What Is Safe Growth America?

The goal of Safe Growth America is to build environments that are safe for current and future generations of people and to protect structures, transportation and utility infrastructure, and the natural environment — including food systems — from damage.

Planners and policy makers must consider the sources of risk, such as geologic or weather-related natural hazards, technological hazards that generate pollution or poisons, terror, error, crime, and economic hardship.

Planners might intervene to make development safer at many different points. They might affect the degree of risk through:

  • wise location decisions
  • influencing policy decisions
  • adopting and enforcing appropriate construction design standards and regulations
  • providing incentives for compliance
  • following procedures that insure participation and accountability
  • introducing safety considerations into discussions
  • encouraging conservation of land and energy

The 2004 Symposium

In 2004, APA's professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, held a symposium on Safe Growth to share the stories of those communities that have developed safely and those that have encountered unsafe physical, social, or economic situations. The symposium presented the Safe Growth America Checklist, a safety assessment tool to help identify exposure to risk at the neighborhood level. Planners, developers, homeowners, and interested citizens will be able to use the assessment tool to begin the process of working with planning agencies to mitigate unsafe situations in neighborhoods.

Other Safe Growth America Activities

Many other activities throughout the organization are planned on the topic of safe growth, in addition to the growing literature from APA on wildfires, landslide hazard, and planning.

In March 2004, Practicing Planner, APA's quarterly publication for certified planners, featured a mini-case study of how Arlington, Virginia, has approached security design. Late this year and early in 2005, The Commissioner (APA's newly redesigned publication for planning commissioners) included features on Safe Growth and Risk Assessment.

Planning magazine has featured a series of Safe Growth articles in 2005.

The 2005 National Planning Conference in San Francisco featured a special educational track on various aspects of Safe Growth.

A CD-ROM, Planning for Safe Growth, is available from Planners Book Service. It includes audio recording synchronized with a PowerPoint presentation, program transcript, PowerPoint presentation note sheets, questions and answers, and supplemental reading materials.