Community workshops

What we offer

Smart Growth America offers a number of one- and two-day workshops for communities interested in learning about and implementing smart growth.

Our workshops are designed to provide local leaders with the knowledge and tools to advance policies, planning efforts, and design practices that create vibrant, healthy, economically resilient and environmentally sustainable communities.

Available workshops are taught by Smart Growth America’s team of expert instructors and cover a variety of topics, ranging from basic introductions to the principles of smart growth to in-depth guidance on the technical aspects of specific smart growth strategies.

Workshops are typically geared toward local elected officials and public sector employees but can be tailored to engage other participants such as business leaders, non-profit organizations, and community residents.

Learn about the workshops Smart Growth America has already provided in more than 50 communities around the country.

Workshop rates

Workshop rates range from $7,500 to $15,000 and are determined in partnership with interested communities. In addition, Smart Growth America also offers a limited number of free workshops every year to communities through a competitive application process that opens each fall.

Request a workshop in your community

To learn more and apply for one of Smart Growth America’s community workshops, email: assistance [at] smartgrowthamerica [dot] org.

Available workshops

Smart Growth America currently offers the following workshops:

Implementing Smart Growth 101
Implementing Smart Growth 101 is an introductory overview of smart growth development strategies. This one-day workshop will introduce participants to the ten principles of smart growth development, and includes a hands-on session to explore how those principles could be applied in the host community. Read more >>

Complete Streets: Laying the foundation
This workshop introduces the Complete Streets concept and its benefits, and gives participants a chance to try out some Complete Streets planning tools during small group exercises. At the end of the workshop, the instructors help attendees develop clear, appropriate, and strategic next steps based on the community’s opportunities and strengths. These steps help build the local technical and political capacity to implement change over the long term. Read more >>

Complete Streets: Policy Development
This workshop helps participants start to develop a Complete Streets policy customized for their community. Through small group exercises, participants compare existing practice to policy models, identifying the critical elements to include in a new policy. Similar to Laying the Foundation for Complete Streets, above, this workshop helps attendees develop clear, appropriate, and strategic next steps. The workshop also includes instructor follow-up with key decision makers and resources to maintain momentum. Read more >>

Complete Streets: Policy Implementation
This workshop helps participants identify ways to more effectively implement Complete Streets policies. Participants learn how to change their transportation decision-making process to routinely balance the needs of all users, as well as best practices in tackling issues such as limited right of way, costs concerns, balancing user needs, and new street classification systems. Similar to “Laying the foundation for Complete Streets” and “Complete Streets Policy Development,” above, this workshop helps attendees develop clear, appropriate, and strategic next steps. Read more >>

Cool planning: local strategies to slow climate change
This workshop identifies specific development, land use, and transportation planning techniques that communities can use to reduce their carbon footprints. The workshop includes interactive exercises, and information about tools the community can use to monitor their carbon progress. Read more >>

Implementing transit-oriented development 101
This all-day workshop provides workshop attendees with an understanding of successful transit-oriented development and how it can help regional leaders shape growth.Read more >>

Parking audit
This one-day program tackles specific issues like fee-in-lieu payments, on-street parking, shared parking or paid parking, among others. In some cases, a parking audit can help a community address much broader issues such as petroleum dependency and sustainability. Parking audits provide a neutral setting where an impartial parking expert can evaluate local policies and practices and offer advice based on the state of the practice, with an emphasis on what works well and what should be avoided. The audit can be community-wide or can focus on a specific district. Read more >>

Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health
This workshop teaches participants how to save money now, reduce fiscal liabilities for the future and spur local economic development, and provides examples of public and private projects that have successfully achieved these goals in the past. The workshop then shows how to apply these lessons in your community using an interactive and hands-on method. Read more >>

Regional planning for small communities
This one-day workshop is designed to help small communities understand how to plan for and manage growth in a regional context. The workshop helps participants develop the capacity to identify where growth is most likely to occur and to create strategies for managing growth that preserves community character while enhancing economic competitiveness and quality of life. Read more >>

Smart growth zoning codes for small cities
Small cities and rural areas often have very different growth and development issues from big cities, but their zoning codes are often drawn from the same templates. This workshop will offer a menu of simple changes that local governments can make to their zoning codes to promote smart tailored for small cities and rural areas. Read more >>

Sustainable land use code audit
Land use code audits examine 10-12 sustainability issues – including energy conservation, renewable energy, and community health – chosen by the community and provide an assessment of barriers and regulatory gaps in the codes to attaining community sustainability goals in these areas and potential implementation strategies. Read more >>

Transportation performance measurement
An introduction to transportation system performance measurement and reporting. Based on broad, inclusive public conversations about desired future conditions, communities can establish objectives-driven planning, programming and design processes coupled
with monitoring and reporting methods that improve the accountability and effectiveness of their transportation programs and systems. Read more >>

Using LEED-ND to accelerate the development of sustainable communities
This workshop focuses on the power of LEED for Neighborhood Development (ND) to accelerate green economic development. The workshop will help participants identify ND-eligible lands, how to catalyze projects on those lands, and how to amend land-use and transportation plans to expand eligible land supply and improve vicinity conditions so as to increase achievable ND points. Read more >>

Walkability workshop/audit
This one-day assessment and training workshop includes a technical presentation, a walkability audit, partnership-building activities, visioning exercises, a short design session, and the creation of a working group. The workshop can be developed to accommodate local needs and contexts, and has been effectively used in all regulatory environments. A community-wide or stakeholder presentation by the team can be made in the evening. Read more >>