- Mix land uses.
- Take advantage of compact design.
- Create a range of housing opportunities and choices.
- Create walkable communities.
- Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place.
- Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty and critical environmental areas.
- Direct development towards existing communities.
- Provide a variety of transportation choices.
- Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective.
- Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions.
Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities (PDF) is a resource that applies the Smart Growth principles to rural communities. Rural decision-makers can use the strategies and policy tools to balance competing goals while creating vibrant, sustainable communities. The following three goals can serve as a framework for future growth in rural communities.6
- Support the rural landscape.
- Help existing places thrive.
- Create great new places.
Planning Opportunities for Healthy Rural Communities
The Healthy Rural Communities Tool Kit provides direction for actions and activities that support healthy rural communities:
- Development of planning documents (official plan policies, master plans, zoning by-laws).
- Understanding the connection between planning, health, social and the environment.
- Measuring the impact of a planning initiative / practice.
- Building partnerships between municipalities, agencies and the community.
- Ensuring collaboration between the municipality (administration, staff, politicians) and community players.
- Engaging the community using creative approaches.
- Seeking municipal council and municipal staff support.
- Finding project champions.
- Finding a community-based group that is passionate about the initiative.
- Keeping initiatives manageable.
Many of the challenges facing rural communities are regional and when appropriate, local governments can cooperate across boundaries to develop collaborative, solutions to challenges facing individual communities.5
Details on how to incorporate healthy community design into rural planning processes can also be found on the Healthy Rural Communities website and in the Linking Health and the Built Environment in Rural Settings report.7