Meeting Archive:
Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities

Meeting Description:

Many rural communities are facing rapid growth at metropolitan edges, declining rural populations, and loss of working lands, in addition to public health challenges such as obesity and related health problems. This presentation, which draws from ICMA’s recent report, “Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities, focuses on how smart growth strategies can guide growth in rural areas while protecting natural and working lands and preserving the rural character of existing communities.  These strategies are based around three central goals: 1) support the rural landscape by creating an economic climate that enhances the viability of working lands and conserves natural lands; 2) help existing places thrive by taking care of assets and investments such as downtowns, Main Streets, existing infrastructure, and places the community values; and 3) create great new places by building vibrant, enduring neighborhoods and communities that people, especially young people, don’t want to leave. These goals and strategies not only help direct growth in a way that preserves working lands and small town character, but also helps create environments with more opportunities for walking, bicycling, and other forms of physical activity.

Competencies Covered: 1.1 – Educate, collaborate and engage partners to promote physical activity at multiple settings and in a variety of populations. | 1.2 – Work with organizations to capitalize on complementary strengths, capabilities, resources and opportunities for the promotion of physical activity. | 3.3 – Address cultural, social, behavioral, and environmental factors that contribute to physical activity behaviors. | 4.2 – Coordinate efforts of local organizations to create policy and environmental changes that increase opportunities for physical activity. | 4.5 – Understand and communicate theories and mechanisms of policy development and appropriations to impact public health.

Date: Tue, Sep 28, 2010
Time: 12:00 PM EDT
Duration: 1 hour
Host(s): Pam Eidson
 Presenter Information
Anna Read

Anna Read is an Assistant Project Manager at the International City/County Management Association.  She currently manages the EPA-funded Smart Growth project, for which she has worked on reports on the connection between smart growth and climate change and applying smart growth principles in rural communities. Ms. Read has a master’s degree in regional planning from Cornell University. She can be reached at

Matt Dalbey

Matthew Dalbey is a senior policy analyst with the US EPA’s Smart Growth Program. Dalbey writes about and has spoken to a variety of audiences around the country on smart growth in rural areas, state policies that support better development patterns, school siting, and a range of other issues related to growth and development.  He is currently working with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Rebuild Iowa Office (RIO), and six communities in Iowa on incorporating smart growth approaches into long-term community recovery and resiliency. Prior to joining EPA in 2004, Dalbey spent five years on the faculty at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi where he taught in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.  The author of one book and several articles on planning, Dalbey is a graduate of the College of William & Mary (BA), the University of Virginia (master’s of city planning), and Columbia University (PhD).