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Learn About Smart Growth


How individual communities plan for and manage land use and development will determine Vermont’s economic, social, and environmental well-being.  The state’s distinctive sense of place is largely the result of its cultural and economic heritage. This heritage created, and maintained, the state’s historic landscape of compact cities and villages surrounded by working farms and forests. Unfortunately, this landscape is being incrementally lost to a pattern of unplanned, inefficient development.  The result is that our farms, forests, and open spaces are being replaced by strip malls and residential subdivisions scattered far outside of our traditional community centers.

At Smart Growth Vermont, we believe that for Vermont to grow and thrive we need to carefully integrate growth, environmental protection and economic opportunities into our local planning framework.  This will require the participation of citizens, local and state officials, developers, business leaders and non-profit organizations.  Our future depends on careful analysis, dialogue, cooperation, and leadership.

This section of our website provides information to help you understand the history of land use in Vermont as well as various settlement patterns that we see in the state.  There is information on historic land use trends in Vermont as well as an overview of our downtowns and village centers and the surrounding rural countryside.  There is an overview of two competing settlement patterns: smart growth and sprawl.  We identify the adverse impacts of sprawl as well as the principles and benefits of smart growth.  We also let you know your fellow Vermonter’s opinions with the result of the annual Vermonter Poll.

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