Arizona Smart Growth Scorecard
The Arizona Smart Growth Scorecard is a voluntary, self-assessment tool that local jurisdictions can use to evaluate the effectiveness of their planning and development efforts. Planning and zoning decisions have considerable influence on quality of life and that of future generations. How land use decisions are implemented impacts every resident of every community - from travel to work and school, to which parks have picnic areas and pools, to the safety of neighborhoods. The Smart Growth Scorecard can aid the ability of local officials to plan for growth and development though its use of the Principles of Smart Growth.
Growth is smart when it gives us great communities; with more choices and personal freedom, good return on investment, greater opportunity across the community, a thriving natural environment, and a legacy we can be proud to leave our children and grandchildren.
— Smart Growth Network, “This is Smart Growth”
All different sized communities, counties, even Tribal governments, can complete a Scorecard. An array of questions relating to environmental benefits, infrastructure efficiency, mobility choices, economic development, social equity, and healthy community concepts are intertwined throughout. Individual questions correspond to the population size of the jurisdiction to acknowledge the variety of local characters and values in a state as diverse as Arizona.
Over 80 communities and counties have completed a Scorecard. Some are using it to reframe development policies to create new choices and opportunities to advance economic sustainability. Some have tied it to performance measurements in their general and comprehensive plans. Its overall objective is to be an available resource to improve capacity for better planning resulting in positive environmental, social, and economic benefits for communities and regions throughout Arizona.
Some state discretionary programs have used the Scorecard in their grant and loan applications to encourage utilization of the tool. For example, a completed Scorecard has been required in a number of programs’ funding applications just to be part of an administratively complete grant submittal. While other state funding programs have awarded additional incentives to communities with advanced scores or offered technical assistance to those needing support. Individual state granting agencies publish notice of applicable criteria, and will include consideration of the Smart Growth Scorecard if it is to be an included factor in the respective program.