Grow Smart Rhode Island
Smart Growth e-Briefs
News and Tools for People Shaping Our Communities February 2005

Smart Growth in Action
Learn why this Woonsocket housing development won a prestigious federal housing award

What's your favorite image of smart growth?


Grow Smart Board of Directors

Michael F. Ryan

Chairman of the Board

Susan Arnold
William Baldwin
S. James Busam
Joseph Caffey
Robert L. Carothers
Arnold Chace
Jen Cookke
Trudy Coxe
Peter Damon
Louise Durfee
Stephen J. Farrell
Thomas E. Freeman
J. Joseph Garrahy
John R. Gowell, Jr.
Stephen Hamblett
Robert Harding
Michael S. Hudner
Stanley J. Kanter
Howard M. Kilguss
Thomas A. Lawson
Dennis Langley
James Leach
Frederick Lippitt
Roger Mandle
Rev. James C. Miller
Thomas V. Moses
George Nee
B. Michael Rauh, Jr.
Gary Sasse
Richard Schartner
Deming Sherman
Merrill Sherman
Curt Spalding
James F. Twaddell
Ranne Warner
Sandra Whitehouse
Frederick C. Williamson
W. Edward Wood

Board Listing with Affilliation


Scott Wolf

Executive Director

Sheila Brush

Director of Programs

John Flaherty

Director of Research & Communications

Lynn Burns

Office Manager / Executive Assistant

Dorothy Dauray

Office Assistant

Linsey Cameron

Research Assistant

Looking for a past issue?

Dear John,

You're among the 2,242 opinion leaders, state & local officials, development professionals, journalists and visionary citizens getting the latest news, happenings and trends in the smart growth movement from Grow Smart Rhode Island.

  • Governor acts to boost statewide planning
  • Consistent with a suggestion by Grow Smart in its 2004 Candidates' Briefing Book, Governor Carcieri announced this month that he is elevating the Planning function to Division status within the Department of Administration. This division will include the Offices of Statewide and Strategic Planning, and the new Office of Housing and Community Development.

    The move, recommended by the Governor's Fiscal Fitness team, is expected to increase the influence of sound planning in state and local decision making by linking planning experts more closely with the Governor's Office, directors of other state departments, local governments and the public, according to Grow Smart Executive Director Scott Wolf.

    Read the Governor's press release

  • Study predicts surge in need for more buildings
  • New national study reveals that RI will need almost 124,000 new housing units and 3 million new square feet of commercial and industrial space by 2030

    Residential and commercial development in the next quarter century will eclipse anything seen in previous generations as the nation moves to accommodate rapid population growth, according to a new Brookings Institution report. The report projects that Rhode Island will need almost 124,000 new housing units by 2030, translating into an average annual production rate of 4,100 - nearly twice the current rate.

    These new projections heighten the importance of creating more compact and walkable living and working environments. The question for policy makers, planners and ordinary citizens is this: Should we maintain the status quo in terms of development patterns, or can we envision a more efficient and livable pattern of growth? There may be no better time than now to plan the shape of Rhode Island's future.

    More on the Brookings report

  • Coventry students take to town planning
  • Under the direction of social studies teacher Ted Mitchell, students at the Knotty Oak Middle School wrapped up a 6-week town planning project by presenting their findings to members of the Coventry Town Council and Planning Board. Town Council Vice President Richard Senetti said the group was not only impressed with the students' creative vision, but also their intuition. He said the Town Council had been discussing at least three of the issues raised by the students within the last 36 hours.

    Using the town's Comprehensive Plan, the seventh graders mapped out solutions for issues such as growth, traffic, economic development, vacant mill space, recreation and future school needs. "They actually developed a lot of creative ideas that were discussed as part of a presentation by Grow Smart staffer John Flaherty earlier in the year", according to Mitchell.

    Kent County Times article (2/2)

  • REALTORS®: Schools and Smart Growth
  • It's no secret that schools are a vital part of a community's health. And REALTORS® know all too well the connection between school quality, home-buying decisions and the consequences for cities and towns. In fact, the fiscal consequences are causing many states and communities to reconsider school funding methods.

    Schools also are an important part of the Smart Growth puzzle. School siting decisions, for example can greatly affect land use development and transportation patterns as well as the cost of providing education. These and many other current issues related to schools are discussed in this issue of On Common Ground, a publication of the National Association of REALTORS®

    Browse more school development resources in our "Toolbox"

  • Promenade to come alive with new apartments
  • A product of the statewide Historic Preservation Investment Tax Credit program, The Promenade is poised to bring new life and 24/7 activity to a long-vacant portion of the former Brown & Sharpe manufacturing facility west of the Providence Place Mall. The 220 apartments will compliment the adjacent 220,000 sf Foundry Corporate Office Center which is now 99.5% occupied.

    Developed by The Foundry Associates, the loft-style apartments will be completed this Spring.

    Visit their website

  • Your home for a Wal-Mart?
  • On February 22, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that may decide if your municipality is entitled to bulldoze your home to make way for a major development such as a Wal-Mart.

    Although the the U.S. Constitution requires that private property be seized only for "public use", local governments around the nation are increasingly invoking the power of eminent domain in the name of economic development - often on behalf of big box stores and, as in the case of Kelo vs. City of New London, corporations like pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

    - Read More

  • Tapping federal grants to promote heritage tourism
  • New guide to using CDBG grants for historic preservation and heritage tourism in your community

    Communities across America are searching for ways to improve their local economies, enhance their quality of life and revitalize their neighborhoods while preserving their cultural and natural heritage. Historic preservation and heritage tourism are two prominent economic and community development strategies.

    This 12-page guide from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development details how communities can utilize Community Development Block Grant funds (CDBG) to promote historic preservation and heritage tourism in their own cities and towns. The success of this program, however, may be affected by the President's budget proposal to reduce CDBG funding.

    - Download the guide (pdf)

  • Friday, March 4 (8:30a-3:30p)

    The RI Natural History Survey's conferences provide environmental and life scientists, as well as the public, with a forum to discuss key issues related to the state's biota and habitats.

    Saturday, March 12 (8:30a-3:30p)

    Sponsored by the RI Land Trust Council, the RI Rivers Council and the RI Association of Conservation Commissions
    URI Memorial Union, Kingston Campus

    March 15-17

    The Practice of Sustainability: Art/Science/Business
    Over 1300 professionals in the fields of renewable energy, green building, sustainable land use, integrative design, green business, and policy will gather together to share ideas, information, resources, and inspiration.
    Seaport World Trade Center
    Boston, MA

    Saturday, April 23 (8:30a-6:00p)

    This year's conference theme is "Preserving Historic Houses of Worship." There will be 24 different walking tours; discussion panels; lectures; and workshops, as well as presentation of the 2005 State Preservation Awards.

    * submissions for calendar items may be emailed to John Flaherty.

  • Citizens press Congress to extend Heritage Corridor
  • As the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor faces a legislative sunset in November 2006, a nonprofit friends group is advocating its reauthorization.

    The CorridorKeepers is mobilizing citizens and other partners throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts in a grassroots campaign to demonstrate how the federal commission has helped improve the region's quality of life while building partnerships to preserve its rich heritage.

    Find out how you can add your voice

  • Growth and development issues in the news
  • Burrillville


    East Greenwich




    Newport County

    North Providence

    North Smithfield


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