the neighbors whose homes and backyards, decks, patios, and balconies enclose the green. According to Community Greens, such parks have multiple benefits: "accessible and safe play spaces for children, community building, increased safety and security and property values, and a prime antidote to sprawl by making city living more attractive, especially to families with children."

Metropolitan Philadelphia Sustainability Plan – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
Describes Philadelphia’s sustainability plan, which emphasizes the preservation of open space. 

Trust for Public Land – Local Programs
Trust for Public Land's website contains descriptions of state and regional conservation programs from acoss the nation, in which TPL has helped agencies and communities protect more than a million acres in 45 states.

Collections of Land Use Success Stories 

Washington Smart Growth Alliance Recognition Program
Recognition helps projects consistent with smart growth principles get approved, by highlighting the merits these projects would bring to a community and the region.

Utne's 10 Most Enlightened Suburbs
Compiled by author Peter Katz and Utne editor Jay Walljasper, this list represents communities that manifest civic spirit and livability.

National Award for Smart Growth Achievement
Winners of EPA's 2004 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement are briefly profiled. Winners from 2003 are also featured online.

Placemaker Profiles
A special website from the Project for Public Spaces highlights the careers and achievements of individuals who have captured people's imagination about creating great places in every community.

Solving Sprawl
This November 2001 book from Natural Resources Defense Council offers 35 real-world stories, about how people in cities, suburbs, and rural areas have found profitable, community-oriented alternatives to sprawl. Online excerpts include profiles from Dallas, Texas, Hillsboro, Oregon, and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Megalinks to success stories on other sites 
Provides links to success stories on a wide variety of sustainable development topics, including Land Use Planning.

Last updated: February 10, 2005

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