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Smart Growth For Dummies

Cooltown Studios links up to the Environmental Protection Agency's illustrated examples of smart growth building techniques. Now through the use of pictures, even Joel Kotkin can understand! The EPA's web site presents 20 examples of how real communities have incorporated smarth growth solutions to make their neighborhoods more walkable and more enjoyable. The only local city to be featured in Smart Growth Illustrated is the OC burg of Brea, for its fostering of a strong sense of place. Goooo Brea!

To create a sense of place in downtown, Brea used walkable design, mixed land uses, provided housing choices, and took advantage of historic design elements. The former downtown area was centered on Brea Boulevard, a wide, auto-oriented street that discouraged walking. The new downtown is centered on the narrow, two-lane, pedestrian-friendly Birch Street, which is perpendicular to Brea Boulevard. On-street parallel parking, curb bulb-outs that shorten crosswalks, and mid-street crosswalks calm the traffic on Birch Street. Wide sidewalks accommodate streetside dining, and buildings are built to the lot line and oriented toward the street. The city built two structured parking garages, which can handle around 2,000 cars, behind the street-oriented buildings. This allows people to drive downtown, then get out of their cars and stroll. Brea has managed to do what many communities are trying to do, that is create a 24-hour pedestrian friendly environment. Not an easy task, but well worth the struggle. Everything is sunshine and puppy dogs in Orange County these days.
· 'Smart Growth Illustrated' [Cooltown Studios]