Smart Growth Maryland

Smart Growth Maryland is a campaign of Preservation Maryland which advocates for a more environmentally and economically sustainable future that creates opportunities for all Marylanders through better development patterns.

About Smart Growth

Downtown Frederick has benefited from smart growth tools and investments.

What is Smart Growth Maryland?

Smart Growth Maryland is a campaign of Preservation Maryland which advocates for a more environmentally and economically sustainable future that creates opportunities for all Marylanders through better development patterns.

Smart Growth Maryland was launched in 2018 when 1000 Friends of Maryland, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization merged into Preservation Maryland. This merger of activities resulted in increased efficiencies, bigger impacts and more donor dollars put towards the critical work of helping save historic places and growing smarter.

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How We Work

How Does Smart Growth Maryland Accomplish Its Work?

Smart Growth Maryland focuses its work in three critical areas: advocacy, education and technical assistance.

The staff of Smart Growth Maryland advocate at the local, state and federal level for programs and policies which incentivize smarter growth patterns and protect critical natural, cultural and historic resources. In addition, Smart Growth Maryland also presents at workshops, trainings, seminars and conferences throughout the state to provide access to the latest trends in smart growth. Smart Growth Maryland’s professional staff also works throughout the state to assist counties, municipalities and developers that are contemplating smart growth projects. Staff provides a wide range of expert technical assistance with projects aimed at revitalization, land-use planning and resource conservation.

How are Smart Growth and Historic Preservation Connected?

Historic preservation was the original smart growth movement.

Preservationists have long made the argument that revitalization of existing communities – and their historic places – is the wisest form of economic redevelopment. When existing communities are revitalized, sprawl is limited. This symbiotic relationship has kept the smart growth and historic preservation communities advocating on each other’s behalf for many years.

The launch of Smart Growth Maryland further solidified an already strong relationship between these two interest areas. Smart Growth Maryland provides Preservation Maryland with the ability to advocate for an even greater set of policies and programs that make preservation work possible. Alternatively, Preservation Maryland provides the smart growth community a unique partner to advance their common mission and to utilize historic places as a part of an overall smart growth message.

The overlap between smart growth and historic preservation is impressive. Many examples abound:

  • Interest in the reuse of historic buildings in downtowns is unlikely if sprawl remains a viable option. Adaptive reuse of historic buildings becomes more economically feasible in communities where open space is protected and sprawl is curtailed.
  • Rural agricultural landscapes are as much a part Maryland’s history as the barns and farmhouses which dot them. Saving open space is most effective in communities which prioritize the redevelopment of existing areas rather than encouraging sprawl.
  • Saving historic buildings in communities without walkable sidewalks and bikeable streets and is more difficult than in communities with complete, pedestrian friendly streets.
  • Redevelopment of historic neighborhoods is extremely difficult in the absence of reliable and effective transit options. Traffic choked roads and gridlock are barriers to the effective reuse of historic buildings and the revitalization of historic communities.

In addition to these specific examples, smart growth advocates and historic preservationists also share a common affinity for several broader issues here in Maryland:

How is Smart Growth Maryland Organized and Funded?

Smart Growth Maryland is a major program of Preservation Maryland. Smart Growth Maryland is not an independent organization. The finances of Smart Growth Maryland, like all other programs of Preservation Maryland, are annually reported on Preservation Maryland’s IRS 990 form. Donations restricted to the Smart Growth Maryland Campaign are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law and are recognized by an acknowledgment letter from Preservation Maryland. Smart Growth Maryland is supported by many individual, corporate, organizational, and foundation donors.

Who is on the staff of Smart Growth Maryland?

Smart Growth Maryland is administratively and programmatically supported by the staff of Preservation Maryland. Just as Preservation Maryland supports the rest of its programs like Heritage Fund grants and our Six-to-Fix program, the organization provides both leadership and support for Smart Growth Maryland. Preservation Maryland maintains an extremely low overhead rate and invests nearly 90 cents of every donor’s dollar directly into programs.

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News & Updates

Partners for Open Space is launching a social media campaign to generate statewide support for Maryland’s parks, nature, outdoor spaces, as well as its rural and historic heritage, all with a strong nod toward Maryland’s Program Open Space.

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Frederick County has recently passed three pieces of landmark legislation that puts the county at the forefront of smart growth and environmental policy in Maryland. Preservation Maryland is proud to have worked with our local partners through the Smarter Growth Alliance for Frederick County to achieve these successes and to have helped ensure a better future for residents.

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The municipal planning process can intimidating and inequitable, but many of the most critical decisions that impact a community are made in the planning process. In order to create new resources for Maryland communities, planners, and citizens, Preservation Maryland and Smart Growth Maryland included this relevant topic in a free session of the virtual Old Line State Summit.

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The Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning has invited the public to read and comment on the draft Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan being prepared by lead firm, Mahan Rykiel Associates.

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On the evening of July 22, 2020, the House of Representatives approved one of the most significant pieces of conservation legislation in a generation, the Great American Outdoors Act, with broad bipartisan support. Having passed the Senate in June, the legislation is on its way to the President’s desk, who specifically requested the bill for his signature.

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Tagged In: Resources, Smart Growth,

Earlier this summer, the State of Maryland designated four new Sustainable Communities. This revitalization program provides local governments with a toolbox of state resources to support everything from bricks-and-mortar projects to tourism and now includes 121 designated communities across the state.

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In an important step for land conservation in Southern Maryland, the Board of Charles County Commissioners recently unanimously approved plans to establish the Nanjemoy-Mattawoman Rural Legacy Area in the western region of the county. If designated, the Nanjemoy-Mattawoman would be the second Rural Legacy Area in Charles County.

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Tagged In: Advocacy, Smart Growth,

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who represents Maryland’s 5th District announced that the House would vote on the Great American Outdoors Act (HR 7092), the single largest investment in the preservation of historic, cultural, and natural resources for public lands in our generation, by the end of July.

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Gov. Hogan recently announced $600,000 in grants for capital historic preservation projects across the state, including a grant to relocate the historic B&O WB Tower in Brunswick, Maryland – also a Preservation Maryland Six-to-Fix project and recipient of a Heritage Fund grant from Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust.

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A leading consulting firm in the study of preservation, revitalization, and reinvestment economics, PlaceEconomics, has just released a clear case for including historic preservation principles squarely into COVID-19 recovery efforts.

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