Smart Growth @ 20 Event Poses Strategies to Match Sustainable Growth with 21st Century Challenges
Governor Larry Hogan joined state representatives, stakeholders and national experts in smart growth practice last month to examine current smart growth policies for Maryland and strategies for bringing them into the 21 st century. Hosted by the National Center for Smart Growth, Smart Growth @ 20 reflected on how smart growth has performed over the past twenty years and began a new conversation about smart and sustainable development for the next two decades, addressing some of the state’s most pressing issues, including climate change, social equity, energy conservation, economic restructuring and technological innovation.
Governor Hogan kicked off the event by presenting a proclamation honoring the work of the National Center for Smart Growth and others in forwarding sustainable growth policies throughout the state, 20 years after a landmark strategy was set in motion to stem the tide of urban and suburban sprawl in Maryland. The Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Acts, signed by Governor Parris Glendening in 1997, aimed to create compact, mixed use and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods while boosting environmental conservation. As Maryland confronts the new challenges of the 21st century, smart growth is more a part of the conversation than ever, but the definition of what is considered “smart” has expanded significantly.
“Twenty years ago, we put NCSG on the map with our fervent resolve to work with stakeholders across the state to create thriving, equitable, sustainable communities,” says Knaap. “While those principles still hold true, the goal posts have moved. It’s important that our policies are meeting both our long-standing and new priorities in sustainable growth.”
Hogan was joined by former Governor Parris Glendening, Salisbury mayor and UMD alumnus Jake Day, Texas A&M Professor Phil Berke and numerous smart growth experts and stakeholders. All attendees were hosted at the Maryland State House, and sponsored by Delegate Steve Lafferty, the Maryland Building Industry Alliance, the Town Creek Foundation, NAIOP Maryland and 1000 Friends of Maryland.
The event took place just one day after the release of a landmark report by the NCSG for their project, Prospects for Regional Sustainability Tomorrow (PRESTO). The report outlined four potential future scenarios for the Baltimore Washington region and reveals how regional responses to large-scale, uncertain phenomena—such as autonomous vehicles, high fuel prices and government regulation—could impact sustainability and quality of life. It is the first time Regionally, it is the first time that economic, land use and transportation drivers have been connected to environmental and equity outcomes, connecting the dots between commute times and greenhouse gas emissions or housing trends and nutrient loading.
Read more about PRESTO here
The conversation on sustainable communities continues later this month as the NCSG and the Montgomery County Planning Department kick off their fourth Makeover Montgomery Conference on May 9th, bringing some of the best minds in new technology, economics, social science, architecture, development and sustainability together to discuss what some are calling the “transformation” of the American suburb. Sessions will discuss strategies and ideas around a number of smart growth topics congruent with the new 21 st century definition, including job growth and emerging markets, smart technologies and diverse and walkable communities.