Community, Economy, Environment
About Smart Growth Readiness Assessment

SMART GROWTH READINESS ASSESSMENT

Ten Smart Growth Tenets

The Smart Growth framework is organized around a set of ten tenets. These tenets are:

  1. Create a range of housing opportunities and choices.
  2. Create walkable communities.
  3. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions.
  4. Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place.
  5. Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost-effective.
  6. Mix land uses.
  7. Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty and critical environmental areas.
  8. Provide a variety of transportation options.
  9. Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities.
  10. Take advantage of compact building design.

The Smart Growth Readiness Assessment Tool (SGRAT) is a set of online assessments for scoring how well a community is prepared to develop according to Smart Growth principles. The assessments provide communities with a baseline score, and can be used to measure progress. The Tool also provides extensive resources for communities interested in growing smart, including case studies of Michigan communities successfully following Smart Growth principles.

The Smart Growth Readiness Assessment Tool was developed for individual and collective communities to assess how smart they are growing. The SGRAT provides the community with an assessment tool as well as access to a considerable set of Smart Growth resources. In addition, professional assistance is available for communities that need it. Funding support was provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation People and Land initiative.

What is Smart Growth?

People at Computer“Smart growth is development that serves the economy, communit, and the environment. It provides a framework for communities to make informed decisions about how and where they grow. Smart growth makes it possible for communities to grow in ways that support economic development and jobs; create strong neighborhoods with a range of housing, commercial and transportation options; and achieve healthy communities that provide families with a clean environment.” [Source: Getting to Smart Growth: 100 Policies for Implementation, 2002, Smart Growth Network, page i.]

What is the Waterfront Assessment?

The Waterfront Smart Growth Readiness Assessment is a scorecard specifically meant for waterfront communities. This assessment is included in all pricing packages, along with the 10 assessments for Smart Growth.

Ready-Set-Go

The assessments are based on the ready-set-go model. Scoring will help a community determine if it is:

  • Ready for smart growth. It will measure if the community has the necessary plans in place.
  • Set to act. It will measure if the community has the necessary regulations adopted or capital improvement resources secured.
  • Go. It will measure whether the community has already initiated action, such as implemented a regulation or capital improvement that supports smart growth.

Does SGRAT fit all Michigan Communities?

ConstructionThe Tool best fits cities, villages, growing townships and groups of communities that can function as a region and in which there is a town center.



Self-Assessment or Facilitated Assessment

Communities may take the online assessment on their own or contract with qualified MSU Extension Educators or private consultants to facilitate their assessment. We highly recommend communities utilize a facilitator, especially if multiple communities participate in a regional assessment.

The purpose of the facilitated Smart Growth Readiness Assessment is to help guide communities through an evaluation of growth in their community, an evaluation of the plans and implementation tools they currently use to guide growth, and an identification of tools that may better help communities produce a smart pattern of growth in the future.

For more information on a facilitated assessment and to help you choose whether to use a facilitator, click here.

Course Fee and Packages

A fee is required to take the online assessments. The fee covers the cost of providing the assessments online and access to all resource materials.

Pricing is based on whether the assessments are being taken by an individual or a group, and the number of communities involved. The simplest option is for one person in a community to enroll and pay online by credit card or invoice for $99 (Standard Package). Click here to learn more.  

If more than one person in a community will be enrolled, or if multiple communities enroll in the same assessment, contact MSU Global (Customer Service) at 517.353.3123, or send an email to cplanner@msu.edu.

The table below explains the options communities may choose when registering to take the assessment.

Pricing Option
(CLICK TO PURCHASE)

Description

Cost


Standard Package

Single Jurisdiction

  • 10 assessments of Smart Growth and the waterfront assessment.
  • Online access for ONE person to all assessments and material.
  • License to make up to TWELVE copies of the assessment questions.
$99


Premium Package

Single Jurisdiction

  • 10 assessments of Smart Growth and the waterfront assessment.
  • Online access for TWELVE people to all assessments and material.
  • License to make up to TWELVE copies of the assessment questions.
$200


Regional Package

Up to Three Jurisdictions

  • 10 assessments of Smart Growth and the waterfront assessment.
  • Online access for TWELVE people per jurisdiction (36 total) to all assessments and material.
  • License to make up to TWELVE copies per jurisdiction (36 total) of the assessment questions.
$350

For more on who should use SGRAT and how to get the most out of it, click here.

Credits

A team of researchers from the MSU Land Policy Institute's Michigan Citizen Planner program and the Planning & Zoning Center developed the online Smart Growth Readiness Assessment Tool. Special credit goes to Dr. John Warbach and former LPI urban planning graduate student Mike Forsyth. Also contributing were Professor Mark Wyckoff, Wayne Beyea and Glenn Pape. Instructional design, computer coding and facilitation were performed by MSU Global staff including Karen Hairston, Todd Shunneson, Karen Vignare, Kate Koltvedt and Julie Orler, led by MSU Global Director, Dr. Christine Geith. Beta testing was provided by members of the MSU Extension Team, Dave Ivan, Mike Klepinger, Mary Beth Lake Graebert, Brad Neuman, Michelle Reardon, Dean Solomon, Dan Wells and Jim Wiesing. The SGRAT was pilot tested with three communities working jointly: the City of Fremont, Dayton Township and Sheridan Charter Township.

Many organizations provided permission to reproduce resources referenced in each tenet. Special thanks is extended to each, and in particular, to the Planning & Zoning News of Lansing, MI, and the American Planning Association.

Special thanks is also extended to the dozens of communities who provided case study information and permission to reproduce photos or graphics.

Funding for the Smart Growth Readiness Assessment Tool was provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation People and Land initiative.