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What does Smart Growth mean for Washington

Carl Guardino

Washington's economy is strong. Housing starts remain high. Our growth management laws began ten years ago to provide a framework for Smart Growth to happen.

What does Smart Growth Mean
Since 1994, most local governments have adopted 20-year growth plans. Cities, counties, and citizens have found new ways to work together on issues such as urban sprawl. They are trying to conserve farm and forests lands and revitalize downtowns. Development is being linked with having adequate roads, water, and other infrastructure.

Yet, not everyone shares in the economic prosperity. Infrastructure needs of our growing state are great and some areas have daunting traffic problems. Environmental issues also are of concern as we grow. For example, how and where we develop land affects water quality and the habitat for native fish. Other challenges include finding enough decent, affordable housing and making sure our communities are good places to live. Some Washington communities are using Smart Growth as a way to discuss growing pains and find solutions.