Smart Growth in Small Towns and Rural Communities: Maryland's Eastern Shore

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz and Rebecca Jensen
Date Released
February 2001

Smart growth tools can be useful for small towns and rural communities as well as for major metropolitan areas and rapidly growing localities. States and localities across the country are crafting growth management tools to meet their needs. In most cases, rapidly growing localities and metropolitan areas have felt the strongest need to guide their growth by taking advantage of smart growth tools. Yet, as states put frameworks for smart growth in place, all communities can benefit from regulations and incentives that help them take charge of their future development. This report shows how smart growth tools can help rural communities and small towns.


Small towns and rural communities sometimes fear that smart growth tools will hinder their economic development. However, communities that adapt smart growth tools to their priorities find that smart growth helps economic development and other local priorities in the long run by facilitating better planning and coordination. Small towns and rural communities can apply the same smart growth principles used in larger metropolitan areas to themselves and not only encourage needed economic growth, but ensure that their economic growth occurs in a healthy relationship with their historical, environmental, and cultural resources.

This report focuses on Maryland