Evaluating smart growth: Implications for small communities

Mary M. Edwards, Anna Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article develops a framework to evaluate the use of smart growth principles in local comprehensive plans. Using the framework, a sample of thirty local comprehensive plans was evaluated to determine how well local plan goals and policies promote smart growth principles. The plans were selected from a pool of plans that have been adopted in Wisconsin under its new comprehensive smart growth planning law. Plans are evaluated for attention to six commonly accepted smart growth principles as developed and promoted by a number of national organizations and coalitions. This content analysis reveals that communities are not fully embracing the smart growth agenda. Furthermore, there is a clear distinction between the use of smart growth principles among cities and villages versus town or rural governments. The article concludes with a discussion of the applicability of smart growth to small towns and rural communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-64
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Evaluation
  • Smart growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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