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Great Maine Neighborhoods is a project of the Greater Portland Council of Governments. It provides communities with tools and resources to help them shape the future of their neighborhoods. It promotes smart growth practices, which preserve natural resources by reducing sprawl while fostering more sustainable, resilient and inclusive villages and downtowns.  

Smart growth emphasizes the importance of creating walkable neighborhoods that blend residential, commercial, and recreational spaces, encouraging a stronger sense of community and enhancing the quality of life for all residents. Prioritizing green spaces contributes to environmental sustainability and improves public health by promoting active lifestyles and reducing air pollution. 


Smart growth strategies promote affordable housing development, ensuring that cities remain accessible and equitable for people from all walks of life. This comprehensive approach to planning addresses the immediate needs of growing populations while creating resilient infrastructures that can withstand future challenges.


By implementing these strategies, policymakers have the opportunity to profoundly impact the economic, social, and environmental well-being of their communities. 


Smart growth facilitates economic development by attracting businesses to vibrant urban centers, fostering innovation, and creating job opportunities. Socially, it promotes inclusivity and connectivity, enabling diverse populations to thrive together. It significantly reduces the carbon footprint by promoting sustainable transportation options and efficient land use, contributing to the fight against climate change. 


For policymakers, embracing smart growth principles is not just a matter of planning; it's a commitment to fostering resilient, thriving communities that can adapt to future challenges while ensuring a high quality of life for current and future generations. This holistic approach resonates with the hearts and minds of policymakers, aligning with broader goals of sustainability, equity, and prosperity for all.

Smart Growth Practices for Great Neighborhoods

Mixed Use Development

Encouraging mixed-use spaces that blend residential, commercial, and recreational uses to reduce the need for driving and to enhance community engagement.

Compact Building Design

Promoting higher density to preserve open space, utilize land efficiently, and support public transportation viability.

Range of Housing Opportunities

Providing diverse housing options to meet the needs of all community members, regardless of income, age, or family size.

Walkable Neighborhoods

Designing neighborhoods that prioritize pedestrian circulation and safety, encouraging walking and biking.

Distinctive & Attractive Communities

Creating vibrant, aesthetically pleasing environments that reflect community values and culture.

Preserve Open Space and Natural Resources

Protecting natural areas, farmland, and critical environments from development.

Support Density
in Downtowns

Utilizing existing infrastructure to support development, revitalizing and reusing underutilized sites.

Provide a Variety of Transportation Choices

Expanding access to transportation options, including public transportation, biking, and walking paths.

Make Development Decisions Predictable, Fair, and Cost-Effective

Streamlining the development process to encourage Smart Growth projects and investments.

Community and Stakeholder Collaboration

Engaging local stakeholders in development decisions to ensure outcomes that reflect community needs and desires.

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