Report | 2001

Grappling with Growth: Building a Strong Economy and Great Place to Live


This paper was written for communities that are conflicted over issues surrounding local growth and development. Michael Kinsley argues that the word, “growth” is deceptive and has many meanings. Separating the concepts of development (the things that make a community better) and expansion (the things that make a community bigger) help inform the argument. “Smart growth” is a popular but incomplete concept. Instead of smart growth, an understanding of natural capitalism offers a more comprehensive way to maximize a community without necessarily requiring expansion. Investing in resource productivity, shifting to biologically inspired economic models, and reinvesting in natural capital are concepts of natural capitalism that can effectively inform development in a manner that creates jobs and wealth while protecting the environment. This document was originally published in 2001 and updated in 2007. “