Land Use Planning Articles/Publications
Great Neighborhoods: Density in Your Community is
a report by the Local Government Commission, in cooperation
with EPA and the National Association of Realtors. It highlights
the success of community-led efforts to create vibrant neighborhoods
through density, connecs smart growth and density, and introduces
design principles to ensure that density becomes a community
asset, not a liability.
Excellent City Park System: What Makes It Great and How to
Get There, a report by the Trust for Public Land,
proposes seven measures of city park excellence, as identified
by city park directors and park and urban experts nationwide.
Schools-Good Neighborhoods is a report on the impacts
of state and local school board policies on the design and
location of schools in North Carolina that encourages the
development and maintenance of schools that strengthen neighborhoods
and increase physical activity among school-age children.
with Less Greenhouse Gases: State Growth Management Policies
That Reduce GHG Emissions, a report produced by the
National Governors Association's Center for Best Practices,
cites expanding transportation choices, conserving greenspaces,
and promoting new community designs as effective smart growth
strategies for reducing greenhouse gases.
of Smart Growth, a report from the Victoria Transport
Policy Institute, provides background information on smart
growth and contrasts it with sprawl. The paper concludes that
critics identify legitimate problems which smart growth advocates
must address but provide no convincing arguments to diminish
the overall value of smart growth.
Land and People
magazine is produced by the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a
national nonprofit working to conserve land for people to
enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring
livable communities for generations to come. Since its origins
in 1972, TPL has conserved over 1.6 million acres in more
than 2,600 projects, and has helped generate over $18 billion
in state and local conservation funding.
TPL publishes a full-color, semi-annual magazine "that
documents the lands we love and the passionate people who
work to protect them." Subscriptions are free.
Growth Helps Lower Consumer Location Costs for
Housing, Transportation, ULI Analysis Shows reports
on an analysis by the Urban Land Institute that shows metropolitan
areas with compact growth and mixed land uses are generally
less expensive places to live.
Jobs Are Back in Town: Urban Smart Growth and Construction
Employment, a study by Good Jobs First, provides evidence
that smart growth can create more employment opportunities
than sprawl for workers who build residential and commercial
structures and transportation infrastructure.
Weight, a column from the Michigan Land Use Institute,
explores the connection between two recent reports indicating
that Michigan has both the highest incidence of overweight
people and one of the highest rates of sprawl in the nation. Meanwhile, Hard Lessons: Causes and Consequences of Michigans School Construction Boom, an MLUI report, aims to help school officials
and community leader better evaluate the full cost of new
school construction or renovation, and recommends changes
in state policy that could capture the economic and cultural
benefits of renovating older schools or building new ones
and Smart Growth: Reversing School Sprawl for Better Schools
and Communities describes how the trend toward building
new schools on large sites far from existing development centers
can have far-reaching impacts on school children, school districts
and the larger community.
as a Civil Rights IssueA Mayor's Reflections (1.6
MB PDF) is an essay by Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr. of Rochester,
New York. According to the Executive Director of the George
Washington University Law School Center on Sustainable Growth,
Johnson's essay "argues that sprawl is fundamentally a
civil rights issue and that the emerging smart growth movement
can be harnessed to advance equal opportunity."
The National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW) published
Physical Activity Through Community Design. This 48-page
guide focuses on how to make communities more bicycle-friendly
A report from the Environmental Law Institute links conservation
funding with techniques to promote smarter growth and compatible
development on nearby lands, as a means of promoting government
effectiveness in conservation. Smart
Links: Turning Conservation Dollars into Smart Growth Opportunities
examines five states that have committed substantial amounts
of open space funding in ways that encourage local governments
to strengthen their control of development. (PDF)
The American Planning Association formally adopted a Policy
Guide on Smart Growth at the 2002 National Planning
Conference. The guide offers a specific clarification of the
much-debated definition of smart growth, as well as policy recommendations
for smart growth planning and development. It also provides
recommendations for planning structure, process and regulation;
transportation and land use; regional management and fiscal
efficiency; social equity and community building, and environmental
protection and land conservation.
A book by Myron Orfield, American Metropolitics: The New
Suburban Reality, analyzes past policies and programs that
have attempted - and failed - to address challenges of concentrated
poverty, sprawl, and inequitable distribution of resources.
Orfield lays out a comprehensive regional agenda to address
these problems, and discusses examples of political strategies
that have led to successful programs on land use planning, tax
equity, and regional governance. The table of contents and introduction
are available online.
The Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan
Policy has published a number of relevant reports, including
Link Between Growth Management and Housing Affordability: The
Academic Evidence, Investing in a Better Future: A Review of the Fiscal and Competitive Advantages of Smarter Growth Development Patterns, and Managing
Metropolitan Growth: Reflections on the Twin Cities Experience,
which seeks to outline an alternative, "third way"
toward managing metropolitan growth that takes into account
the subtle interplay of market forces and governmental policies.
Other reports include The
State Role in Urban Land Redevelopment (PDF), reporting
the results of an extensive survey of state legislative and
program initiatives that can boost cities to redevelop
vacant and abandoned properties, Back
to Prosperity: A Competititve Agenda for Renewing Pennsylvania,
contending that the economic future of a major rust belt state
depends on revitalizing its demographic mix and curbing some
of the nation's most radical patterns of sprawl and abandonment,
the City: An Analysis of New Homes vs. Household Growth,
Without Growth: the Upstate Paradox.
and Smart Growth in Metropolitan Portland, a study by
Northwest Environment Watch, finds that while greater Portland's
three Oregon counties "grew smarter," and encouraged
more compact, efficient communities, neighboring Clark County
sprawled - and lost more rural land and open space per new resident,
as a result.
As states struggle to balance budgets, they have
looked to cutting smart growth initiatives, a move some see
as "penny-wise and pound-foolish," according to Smart
Growth: Weathering the Storm, a March 2002 report from
NRDC, Sprawlwatch and Smart Growth America, that examines the
state of smart growth funding across the nation.
The Urban Land Institute report, Ten
Principles for Reinventing Americas Suburban Business
Districts, examines ways of turning suburban
shopping districts into to walkable, mixed-use developments.
Suburban living may not be healthy living, according
to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report Creating
A Healthy Environment: The Impact of the Built Environment
suggests suburban design may reinforce auto-centric habits that
limit or prevent healthy activities such as walking or biking.
The report is posted as a PDF Sprawl Watch Clearinghouse Monograph.
Community Design to the Rescue: Fulfilling Another American
Dream, from the National Governors' Association, describes
distinct alternatives to the developmental "sprawl" that has
dominated real estate growth over the last 50 years, and calls
for New Community Design (NCD) - vibrant neighborhoods of housing,
parks, and schools within walking distance to shops, civic services,
jobs and transit - as an antidote to sprawl and a powerful tool
for addressing many quality-of-life issues.
Smart Conservation for the 21st Century, from Sprawl
Watch Clearinghouse, calls for states and communities to make
green infrastructure an integral part of local, regional and
state plans and policies. The report argues that successful
land conservation in the 21st century will be more proactive
and less reactive and better integrated with efforts to manage
growth and development.
to Smart Growth: 100 Policies for Implementation is
a primer from the Smart Growth Network and International City/County
Management Association. The publication serves as a roadmap
for states and communities that have recognized the need for
smart growth, but are unclear on how to achieve it. Getting
to Smart Growth II (PDF) describes concrete techniques
of putting ten smart growth principles into practice. Similar
in format to the first volume, this new volume lists and describes
an entirely new set of 100 policies for implementation.
The American Planning Association's review, Planning
Smart Growth: 2002 State of the States finds that smart
growth measures are most successful in states where planning
statutes have been modernized and identifies common elements
that must be present if states are to succeed in modernizing
their comprehensive planning laws and implementing smart growth.
Growth for Neighborhoods: Affordable Housing and Regional Vision,
from the National Neighborhood Coalition in 2001, reviews literature
on research that has been conducted, looking for ways to strengthen
the connections between affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization
and smart growth. The Coalition also presents its recommendations
to ensure that smart growth addresses the needs of lower-income
communities and their residents, rather than contributing to
affordable housing shortages and gentrification.
The University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning
and Development is now making available online the proceedings
of its 2001 conference "Planning
the Post-Sprawl Era: Lessons and Challenges for Livability in
The Oregon 1995-2001 Governor's
Livability Awards Yearbook is now available online at
the Livable Oregon website. The yearbook profiles exemplary
development projects that promote healthy, livable communities
in Oregon. Criteria for the awards include efficient use of
land, a mix of uses, transporation options, sustainability,
balanced community value and quality design.
Managing Growth in Minnesota’s Growth Corridor, Executive Summary (PDF / 641 KB) a study by 1000 Friends of Minnesota, analyzes existing county plans and ordinances, and contains policy recommendations to encourage balancing conservation with growth.
