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?

Currently, Smart Growth Maryland has one full-time staff member, with a plan for expansion in the near future. Kimberly Golden Brandt, the former Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Maryland, leads Smart Growth Maryland under the title of Director 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

04/04/2019
By Preservation Maryland

Civil Wars Trails Historic Signage Goes Green

Civil War Trails, Inc. is the non-profit behind nearly 150 historic interpretive signs across Maryland and a thousand more across the U.S. All of their signs are now 100% recyclable and they have been accepted into the Maryland Green Registry.

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04/01/2019
By Preservation Maryland

Oxon Cove Land Swap Discussions Continue

While talks with Washington’s NFL team about building its next stadium at Oxon Cove National Park have ceased, the Hogan administration is continuing to pursue the land swap without any meaningful consultation with local officials, the affected communities or the public. The proposal sets a concerning precedent where state lands could be traded away without any public input or a transparent and open process.

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The federal Opportunity Zones program is a new reinvestment and redevelopment tool that is available to nearly 150 designated areas of Maryland including many in rural areas of the state.

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Tagged In: Advocacy, Smart Growth,

At a public hearing held by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) on February 27, Smart Growth Maryland and its partners in the Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County spoke out against Georgetown University’s plans to clear-cut 240 acres of Southern Maryland’s largest forest for an industrial-scale solar facility.

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Tagged In: Advocacy, Smart Growth,

Smart Growth Maryland and its partners in the Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County have long supported plans for Southern Maryland Rapid Transit (SMRT) – high-capacity, fixed-route transit from the Branch Avenue Metrorail Station in Prince George’s County to White Plains in Charles County.

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As a part of Smart Growth Maryland’s ongoing efforts to support community revitalization across the state, Kimberly Golden Brandt, the Director of the program was recently appointed to serve on the City of Brunswick’s Preservation and Revitalization Committee, which met for the first time on February 5, 2019.

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Smart Growth Maryland and its partners in the Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County recently announced their opposition to Georgetown University’s plans to clear-cut 240 acres of Southern Maryland’s largest forest for an industrial-scale solar facility.

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In late December 2018, it was revealed that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan had been quietly negotiating with former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on a proposed land swap that would have given Oxon Cove National Park in Prince George’s County to the state in return for 2,500-acres at South Mountain State Battlefield that would be transferred to the federal government.

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Tagged In: Advocacy, Smart Growth,

Many Marylanders are concerned about State proposals to build another Bay Bridge and new toll lanes on highways. These projects could negatively impact local environmental, cultural, and historic resources and diminish the quality of life enjoyed by residents.

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Tagged In: Advocacy, Smart Growth,

01/25/2019
By Preservation Maryland

Video: Preservation & Conservation Legislative Preview

On Thursday, January 24, 2019, Preservation Maryland and Smart Growth Maryland hosted a free webinar on the top priorities for the preservation, conservation, and development communities during this Session of the Maryland General Assembly. That webinar is now available as a free on-demand video for all advocates.

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