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  • Photos (L to R): Farm in Washington; Port Washington, Wisconsin; Edwards, Colorado
  • Photos (Top to Bottom): Marshall Town, Iowa; Farming in Ohio 1939
  • Photos (Top to Bottom, L to R): Dallas County, Iowa; Dallas County, Iowa; Cabarrus County, North Carolina
  • Photos (Top to Bottom, L to R): Skaneateles, New York; Idaho Salmon Stream; Waitsfield, Vermont
  • Photo: Edwards, Colorado
  • Photo: Crested Butte, Colorado
  • Photo: Gold Hill, Colorado
  • Photo: Farmscape
  • Photo: Berlin, Maryland Fiddlers Festival
  • Photos (Top to Bottom, L to R): Staunton, Virginia; Corn in California; National Forest in Colorado
  • Photos (Top to Bottom, L to R): Carroll County, Maryland; Colorado Grasslands and Subdivisions; Burlington, Vermont


  • 1. Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities
    Megan McConville
    Solutions for Sustainable Communities
    September 26, 2011
    Edwards, Colorado
    Port Washington, Wisconsin
    Farm in Washington State
    Photo Credits (left to right): NRCS, EPA, Clark Anderson
  • 2. Historical Rural America
    Small towns in rural areas served the agriculture economy
    Were mixed use, compact, and walkable by necessity; had regional transportation connections (RR or river transport)
    Physical form varied by region
    Marshall Town, Iowa
    Photo Credits (top to bottom): Library of Congress, NRCS
  • 3. Challenges Facing Rural Communities
    • Fewer farms and farmers
    • 4. Loss of forest and other natural and working land
    • 5. Some communities are growing, some are shrinking
    • 6. Rapid growth at metro edges
    • 7. Shrinking population in some communities
    • 8. Limited access to jobs, services, and transportation
    • 9. Limited planning capacity
    Photo Credits (top to bottom, left to right): NRCS, NRCS, EPA
  • 10. Smart Growth: A Response to Rural Challenges
    Development that provides:
    Choices for where to live and how to get around
    A stronger, more resilient economy
    A safer, healthier place to live
    Opportunities to protect the things that you love about the place you live (farmland and open space, natural beauty, sense of community, etc.)
    Skaneateles, New York
    Waitsfield, Vermont
    Photo Credits (top to bottom, left to right): EPA, NRCS, EPA
  • 11. Edwards, Colorado
    Photo Credit: Clark Anderson
  • 12. Crested Butte, Colorado
    Photo Credit: Clark Anderson
  • 13. Gold Hill, Colorado
    Photo Credit: Charlier Associates, Inc.
  • 14. Photo Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • 15. Fiddlers Festival in Berlin, Maryland
    Photo Credit: Worcester County
  • 16. A New Publication:Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities
    Partnership between the U.S. EPA and ICMA – a Smart Growth Network publication
    Lays out a framework for rural communities and small towns seeking to implement smart growth
    Set of tools, case studies, and resources
  • 17. How to Grow and Maintain Rural Character:Three Broad Goals
    Support the rural landscape by creating an economic climate that enhances the viability of working lands and conserves natural lands.
    Help existing places thrive by taking care of assets and investments such as downtowns, Main Streets, existing infrastructure, and places that the community values.
    Create great new places by building vibrant, enduring neighborhoods and communities that people, especially young people, don’t want to leave.
    Staunton, Virginia
    National Forest in Colorado
    Photo Credit (top to bottom, left to right): EPA , NRCS, NRCS
  • 18. EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities: Working in Rural America
    • Provide technical assistance to communities and states
    • 19. Governors’ Institute workshops with rural focus: Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Iowa, and North Carolina
    • 20. Rural guidebooks:
    • 21. Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities
    • 22. Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Rural Planning, Development and Zoning Codes (upcoming)
    • 23. Smart Growth Achievement Awards: Rural development category
    • 24. Work with NGOs (NADO, NACo, etc.) and other rural stakeholders
    • 25. Partnering with HUD, DOT, USDA, ARC
    Photo Credits (top to bottom, left to right): NRCS, NRCS, EPA
  • 26. For More Information
    Photo Credit: NRCS
  • 27. The Livability Principles in the Rural Context
    • Enhance economic competitiveness.
    • 28. Leverage unique natural & land-based resources to raise rural standard of living.
    • 29. Support existing communities.
    • 30. Direct investment to towns, villages and historic Main Streets and preserve the surrounding landscape.
    • 31. Provide more transportation choices.
    • 32. Take advantage of towns’ compact, mixed-use designs and locations along major corridors to renew intra- and inter-community transportation options.
    • 33. Promote equitable, affordable housing.
    • 34. Revitalize & diversify aging housing stock to attract and retain residents at all stages of life.
    • 35. Value communities and neighborhoods.
    • 36. Conserve and build upon unique and historic features like downtowns, Main Streets, barns, and iconic rural landscapes.
    • 37. Coordinate policies and leverage investment.
    • 38. Federal investments are extremely influential, and must support community goals and be coordinated across agencies. Support communities’ efforts to plan/codify goals.
  • Partnership Grantees