Online comes an essay by James Howard Kunstler taking
environmentalists to task for considering human nature something
distinct from the rest of nature.
PLACE3S, a publication from the
City of Sacramento, available online in PDF, provides brief
case studies of each of the National Governors Associationís
ten Smart Growth principles. The purpose of the booklet is to
provide tangible examples of built and planned projects and
programs that strive to create a land use pattern based on smart
In 2002 Lincoln Institute
of Land Policy released a summary report of two leadership
retreats to discuss planning issues in the nation's fastest
growing region. Land
Use Planning and Growth Management in the American West
offered three recommendations, the Three Cs of Planning: Identify
the most compelling reasons to plan; use collaborative
approaches that involve the range of stakeholders in a meaningful
way; and foster regional connections build on a common
sense of place.
Supporting documents from the National Governors'
Association summit titled Private
Lands, Public Benefits are online. The meeting explored
publicly-supported working lands conservation as a tool for
attaining environmental and natural resource objectives.
According to a study supported by the Greater Lewes Foundation
and the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program, Its
not too late for coastal Sussex County, Delaware to address
increasing traffic congestion and land development issues. The
study offers recommendations to protect the coastal areas
quality of life. The full
report is available in PDF.
into Goldfields, a study from the Congress for New Urbanism,
shows how failed regional shopping malls could become vibrant
new neighborhoods and profitable developments. The study coined
the term "greyfield" to refer to the sites of failed
A report from the U.S. EPA (2000), titled Our
Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of Interactions
between Land Use, Transportation and Environmental Quality,
summarizes research on the relationship between the built and
natural environments, and addresses current understanding of
the role of development patterns, urban design, and transportation
in improving environmental quality. The complete report may
be downloaded as a PDF file from the Smart Growth Network.
Where Are We Growing?: Land Use and Transportation
in Middle Tennessee and Where Are We Growing?: Land Use
and Transportation in Virginia are reports issued by the
Environmental Law Center [PDF 764 KB] that examine changes in population,
land use, and transportation, discuss the impacts of current
trends and explore new directions being taken.
Neighborhood Schools in the Age of Sprawl: Why Johnny Can't
Walk to School, a report from the National Trust for
Historic Preservation, contends that public policies, including
excessive acreage requirements, funding formulas and planning
code exemptions, are promoting the spread of mega-school sprawl
on outlying, undeveloped land at the expense of small, walkable,
community-centered schools in older neighborhoods.
Author Johanna Miller, writing for the Michigan
Land Use Institute, discusses the role that revitalizing
neighborhood schools can have in promoting a healthy and safe
community, and saving transportation and infrastructure costs.
The 2004 American Community Survey sponsored by the National Association of Realtors and Smart Growth America says that top priority in deciding where to live for 79 percent of Americans was having a commute time of 45 minutes or less. Having sidewalks and places to walk was important to 72 percent.
Researchers have found smart growth planning can
lessen greenhouse gas emissions 15 to 30 percent by reducing
the amount of vehicle miles traveled, according to The
Smart Growth and Climate Change Connection,
a study from the Conservation Law Foundation.
The National Governors' Association Center for Best
Practices has a 2001 issue brief on How
Smart Growth Can Address Environmental Justice Issues
(pdf). The report focused on Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland
and their efforts to build on the community-based planning and
brownfields redevelopment elements of their smart growth efforts
to address environmental justice concerns.
Urban Sprawl: Rethinking the American Dream by David
Goldberg (Radio and Television News Directors Foundation) helps
reporters cover sprawl and its impact on our daily lives.
Way Sprawl Happens (pdf) examines how economic development
subsidies encourage sprawl in Minnesota's Twin Cities. The 2000
study, from the Good Jobs First project of the Institute
on Taxation and Economic Policy, details the socio-economic
impacts of subsidized corporate relocations on the metro core
as well as the adverse effects on highway congestion and air
quality. In 2003 Good Jobs First released Labor Leaders
As Smart Growth Advocates: How Union Leaders See Suburban Sprawl
and Work for Smart Growth Solutions.
Paying the Costs of Sprawl:
Using Fair-Share Costing to Control Sprawl explores
the need to quantify the true costs of sprawl and examines market-based
strategies for internalizing the costs of sprawl using development
impact fees and excise taxes.
Visions for a New American
Dream briefly discusses the societal impacts of sprawl.
