Management of multifunctional landscape in conformity with the prerequisites of the sustainable and harmonious development constitutes currently one of the priorities of spatial policy in the countries of European Union. This policy assigns a special significance to rural areas, subject to a very strong human pressure and the associated functional and spatial transformations of landscape. The purpose of the present report is to identify the conditions of regional development of the rural areas, linked with the concept of „smart growth“, and to illustrate them with the results of analysis of the factors determining this process, conducted for two territorial units of Poland, corresponding to the provinces of Greater Poland – situated in western Poland, and Podlasie – in the north-eastern part of the country. The choice of these provinces was by no means incidental, since they are representative, in terms of numerous socio-economic features, for the larger areas of western and eastern Poland. The results obtained indicate that smart growth can be considered a very important tool in development of the regional growth policies. It allows, on the one hand, for making use of the natural resources of the environment and of the socio-economic potential of the region, while on the other hand – to optimise regional growth in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.