Smart growth is about connecting people with the places where they live and work. The Alliance supports placemaking and zoning efforts around Massachusetts to help create:
- Public spaces that draw people together,
- Walkable neighborhoods that provide transportation choices,
- Strong, healthy communities with housing options for all residents, and
- Vibrant commercial spaces that spur healthy local economies.
Zoning Reform Campaign
One of the biggest obstacles to creating more great places in Massachusetts is local zoning. These laws guide how Massachusetts cities and towns use land for residential, commercial, and industrial uses. Many of these ordinances are outdated and prevent us from building any more of those special places—like town centers, urban squares, and villages—that have made New England unique.
- Statewide zoning reform to make development more predictable and help municipalities plan for future growth, specifically creating more neighborhoods with a mix of homes and businesses.
- More resources for local and regional planning, including: increased funding to help cities and towns across the state identify Priority Development Areas (PDAs) and Priority Preservation Areas (PPAs); local grants to support zoning changes; and expansion of technical assistance programs like Great Neighborhoods and Sustainable Communities.
- Make sure that the state coordinates its programs across agencies in order to make efficient use of our public dollars. The objective should be to create vibrant places that are attractive to people and investment.
- Good zoning is fundamental to healthy community design and our allies at the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) are also working to advance zoning reform.
- Zoning reform is one of the top three priorities of the Act FRESH Campaign spearheaded by the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA).
- See what our Great Neighborhoods partners are doing in their communities, and visit the website of Project for Public Spaces which helped train them.
- Read about these 28 smart growth projects around metropolitan Boston.
- There is a fundamental need for local zoning reforms to facilitate growth in core communities and discourage unchecked sprawl. Read these opinion pieces: “Time to get smart about growth” (PDF) “We need to grow smart” (PDF). See who supports zoning reform: Zoning Reform Support Letter (PDF)