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 campaign or “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

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is an essential tool for preserving America’s vast and varied landscapes and cultural resources. Because of the Act’s positive and proven impact, Smart Growth Maryland has joined with a number of national partners to call on Congress to make funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent by passing the Great American Outdoors Act as part of the next round of COVID-19 recovery legislation.

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06/02/2020
By Waxter Intern

Celebrating National Trail Day in Maryland

Each year the American Hiking Society leads and organizing special events for National Trail Day! It’s a great day to explore Maryland’s natural and historic landmarks – often connected through trails and byways. Read on for great trails through the Old Line State:

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Because of the safety measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we have all experienced considerable disruption to how we move and where we go. Google has been compiling data about our collective change in movement – and it shows Marylander’s unebbing attraction to our parks, trails, and open spaces.

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05/12/2020
By Nicholas A. Redding

Membership 2020: Preservation Is An Act of Optimism

To be a preservationist, you need to be an optimist.  You need to look at the dilapidated building, see what once was, and have the vision to see what could be.  Today, at a time when despair would be easy, I need you to reach deep into your reserves of optimism – and help us build a brighter future by joining Preservation Maryland.

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With funding from Preservation Maryland, the Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance has prepared and released a report and interactive map about the Eastern Shore county’s historic rural landscape.

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Tagged In: Advocacy, Smart Growth,

As America confronts the vast challenges and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued implementation of smart growth policy at all levels of government must remain a priority.

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Maryland Matters, an independent, non-partisan news site about Maryland government and politics, recently published an Op-Ed by Preservation Maryland Executive Director, Nicholas Redding.

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In this unprecedented time, where many people are feeling isolated by the distancing measures needed to stay safe during an international pandemic, many have turned to the natural world for support. Indeed, we have truly seen the value of open space in the weeks under quarantine and social distancing.

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Tagged In: Advocacy, Smart Growth,

Smart Growth Maryland helps lead a number of countywide coalitions that advocate for smart growth policy including in Frederick County where several important bills are being considered by the County Council.

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Earlier this year, the City Dock Action Committee presented their recommendations for Annapolis’ City Dock in a public meeting, illustrated report, and a video of architectural rendering.

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