Smarter Growth

9780812250244: Hardback
Release Date: 7th June 2018

15 illus.

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 256

Series The City in the Twenty-First Century

University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

Smarter Growth

Activism and Environmental Policy in Metropolitan Washington

Smarter Growth offers a fresh understanding of environmental politics in metropolitan America, using the Washington, D.C. area as a case study to demonstrate how public officials and their constituents engaged in an ongoing dialogue that positioned environmental protection as an increasingly important facet of planning and development.

Hardback / £52.00

Suburban sprawl has been the prevailing feature—and double-edged sword—of metropolitan America's growth and development since 1945. The construction of homes, businesses, and highways that were signs of the nation's economic prosperity also eroded the presence of agriculture and polluted the environment. This in turn provoked fierce activism from an array of local, state, and national environmental groups seeking to influence planning and policy. Many places can lay claim to these twin legacies of sprawl and the attendant efforts to curb its impact, but, according to John H. Spiers, metropolitan Washington, D.C., in particular, laid the foundations for a smart growth movement that blossomed in the late twentieth century.

In Smarter Growth, Spiers argues that civic and social activists played a key role in pushing state and local officials to address the environmental and fiscal costs of growth. Drawing on case studies including the Potomac River's cleanup, local development projects, and agricultural preservation, he identifies two periods of heightened environmental consciousness in the early to mid-1970s and the late 1990s that resulted in stronger development regulations and land preservation across much of metropolitan Washington.

Smarter Growth offers a fresh understanding of environmental politics in metropolitan America, giving careful attention to the differences between rural, suburban, and urban communities and demonstrating how public officials and their constituents engaged in an ongoing dialogue that positioned environmental protection as an increasingly important facet of metropolitan development over the past four decades. It reveals that federal policies were only one part of a larger decision-making process—and not always for the benefit of the environment. Finally, it underscores the continued importance of grassroots activists for pursuing growth that is environmentally, fiscally, and socially equitable—in a word, smarter.

List of Abbreviations

Introduction
Chapter 1. A River Revived
Chapter 2. Where Have All the Forests Gone?
Chapter 3. Desperate for Growth
Chapter 4. The Road to Sprawl
Chapter 5. A Master Plan for Agriculture
Chapter 6. Saving Farms from Development
Conclusion

Notes
Selected Sources
Index
Acknowledgments

John H. Spiers is Manager of Faculty Services, Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital.