Balanced Growth

Land Planning & Policy

The Upstate is growing. By 2040, our region’s population is projected to reach nearly 1,750,000 – an increase of 64% since 1990. The real issue, however, is how and where we are accommodating that growth.

Antiquated land use policies in urban and suburban areas prioritize cars over people — limiting housing and mobility choices and making it virtually impossible for public transportation to operate efficiently. Our policies are also failing to protect our tree canopy and green spaces in these areas, so vital to residents’ health and quality of life. Too often, these negative impacts disproportionately affect lower-income communities and people of color.

Meanwhile, unchecked development in rural areas is rapidly consuming valuable farmlands, straining infrastructure that cannot support it, and is incredibly inefficient to serve — setting up future residents for an insurmountable tax burden.

Most of us want mobility options, housing choices, and access to clean water and safe green spaces. We want local farms to thrive and to preserve important natural resources. We also want economic development, but not at the expense of all other community priorities. Unfortunately, many of our existing land development policies fail to strike a balance among all of these important goals. 

If we want to ensure a high quality of life for Upstate residents, we must embrace a new approach to land development – one that expands housing choices, mobility options, and green spaces in urban and suburban areas, and reduces inefficient and unsustainable sprawling development into our remaining forests and farmlands.

Upstate Forever's Land Planning & Policy team works with elected and appointed officials, residents, business leaders, and the development community to advocate for land development policies that balance economic development with other community priorities — including mobility options, housing choices, and access to clean water and safe green spaces. Our success depends on the voices of all residents — join us today!


Featured projects

citizens planning academy

This interactive course is designed to help Greenville residents, business owners, and neighborhood leaders understand processes that drive local planning and land use policy decisions as well as the roles and perspectives of diverse stakeholders. 

Shaping Growth in Greenville County

Greenville County is growing rapidly. We are working to ensure that many voices are at the table as land planning and policy-making occurs and that adopted policies balance economic development with other community priorities — including mobility options, housing choices, and access to clean water and safe green spaces.

impact Greenville 

We have partnered with a diverse group of stakeholders working to shape public policy at the intersection of housing, transportation, and land use to achieve a more prosperous Greenville County.


Rapid change is already underway, as are planning processes to better manage anticipated growth. We are engaging with residents, councilmembers, and other stakeholders to encourage responsible, equitable growth and development in Spartanburg.


Past projects

Envision Landrum: Moving from Plan to reality

In 2019, Landrum officials are pursuing new ordinances and amendments to align the town's zoning with Envision Landrum, the town's 2017 comprehensive plan update. 


This groundbreaking study shows an urgent need for more balanced growth in the Upstate.

Heart of Boiling Springs

A diverse group of local citizens and decision-makers develop a roadmap to transform Boiling Springs in Spartanburg County into a more active, healthy community. 

Planning for less pavement and more green infrastructure

Large paved areas threaten water quality and aquatic life, but can easily be reduced with simple changes to development standards and incorporation of green infrastructure strategies.



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