Sprawl forum changes name

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(Host) A group that has raised awareness about suburban sprawl in Vermont is changing its name to reflect its changing mission.

Since 1998, the Vermont Forum on Sprawl has focused on the causes and impacts of unchecked development patterns.

But the organization’s work has now evolved to helping communities do a better job in shaping economic development.

So it’s renamed itself "Smart Growth Vermont" in recognition of its new role.
Noelle MacKay is the executive director.

(McKay) "We’re moving from the issue or the problem now into the solution: It’s how do we implement smart growth policies and procedures on the ground."

(Host) MacKay says how Vermonters use the land is a key element of economic growth.

(MacKay) "Often the word sprawl is not kind of getting us through the door, and allowing people to think about growth in a positive way, or even to think about growth at all. And it’s something we need to think about here in the state. We’ve got such wonderful assets and we’re known for our landscape and that’s part of the Vermont brand. And it’s something we really need to consider because it’s all linked together. So it’s not just how it looks, it’s about our economy and it’s about housing, and it’s about building communities."

(Host) MacKay says the group is getting an overwhelming response to its workshops and forums on smart growth policies.

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