Excerpted from a book by the same title, which presents the
process, principles, and an ordinance to plan and design small
- The Historical Roots
of Sprawl explains the history of sprawl and its subsequent
environmental and economic problems. Excerpted from "The
Economic Power of Sustainable Development: Building the New
American Dream," a chapter in Sustainable Cities: Concepts
and Strategies for Eco-City Development.
Join Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr. for a Virtual
Tour of Sprawl in Rochester, New York to "see how
uncoordinated growth threatens the character of our city, towns,
and villages...We will also explore how other communities around
the country are working together--as efficient regions -- to
make development an asset not a liability."
Are We Growing? Land Use and Transportation in the Greater Richmond
Region (PDF), a report from the Southern Environmental
Law Center, looks at trends related to issues such as farmland
loss, sprawl, open space development and traffic congestion,
and identifies some of the efforts to capture the benefits of
growth without incurring the costs of poorly planned development.
Growing by Choice or Chance: State Strategies for Quality Growth in South Carolina (PDF, 599 kb) is a report from the Urban Land Institute and the South Carolina Real Estate Center at the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business on the South Carolina Quality Growth Initiative that brought diverse
stakeholders together to evaluate land use patterns
and trends, explore impediments to quality growth and
identify potential quality growth solutions for the
Pedestrian Paradise describes
Vancouver's West End efforts to use mixed-use, high density
development as a strategy against sprawl.
Planning and Zoning for
Ecovillages--Encouraging News discusses the zoning
and planning issues involved in the development of Ecovillages.
from Nowhere, an article by James Howard Kunstler in
The Atlantic, examines Americas zoning laws and concludes
that it is a deficient system, which "corrodes civic life,
outlaws the human scale, defeats tradition and authenticity,
and confounds our yearning for an everyday environment worthy
of our affection."
In America: Past Experience and Future Goals
proposes a 10-point agenda to help America's communities accommodate
future growth in more environmentally sound and fiscally responsible
How to Make It Work outlines four policy innovations
that combined with existing environmental legislation could
add up to successful regional growth management and sustainable
Value of Open Space explores various methods
for accurately assessing the economic value of open space.
Corner Store--Cornerstone of a Livable Community presents
time-tested, place-making principles that can be adapted to
almost any place that people care about making livable.
Pattonsburg: No Walk in the Park explains how New Pattonsburg,
Missouri was designed to increase economic activity, while allowing
easy pedestrian access to goods and services.
The 1999 publication from The Trust for Public Land
The Economic Benefits of Parks and Open Space is subtitled
"How Land Conservation Helps Communities Grow Smart and
Protect the Bottom Line."
There Were Greenfields is a widely praised
book from NRDC and the Surface Transportation Policy Project
documenting the impacts of sprawl on the quality of life of
Based Municipal Land Use Planning (1999) is a book that
provides nuts-and-bolts solutions to sprawl that municipal land
use planners can implement, emphasizing integrated federal,
state and local land use plans.
Redeveloping Suburban Downtowns for a Sustainable Future
is a 1997 Masters thesis that presents a sustainable development
methodology to assist American suburban communities redevelop
their downtowns for a viable future.
Guide, a website furnished by the Planning Commissioners
Journal, identifies several key issues associated with sprawl
and provides directions to Web resources.
Growth News is an online service of the Smart Growth
Network that compiles news items from individual states, relating
to smart growth, land use planning, open space, and state and
local government initiatives.
posted by the Sustainable Development Institute, reports ideas,
projects, successes and issues related to the environmental
quality of coastal development and management from Nova Scotia
to the Eastern Caribbean, as well as weekly news headlines.
Redevelopment for Livable Communities
explores development strategies to effectively cope with 2.5
million new residents expected in Washington between 1990 and
Energy Yardstick: Using Place3s to Create More Sustainable Communities
introduces PLACE3S as an urban planning method designed to help
communities discern an effective path toward sustainability.
Tools of the Trade:
Oregon Handbook for Urban Growth Management (1995)
discusses policy tools that address land use, transportation,
and public facility problems that may arise due to ineffective
growth management in urban areas.
Land Use and Sustainability -- Guides for Sustainable Community
Development examines the way transportation infrastructure
and services are planned and developed at the state and local
levels in Florida and formulates options for implementing sustainable
Lines, the quarterly newsletter of the Lincoln
Institute for Land Use Policy, reports on a wide range of current
land use issues and policies. Archives are
offers a list of its all-time top 20 planning titles that
every planner should read, as well as an annual top 10 list
of newly released planning books.
Last updated: February 7, 2005
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