The decisions we make when choosing the locations for homes, office buildings, roads and other development have long-term repercussions for the natural environment. Smart growth development decisions can mean better air, water and land quality, and development decisions that protect the environment help families, businesses and whole communities thrive.
Smart growth strategies protect air quality.
Building stores, schools, and workplaces near residential neighborhoods means shorter trips between each, and shorter distances driven mean cleaner air in our neighborhoods and lower greenhouse gas emissions on our planet. Buses, trains and car sharing not only help get cars off the road but reduce traffic congestion as well.
Smart growth strategies protect water quality.
Smart growth development requires less pavement per home built, a practice which allows rainwater to soak into the earth as it falls and prevents environmentally-damaging stormwater runoff. Smart growth’s air quality benefits, mentioned above, protect water quality as well: by reducing pollution that goes into our air, smart growth also prevents it from falling into our water as rain.
Smart growth strategies protect natural habitats.
Paving wild land is often easier and cheaper than reusing existing development, but building on undeveloped land destroys wildlife habitat. Encouraging reuse of existing development not only preserves these valuable environmental areas, it also benefits local economies by raising property values and property tax revenues.