Smart Growth is a planning approach that recognizes the impact transportation investments have on land use and community form. It encourages the revitalization of existing urban centers and older communities, rather than the development of open space and farmland into suburban sprawl. Smart growth counteracts single-use zoning and the separation of residential and commercial centers, and an automobile-dependent lifestyle. Smart growth focuses on human-scale street-level urbanism, interconnected streets, and walking and mass transit. Smart growth is also a fiscally responsible development pattern - with lower costs for individual units, public utilities, and transportation. It is environmentally sound, by encouraging brownfield development, preserving open space by concentrating development, and reducing emissions by promoting mass transit and walkability. It can also be a socially conscious strategy, calling for a diversity of housing types, and encouraging inclusionary zoning.
The Smart Growth Project Database is an online mapping application that tracks a variety of noteworthy development projects throughout the region. Currently, the application focuses on three types of Smart Growth projects: developments near transit, traditional neighborhood developments (TND), and conservation subdivisions. It is a resource for local officials, planners and citizens who are interested in Smart Growth.
This study helps our county and municipal planning partners better understand the state of multifamily housing in our region as well as some of the potential economic, transportation, and community impacts. Read more about DVRPC’s key findings, approach, and a full list of resources.
Municipal planning and land use regulations play a critical role in achieving the goals outlined in DVRPC's Long-Range Plan. DVRPC completed a comprehensive survey of Smart Growth tools presently used in the region, through surveying municipalities and gathering feedback from the nine County Planning Commissions/Departments.
Learn more about DVRPC-led studies on revitalization, livability, traffic calming and multi-municipal planning, along with other local and national resources.
DVRPC addresses the complex regional housing market through a variety of targeted studies and indicators. The goal is to support housing policy that provides all members of the community with safe, affordable places to live.
Historic preservation is an essential tool to land use planning, economic development, and downtown revitalization, among other planning activities. Protecting, preserving, conserving, re-using and documenting historic resources reveals aspects of our region's origins and development. These historic resources—from sites to buildings to large landscapes—define a place.
Governments that share services have lower per capita expenses than those that do not and this effect is most pronounced in suburban communities. In the DVRPC region, there are many examples of service sharing; it has been embraced by members of both political parties as a fiscally responsible method of service delivery. While there are differing definitions of what constitutes shared services, DVRPC defines them as those provided by or received by more than one municipality.
TOD refers to compact, mixed-use development located within walking distance of a transit station. Its pedestrian-oriented design encourages residents and workers to drive their cars less and ride transit more. DVRPC prepares TOD plans while also tracking proposed, in progress and completed TODs.
In Pennsylvania, TRID is legislation that offers municipalities, transit agencies, and developers a flexible approach to plan for and implement TOD. TRID is an optional tool that could be used by Pennsylvania communities wishing to leverage state funding. It encourages the use of financing mechanisms such as public-private partnerships and shared tax revenues. DVRPC has collected a number of example plans from the region and additional resources to aid communities in thinking about using TRID.