Smart Growth e-Briefs
Back-to-School Special Edition September 2005

Image of the Month
Smart Traveler
Shaquania Andrades, an eager-to-learn third-grader, arrives by bike at the B.F. Norton Elementary School
in the Valley Falls section of
Cumberland, RI.
The school, originally built in 1890, underwent a complete reconstruction in 1994.


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
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
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

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Grow Smart Staff

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

Dear John,

You're among the 2,675 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.

  • State urges school districts to plan smarter
  • RI Department of Education promotes 'Smart Growth' principles in school facility planning guidelines

    As a new school year gets underway, communities applying for school construction aid in Rhode Island will find a new emphasis on building guidelines that promote smart growth concepts and that ask school districts to consider the impact of sprawl in planning for school space needs.

    These guidelines, which encourage renovation of existing facilities where feasible and the siting of new schools away from remote locations and closer to neighborhoods where more children can walk, were originally adopted in 2002 following a recommendation of the Governor's Growth Planning Council. [More]

    Read the related editorial by the Providence Journal - 9/14

  • New publication helps communities plan smarter
  • Schools for Successful Communities: An Element of Smart Growth explains why and how communities can employ smart growth planning principles to build schools that better serve and support students, staff, parents, and the entire community.

    When school districts collaborate with community leaders to find a location for a school, the community benefits socially, environmentally, and economically. This booklet, published by the Council for Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) and the U.S. EPA, helps communities invest in schools that will give children the best possible education, use taxpayer dollars wisely, and improve the quality of life for all citizens.

    Click here to find out how to get a free copy

  • FEDs to help pay for sidewalks, paths, traffic calming
  • New program will pay 90% of project costs to improve safety near schools

    As part of the far-reaching federal transportation spending package approved by Congress and signed by the President on August 10, 2005, the new federal Safe Routes to School Program aims to invest $612 million over five years to improve the safety of children walking or bicycling to school. The program will be administered locally by RIDOT.

    According to AmericaBikes.org, the number of children walking or bicycling to school has declined dramatically in recent decades, increasing school busing costs as well as traffic congestion. Public health officials say children need to get more physical activity: since the 1970s, the percentage of obese children 6 to 11 years old has tripled. At the same time, motor vehicles are the leading cause of death among children 4 to 14 years old. [More]

  • Wolf helps guide merger of 2 national smart growth groups
  • As President of the Washington, DC based Growth Management Leadership Alliance (GMLA), Grow Smart Rhode Island Executive Director Scott Wolf recently sealed an agreement to merge the GMLA with Smart Growth America.

    GMLA has served as the professional association for state and regional organizations that carry out programs to directly shape and implement smart growth policies and actions in the United States and Canada. Smart Growth America is a coalition of some of the best-known national and statewide organizations advocating on behalf of historic preservation, the environment, farmland and open space preservation, neighborhood revitalization and more.

    According to Wolf, "The merger will strengthen the smart growth movement by linking national resources more closely with the drive for policy reform at the state and local levels."

  • Higher Density Development: Myth & Fact
  • No one likes sprawl and the traffic congestion it creates; yet proposals for increasing density in new and existing neighborhoods are often squashed by community fears of public housing, crime, and ugly high-rises. Higher Density Myth and Fact dispels these negative stereotypes, by comparing the advantages and drawbacks of higher and low-density development.

    Published by the Urban Land Institute, the report examines eight widespread misconceptions about higher-density development and dispels them with well-researched facts and examples of quality, compact developments.

    Available in packets of 10 for $19.95 from the ULI bookstore.

    Grow Smart Rhode Island will provide a FREE copy to the first ten people that request one. Email us to request a free copy.

  • New Urbanism for New England?
  • Tools for Planners, Developers and Architects

    Many New Englanders respond to New Urbanism by exclaiming, “Who needs New Urbanism? We have authentic old urbanism!” Unfortunately, our treasured urbanism is no longer sufficient. Our cities, villages, hamlets and countryside are under attack by development and code trends of the last 50 years that debase the very places we treasure.

    This article, by town and building design consultant Bill Dennis, reviews the misunderstandings about what New Urbanism is (only for the rich, only about porches, all about artificial exclusive and upper middle-class gated communities, just for greenfields, not practical, won’t work here because we’re different, etc.). [More]

    Congress on New Urbanism - New England Chapter

  • Form Based Codes: Implementing Smart Growth
  • New 8-page Fact Sheet from the Local Government Commission

    Form-based codes have become an increasingly popular approach to reforming zoning codes and creating communities where people want to live, work and play. Form-Based Codes: Implementing Smart Growth from the Local Government Commission is an eight-page fact sheet that discusses this innovative approach to regulating development and includes case studies and tips for preparing and administering a form-based code.

    This publication provides a quick definition of form-based codes and provides examples of why such codes are effective. Steps for how a community can prepare a form-based code are provided, along with examples of form-based codes from other communities. [More]

    Download the Fact Sheet (8 pages/3.9mb)

  • Wednesday, September 21

    Thursday, September 22
    (5:00p - 8:30p)
    Presented by Grow Smart and other partnering organizations, these workshops are intended to help municipal officials understand the purpose of housing trust funds and community housing land trusts. Registration and supper are complimentary. Registration is required by COB on Monday, 9/19.
    Warwick and Newport

    October 3-7

    Gives children, parents, school teachers and community leaders an opportunity to be part of a global event as they celebrate the many benefits of walking. In 2004, approximately 3 million walkers from 36 countries walked to school together for various reasons – all hoping to create communities that are safe places to walk.

    Friday, October 14

    Conference: November 9-10, 2005. Workshops include Placemaking in New England, Form-Based Codes, Housing Affordability, Using TDR to Manage Growth and Preserve Open Space, Planning for Successful Mill Reuse in Your Town, Smart Growth Planning, Rural / Suburban Transit-Oriented Development.

  • Job Postings
  • Grow Smart is pleased to introduce a new service beginning this month. On a space available basis, we will post positions related to smart growth and land use.

    The service will be available on a complimentary basis for a trial period. Organizations interested in posting a job opening must provide a link to further information. Email your listing to us

  • Growth and development in the news
  • National



    Block Island












    North Smithfield




    Arts district gains more ground



    South Kingstown





    West Greenwich

    West Warwick


    Worcester, MA

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