Smart Growth for Colorado
Colorado Environmental Coalition is dedicated to working towards balanced policy solutions that will enable our communities to grow and prosper without sacrificing the quality of life we love in Colorado. To accomplish this goal, local leaders, elected officials, and people from all walks of life must come together to support smart development patterns, policies and design that get us out of our cars and into our communities and help create a future for Colorado that fosters vibrant neighborhoods, protects open space and rural landscapes, and limits urban sprawl.
Historical development patterns in Colorado have created sprawling urbanized areas in many areas around the state. Conservationists, elected officials, and planning professionals are working together to try and reverse this trend, and encourage "smart growth" policies as a more environmentally and economically sustainable alternative. By focusing development in already built-up areas, smart growth preserves rapidly vanishing natural landscapes and buffers between communities, while maximizing investments in transportation, schools, libraries, emergency services, and other public infrastructure and services, reducing taxpayer costs.
Increased focus on and funding for public transit, pedestrian and bike access, and alternative fuel vehicles is needed to help the state move forward in solving our transportation challenges, while doing what is best for the state’s economy. Smart growth’s emphasis on mixing land uses, clustering development, and providing multiple transportation choices helps to easecongestion, reduce pollution, save energy, promote more vibrant communities, and increase mobility.
A central goal of any smart growth plan is the quality of the communities where we live -- they should be safe, convenient, attractive, and affordable. The most vibrant neighborhoods are ones that are pedestrian friendly, provide a range of transportation alternatives, and contain a mix of housing, commercial and retail uses that meet the needs of a diversity of income levels. Careful planning and public involvement can help bring all these elements together.
An important element of smart growth is making the built environment –- the buildings that serve as our homes, offices and businesses –- as environmentally sustainable as we can. "Green building" practices and policies help save energy, water, construction materials, and money, as well as create healthier places to live and work
One of Colorado's biggest draws are the scenic open spaces and natural landscapes that offer numerous recreational and environmental benefits to residents and visitors alike. Despite many successes in preserving these dwindling undeveloped areas, Colorado is still losing approximately 250,000 acres of agricultural land each year to development. From forests and farms to wetlands and wildlife corridors, smart growth helps us pass on to our children the landscapes we love, and that are vital to Colorado’s economy and quality of life.