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What is Smart Growth?

What is smart growth?

Smart growth is a collection of land use and development principles that aim to enhance our quality of life, preserve the natural environment, and save money over time. Smart growth principles ensure that growth is fiscally, environmentally and socially responsible and recognizes the connections between development and quality of life. Smart growth enhances and completes communities by placing priority on infill, redevelopment, and green space protection.

In May 2010, CaGBC  announced that Smart Growth BC, its programs and brand have been acquired to ensure the ongoing legacy of a very successful provincial program.

The announcement was the beginning of a national approach to supporting a Smart Growth Canada Program that combines the provincial success of Smart Growth BC with the national network of CaGBC. Smart Growth BC has helped the Province to lead Canada in the adoption of better urban development practices and will now be a significant component to support smart growth from coast to coast by the CaGBC.

Moving forward the CaGBC will establish a steering committee to guide the delivery of a national program including the Smart Growth products and a range of green building and community development tools. During the development and transition please continue to use and benefit from the existing smart growth tools found at

The 10 smart growth principles are:

  1. Mix land uses. Each neighbourhood has a mixture of homes, retail, business, and recreational opportunities.
  2. Build well-designed compact neighbourhoods. Residents can choose to live, work, shop and play in close proximity. People can easily access daily activities, transit is viable, and local businesses are supported.
  3. Provide a variety of transportation choices. Neighbourhoods are attractive and have safe infrastructure for walking, cycling and transit, in addition to driving.
  4. Create diverse housing opportunities. People in different family types, life stages and income levels can afford a home in the neighbourhood of their choice.
  5. Encourage growth in existing communities. Investments in infrastructure (such as roads and schools) are used efficiently, and developments do not take up new land.
  6. Preserve open spaces, natural beauty, and environmentally sensitive areas. Development respects natural landscape features and has higher aesthetic, environmental, and financial value.
  7. Protect and enhance agricultural lands. A secure and productive land base, such as BC's Agricultural Land Reserve, provides food security, employment, and habitat, and is maintained as an urban containment boundary.
  8. Utilize smarter, and cheaper infrastructure and green buildings. Green buildings and other systems can save both money and the environment in the long run.
  9. Foster a unique neighbourhood identity. Each community is unique, vibrant, diverse, and inclusive.
  10. Nurture engaged citizens. Places belong to those who live, work, and play there. Engaged citizens participate in community life and decision-making.
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