Lakewood, New Jersey, implemented a growth plan to create population and commercial clusters to support increased population density. The city has projected its current population to double by 2030 to 200,000 residents.
The Lakewood 2013 Smart Growth Plan, an updated version of its 2007 draft, addresses the need to improve infrastructure and resources to support a significantly larger population in the next 17 years. Currently, Lakewood’s family growth rate is around 50 percent per decade, and more people are moving to the city each year.
The ultimate purpose of the growth plan is to not only outline what improvements and developments must be made to accommodate residential growth, but ensure all governmental departments are working together and making adequate use of resources for efficient expansion. The growth plan includes local initiatives, county and state projects, as well as federally funded efforts for a diverse call to action. The plan includes adding residential and recreational developments to open spaces, and revitalizing the downtown area for increased economic activity.
According to the 2013 Smart Growth Plan, Lakewood will sustain the anticipated population increase by following specific principles including:
- Diverse land use
- Efficient, clustered developments
- Increased accessibility for pedestrians
- Appealing amenities
- Open spaces for scenic or farmland
- Various transportation options to reduce traffic
- Stronger engagement between residents and decision makers in community development
- Financially sound decisions that offer short and long-term benefits
- Different housing choices for a variety of family sizes and preferences
In addition, the plan includes an environmental preservation strategy to maintain existing recreational space and add new parks and preserves. More than 1,000 acres of open space will be preserved under the initiative and new open space will be zoned.
Managing Booming Populations
Many other nations worldwide are also dealing with predicted increases in population density in the next few decades. The Ministry of Health and Population in Kathmandu, for example, is drafting a population policy to ensure the government is prepared for changes in:
- Population size and growth
- Population environment
- Social and economic activity
- Fertility and family planning
The ministry has already composed 20-year population plan that aims to lower the growth rate to 2.3 percent from 2.1 percent by 2017. The latest population policy talks work to ensure resources and regulations are properly aligned to better manage migration patterns, balance growth and reduce poverty.
In Halton, Ontario, the Ministry of Infrastructure is amending its growth plan in light of predictions indicating the population will reach 820,000 by 2031. Jobs in the region are expected to total 390,000 by 2031 and then grow to 470,000 by 2041.
Amendments to the growth plan are intended to help decision makers plan for sustainable growth and make the necessary infrastructure adjustments to support the boom. The city has also launched the Places to Grow Implementation Fund to encourage growth strategies that fall under governmental goals and guidelines.
EfficientGov has tracked strategies municipalities are deploying to reduce the financial impact of growth plans and revitalize downtown areas for increased economic activity.