Smart Growth & Urban Infill

Smart Growth & Urban Infill

photo of urban commuters

Photo by Coppola Photography

What is “Urban Infill”?

"Urban infill" is a term for adding new development to already developed neighborhoods, thus increasing density through new housing, as well as commercial, retail, and public facilities.

It is a key strategy for minimizing sprawl and vehicle miles traveled by reducing the need for people to drive from point A (their homes) to point B (the grocery store, work, the doctor, and recreation). Minimizing sprawl and reducing reliance on the automobile are important Sierra Club priorities to advance climate action, public health, and environmental justice. 

The Sierra Club’s Urban Infill Guidance, developed in 2021, is advisory only - it does not set any new policy for the Sierra Club. The guidance provides meaningful guidance to activists across the country to help apply the organization’s Urban Infill Policy at the local level. We include an overview of how land-use decisions get made, how to get involved in the process to ensure that urban infill policies are included in local plans and ordinances, what types of housing and transportation projects, plans, and policies we should support and oppose; and how to guarantee adequate and meaningful public participation, especially by historically underrepresented groups.



The Infill Task Force, Healthy Communities & Transportation volunteer team, and the Clean Transportation for All campaign hosted a series of webinars to go through various sections of the guidance.