Golden State urged to 'Smarten' up

September 30, 2002

ULI coalition proposes local, state actions for the improvement of urban growth patterns

Inman News Features

A coalition organized by the Urban Land Institute has issued a set of recommendations that aim to improve the economic and social well being of California's communities through better or "smart" growth patterns.

The report is the culmination of 18 months of analysis designed to find ways to curb haphazard, ill-planned sprawling development, and promote development that more closely links housing to jobs and preserves open space, according to ULI.

The committee's recommendations are divided into two categories: economic incentives for local government and state regulatory reforms.

Under the local incentives proposal, financial assistance, such as forgivable loans and grants, would be provided to localities meeting specific criteria, such as the encouragement of housing development, promotion of transportation choices, promotion of infill development, encouragement of mixed land use and preservation of open space. Localities meeting smart growth guidelines would receive priority in obtaining future state infrastructure funds, and the program would establish economic incentive strategies to encourage linking transportation and land use decisions.

The state regulatory reform proposal recommends better coordination between state laws that guide development and conservation activities at the local level, and recommends revising the laws so they more effectively promote smart growth. For example, the committee recommended modifying the state environmental quality law to reduce barriers to smart growth development, including the elimination of obstacles to brownfields redevelopment.

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members that aims to provide responsible leadership in the use of land in order to enhance the total environment.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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