State-level planning departments can bring order and cohesion to local development decisions. They can prioritize infrastructure investments in support of economic development and weigh development plans against the other values, such as protecting the environment and preserving the character of communities. The great advantage of land-use planning at the state level, however, is that it provides an opportunity for someone to pay attention to the “big picture” of growth and development.
The costs of failing to address such challenges are all too familiar: poorly managed growth can decrease the availability of open space, rob a state of its scenic beauty, increase the cost of services and limit housing and transportation choices.
In this section, we describe ways to plan for growth that encourage regional coordination on infrastructure and development, update and improve zoning, and facilitate exemplary development patterns that will help communities to achieve their goals.