Many Floridians have come here from other places. They come for the clean water, world-class fishing and boating, and other community amenities that make living in Florida so attractive. Upwards of 1,000 new people move to Florida permanently each day. Many of these people want to live near or on the water and take part in the many unsurpassed recreational opportunities the lagoon offers. Because Florida is such an attractive place to work and play, growth and development are inevitable. However, growth and environmental stewardship do not have to be exclusive of one another.

Communities in many regions of the country are learning that integrating development and environmental sustainability makes good economic sense. Done well, growth can continue to be a major economic driver without sacrificing the environment. Many communities are using creative strategies to grow and develop in ways that preserve natural lands and critical environmental areas, protect water and air quality, and reuse already-developed land. These practices form the foundation of “Smart Growth.”

Smart Growth conserves resources by redeveloping already built upon land and reinvesting in existing infrastructure. It highlights community amenities by designing neighborhoods that have homes within walking distance of shops, offices, schools and parks, and gives residents the option of walking, cycling, or driving as they conduct their daily business. Smart Growth neighborhoods offer a range of housing types, making these neighborhoods attractive to people of all ages and income levels. The high quality of life in Smart Growth neighborhoods makes these communities economically competitive, creates a wealth of business opportunities and strengthens the local tax base.

Smart Growth development practices also help minimize air and water pollution, reduce greenhouse gases, preserve natural lands by encouraging compact development, reducing impervious surfaces, mixing land uses, improving walkability, and safeguarding environmentally sensitive areas.