“Smart growth is our best opportunity for successful cities and towns,” says CMSC Board Chair Ted DeSantos in this article from the Hartford Business Journal. This sentiment has been acknowledged over the past 20 years by developers, civil engineers, state officials, businesses and communities, resulting in a shift away from traffic-oriented engineering and urban sprawl to smart-growth development concentrated on walkable, condensed mixed-use space that combines residential, commercial and recreational usage.
Mr. DeSantos says strong coordination among state agencies is essential and one of the main reasons smart-growth developments in communities like Storrs Center, New Britain and elsewhere have been so popular and successful. Smart-growth initiatives involve several aspects including transportation, housing, environmental and economic impacts.
New Britain’s Director of Public Works, Mark Moriarty, agrees, noting the importance of transit. “If we can address transit [issues], people may begin to think about [Connecticut] cities as places to be centered,” said Mr. Moriarty. New Britain has been using the Complete Street design methodology – an approach that factors in pedestrian safety to balance road design – to attract and retain residents and employees, especially young people.