Smart Growth, Responsible Growth

The terms "smart growth" and "responsible growth" are interchangeable. They refer to a set of policies and laws that attempt to manage the use of land and the growth of residential, commercial, and industrial development. Common goals of "smart growth" policies are to develop higher density, transit-oriented, walkable communities in urban areas, avoiding less dense, auto-dependent, suburban type development. Advocates for some of the more extreme of these proposals, such as 1,000 Friends of CT, have stated that not one more housing unit should be built in CT outside our urban centers.

However, the land use issues involved in smart-growth debates are far from new. Growth management policies, and their arguments pro and con, have been in existence for many decades, indeed for a century going back to the beginnings of zoning.

Here, we present some alternative views that may not sit well with smart-growth proponents yet nonetheless represent the views of most of our organization, and we believe a wide majority of citizens in Connecticut. We welcome constructive discussion on any of these topics.


The Triumph of Suburbia - article by Joel Kotkin, New Geography (4-29-13); Excerpt: "... A funny thing happened on the way to the long-trumpeted triumph of the city: the suburbs not only survived but have begun to regain their allure as Americans have continued aspiring to single-family homes."

Is Suburbia Doomed? Not So Fast - article by Joel Kotkin, New Geography (11-30-11); Excerpt: "... Perhaps no theology more grips the nation’s mainstream media — and the planning community — more than the notion of inevitable suburban decline. .... Yet repeating a mantra incessantly does not make it true."

CT Partnership for Balanced Growth - see YouTube video on what CPBG is about; providing answers that are truly smart.

Smart Land Use, Growth & Tax Policies {this document is being updated and will be posted as soon as it's approved} - Our 25+ recommendations to fix Connecticut's land use permitting system. Prior versions have been provided to various legislative committees and task groups.

Smart Growth Myths - learn how "smart" growth and "responsible" growth are not necessarily so; Explore new, better "Balanced Growth" Principles to guide land use policy, plans and regulations.

Housing Affordability: Smart Growth Abuses Are Creating a "Rent Belt" of High-Cost Areas: Demonstrates how land use regulations are the primary culprit in causing high housing costs and housing affordability problems. One stated conclusion in this analysis: "To restore higher levels of eco­nomic growth, such areas will need to liberalize their land-use policies."

The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future.

Debunking Portland: The City That Doesn't Work (July 9, 2007): Portland, Oregon, held in high esteem by many "smart growth" advocates, is a great example of how not to plan.

War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life by Wendell Cox

A Desire Named Streetcar: How Federal Subsidies Encourage Wasteful Local Transit Systems, by Randall O'Toole, The Thoreau Institute

See the 2007 law on "responsible growth" - formerly called smart growth: On the last day of the session, June 6, 2007, a compromise amendment, supported by key legislative leaders from both parties and the Governor's office, was passed by both the House and Senate that addresses all HBRA concerns with both SB 1215 and HB 7090. See HBA Testimony on SB 1215, An Act Concerning Responsible Growth (an absurd proposal from 1,000 Friends of CT) and HBRA Testimony on SB 7090, An Act Concerning Responsible Growth (Governor Rell's proposal).

Vanishing Automobile Update #64 - Judging Portland by Intentions, Not Results - by Randal O'Toole, The Thoreau Institute

Vanishing Automobile Update #59 - Lies My Transit Lobbyist Told Me - by Randal O'Toole, The Thoreau Institute

Affordable Housing; How Smart Growth Increases Housing Unaffordability; Residential Growth Increases Quality of Life - a collection of short articles from Connecticut Builder, Summer 2006

Regulations and House Prices in Boston - Lessons for Connecticut?

HBRA Supports much of 2005 Smart Growth legislation, PA 05-205. We supported provisions that passed, opposed sections removed from original bill. This major smart growth bill establishes a new "priority funding areas” (PFA) program to shift more state money toward cities and inner suburban areas. The state budget office, OPM, will map these PFAs for legislative review and approval in 2006. The bill also requires local planning commissions to consider new growth management principles and revises the process for adopting and amending local plans of conservation and development ("PCD”). Sections of the original bill that were removed included a higher level of consistency between zoning regulations and a local PCD, greater consistency among local plans, regional plans and the state PCD, a complicated process for seeking changes to zoning boundaries or regulations that would have given planning commissions veto authority over zoning commissions, and a limitation on public hearings on subdivisions. Most provisions are effective on July 1, 2005; some PFA sections effective upon passage.

Where Should "Smart" People Live?

Statistical Smarts- How the "CT Metropatterns" Report Corrupts the Data About Growth

Transportation & Housing in CT: Economic Links & Policy Disconnects - (Oct. 2003)

Losing 50 Acres Per Hour = Efficient Use of Land When You Dig Into the Facts (Aug. 2001)

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