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New slogan for growth is go slow, lawmakers say

Smart Growth, a philosophy that has helped define redevelopment in Windsor, Petaluma and even Rohnert Park, is being tweaked a bit.

Fresh from a Smart Growth conference in Charlotte, N.C., Windsor Councilwoman Debora Fudge tweeted this week that the new guiding principle is "slow development," given the current economy.

Fudge said the realization came from a two-hour talk given by architect Andres Duany, often described as the father of New Urbanism, which is synonymous with Smart Growth and its emphasis on designing walkable, dense, mixed-use neighborhoods.

"He said we were moving into a slow development phase, a new way of looking at development based on the new economy staying with us a long time," Fudge said. "We can't afford to optimize things anymore."


Fudge said "optimization" essentially represents many of the demands made on developers, especially the environmental "gold" or "platinum" certifications that denote cutting-edge practices.

"When you want people to build in your city center, you're asking them for higher density and affordable housing," she said. "You can't also demand platinum LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design). People will barely be able to afford to build."

Duany has been warning that the current environmental movement has been captured by a high-tech ethos with expensive features such as triple-glazed windows, eight inches of insulation and green roofs.

He advocates "original green," or a more simple economic approach.

Fudge said that she and Windsor Councilman Sam Salmon, as well as their Rohnert Park counterpart, Jake Mackenzie, were "sort of blown away" by Duany's talk.

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