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Name of Course 
Making or Faking Great Places – Design Guidelines for Smarter Growth / APA Event #27433

CM Credits Offered 
1 CM

Course Description
No community intentionally embarks on a path to being just an “OK” place.  But many communities are beginning to realize that redevelopment built under the guise of Smart Growth, results in little more than infill McMansions, high, density, townhouse clusters and strip mall makeovers.  This type of development may look different but it falls short of building upon the visual character that makes a community unique. Coming out of the recent economic recession communities everywhere are facing a new planning paradigm – sprawl is not sustainable.  Changing demographics, a new interest in public health, environmental concerns and a desire for energy efficiency are topics influencing the planning conversation as more and more communities adopt principles to promote smart growth to guide infill and redevelopment.  The issue is that redevelopment built under the banner of smart growth often reflects the latest in design-build construction with no regard for existing building form, architectural style or materials.  This pattern book approach of smart growth may be “compatible” with surrounding development but robs a community of the character that makes it a great place. This presentation was put together for planners who are interested in developing design guidelines or updating existing guidelines that will ensure smart growth reflects the distinctive and unique character of their community … making it a great place.

The presentation will identify:

1. The legal framework at the federal and local level that gives communities the authority to regulate aesthetics, character and materials;
2. The policy and regulatory tools available at the community level for implementing character;
3. The process for engaging the public to define the character that will make their community a great place.

View our course on YouTube
Take the course exam
Take our course evaluation

Begin our online course
  (This will create an account with us and store all of your education record in one place.  Once logged in, you will be able to see our course video and take the exam.  If you would prefer not to create an account with us, please click the links above to view our course on YouTube, take the exam and fill out the course evaluation.)

          CM I 1

AICP members can earn free Certification Maintenance (CM) for this online course.  More information about AICP's CM program can be found at

If you have any of questions, please contact Tricia Mauer at