Smart Growth Policies

When it comes to ‘smart growth’ main imperative, the idea is to limit urban areas expansion (geographical) and instead enhance their compactness. Towards this end, a number of strategies have been adopted over time including but not limited to land rationing. Though a number on analysts are for the implementation of smart growth policies, others see the same as an action without a cause. In this text, I present the arguments for and against smart growth policies in a metropolitan area.

The implementation of smart growth policies in metropolitan areas: arguments for and arguments against

One of the most prominent arguments for smart growth is that urbanization is informing the loss of farmland. Hence one of the key concerns of smart growth is the very protection of farmland that is increasingly becoming scarce. In the recent times, areas which have been thought to lead as far as the loss of farmland is concerned include New Jersey. However, those who are against this very argument are of the opinion that the evidence presented in regard to the loss of farm land to urbanization is largely exaggerated and inconclusive.

In fact, less that one-fifth of farm land has been lost to urbanization in the United States. Further, they note that productivity is the main culprit of farmland loss and not urbanization. To drive the point home, the US department of agriculture is of the opinion that urbanization does not threaten food supply in any way.The other argument that has been advanced in support of smart growth is in regard to air pollution.

Adherents of this argument are of the opinion that smart growth is the way to go if air pollution is to be reduced. Some of the organizational bodies that have been at the forefront in advocating for smart growth for purposes of bringing down air pollution instances include The United States Environmental Protection Agency.However, there are those who are of the opinion that smart growth shall go a long way towards enhancing as well as compounding the very problem it is being fronted to solve.

According to Szold & Carbonell (2002), in instances where urban areas are less dense, air pollution tends to be less intense. This is as per US and International data. Research indicates that as the traffic flow as well as speed is enhanced, there are significant reductions in air pollution. Those against smart growth are of the opinion that more dense urban areas will mean slower traffic and hence a significant increase in the rate of air pollution.There is also the argument that smart growth shall go a long way to enhance the affordability of houses.

The assumption in this case is that there is enhanced equity for households with low levels of income in urban areas that happen to be denser. However, those arguing against smart growth state that setting up growth areas go a long way to facilitate land ration for development. The reasoning here is that naturally, just as it is I the commodities marketplace, and attempt to ration something including land almost always ends up raising prices. Hence in this case, smart growth would increase housing prices.


In conclusion, it is important to note that the issue of smart growth shall continue to be largely contentious as a result of arguments and counter arguments by researchers as well as academics. It is however hoped that with increased research in this area, more conciliatory views shall, be advanced going forward.


Szold, T.S., & Carbonell, A. (2002). Smart growth: form and consequences. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy