Smart Growth Essay

The city project listed on the Smart Growth in Action website that I chose is Belmar’s walkable downtown in in Lakewood Colorado. I found this particular project of interest because most cities need to revamp their towns in order to keep business local and attract tourist. Personally I feel like a lot of town can follow in the footsteps of Lakewood, Colorado. The city of Lakewood took it upon themselves to revamp their downtown in order to bring business back and make their community a better environment. Lakewood transformed their old shopping malls into a new walkable downtown.

The added new shopping attractions, restaurants, office space, parks, a plaza, markets, and so much more. After reading about this project it definitely made me want to go! While building this project Lakewood used a lot of the principles that we talking about in our discussion. Some of the principles it included are: “includes mixed land uses, exhibits compact building design, provides range of housing types, promotes walkable neighborhood, exhibits a sense of place, preserves open space, utilizes existing development, and promotes stakeholder participation (Smart Growth in Action). Lakewood used a lot of the principles in order to get the most out of its project. Lakewood did a great job of showing other towns that turning your old shopping centers into new and improved walkable downtowns could boost the economic status of your town. Lakewood has created a great investment for its town. This project will create more revenue by bringing in tourist and new residents.

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According to Smart Growth Action Lakewood’s project has so far been a success it will add “$952 million to the local economy and will directly create over 7,000 permanent jobs. ” The city from my area that I have chosen to compare to Lakewood is Lee Summit, Missouri. Lee Summit is a town close to Warrensburg where I got my undergraduate degree. After reading the article on Lee Summit I feel like their projects to improve their town have gone above and beyond what Lakewood has done.

Lee Summit has actually completed a plan called the Lee Summit Sustainability action plan, which is a plan to drastically improve their city and the environment around them. The key components in this plan were, “water conservation and storm water management, energy efficiency, transportation, land use, and waste reduction (Craig Chester). ” This town also has a future plan to improve the downtown region. I think that Lee Summit has gone above and beyond Lakewood’s project, and much of the other towns in the United States.

Some principles that both towns share are mixed land uses, exhibits compact building design, promotes walkable neighborhood, exhibits a sense of place, preserves open space, utilizes existing development, and promotes stakeholder participation. Although I feel that Lee Summit went above and beyond that of Lakewood they both still have a lot in come. I think towns around the US should really considering following in the footsteps of these two towns. As I was reading about Lakewood it reminded me of a town in which I spent a great portion of my childhood in, Branson Mo.

Branson has transformed part of their historic downtown into what they now call the Branson Landing. Branson tried to keep part of the historic downtown while implementing new shopping centers and restaurant’s for attraction. This reminded me of what Lakewood did with their downtown. Although I loved old downtown Branson, I can see where it has helped create more revenue for the town. I think that all towns could use a little revamp in order to create more revenue.

Works Cited

Chester, Craig. “Mayor Randy Rhoads and Lee’s Summit, MO: Regional Leaders in Smart Growth.” Smart Growth America. N.p., 6 Feb. 2013. Web. 13 July 2013. <>.

“Smart Growth In Action: Belmar’s Walkable Downtown, Lakewood, Colorado.” Smart Growth In Action:Belmar’s Walkable Downtown, Lakewood, Colorado. Smart Growth in Action, 29 May 2006. Web. 13 July 2013. ;;.