About Smart Growth

What is Smart Growth Maryland?

Smart Growth Maryland is a campaign of Preservation Maryland which advocates for a more environmentally and economically sustainable future that creates opportunities for all Marylanders through better development patterns.

Smart Growth Maryland was launched in 2018 when 1000 Friends of Maryland, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization merged into Preservation Maryland. This merger of activities resulted in increased efficiencies, bigger impacts and more donor dollars put towards the critical work of helping save historic places and growing smarter.

What is Smart Growth?

Smart Growth is a planning paradigm first conceived in the late 1990s as an antidote to sprawl. Maryland was an early leader in the movement, with Governor Paris Glendening signing the Maryland Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Action in 1997. As the ninth smallest state by land area, the need to grow in an economically and environmentally sustainable way is vital.

Smart Growth Principles
1. Mix Land Uses
2. Take Advantage of Compact Building Design
3. Create a Range of Housing Opportunities & Choices
4. Create Walkable Communities
5. Foster Distinctive, Attractive Communities with a Strong Sense of Place
6. Preserve Open Space, Farmland, Natural Beauty, and Critical Environmental Areas
7. Strengthen and Direct Development Towards Existing Communities
8. Provide a Variety of Transportation Choices
9. Make Development Decisions Predictable, Fair, and Cost-Effective
10. Encourage Community and Stakeholder Collaboration in Development Decisions

What We Do

Historic preservation was the original smart growth movement. 

Smart Growth Maryland works to:

  • Educate and Raise Awareness for Smart Growth
  • Build Local and Statewide Capacity for Implementing Smart Growth
  • Advocate for Smart Growth Laws & Policies

Smart growth advocates and historic preservationists also share a common affinity for several broader issues here in Maryland:

  • Economic redevelopment of Main Street communities
  • Increased Funding for the Maryland Historic Revitalization Tax Credit
  • Engaging citizens in planning issues
  • Protection of Program Open Space funding
  • Support for the State Heritage Area program
  • Support for effective mass-transit options
  • Making communities more resilient to sea level rise and natural disasters

Smart Growth Resources

Image of Historic Downtown Frederick, Maryland.

Downtown Frederick has benefited from smart growth tools and investments.