Smart Growth America

In December of 2014, the City of Alcoa and the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) were one of 14 communities nationwide selected from a pool of over 120 applications by Smart Growth America to participate in their free, grant-funded technical assistance program. Stretching from Florida to Washington State, these 14 communities represent major cities, suburban centers, and rural towns alike.

Alcoa Involvement

What did this opportunity mean for Alcoa? City of Alcoa officials, TPO staff and community members met with a team from Smart Growth America on September 1 and 2, 2015 to learn more about innovative zoning. The visit provided local citizens and planners with tools and techniques to begin creating a vision for Alcoa’s future growth. The team illustrated how shifting development patterns towards more compact, walkable forms can boost the local economy and reduce public spending on infrastructure.

During the first day, the team went on a regional tour of mostly mixed use types of developments led by Alcoa and TPO staff. An evening presentation concluded the first day. City of Alcoa residents and everyone throughout the region were invited. The presentation included a menu of simple changes that local governments can make to their zoning codes to promote smart growth tailored for small cities and rural areas. An in-depth workshop was held the following day for joint staff and local development professionals.

Program Background

The program is made possible through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant to Smart Growth America from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities. It seeks to develop local planning solutions that help communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses, while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place. Two other nonprofit organizations-Project for Public Spaces and Global Green-currently have active grants under this program to help communities get the kinds of development they want.

As a national leader in the field, Smart Growth America has accumulated extensive experience working with communities to help them use land strategically, make the most of existing resources and invest strategically to catalyze private development. Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. For additional information visit the Smart Growth America Website.