Tim Lehman examines the political battles over public policies to protect farmland from urban sprawl. His detailed account clarifies three larger themes: the ongoing struggle over land use planning in this country, the emerging environmental critique of m
Activism and Environmental Policy in Metropolitan Washington
Author: John H. Spiers
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Category: Political Science
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.
The essays in this volume deal with complex, troublesome, and interrelated questions regarding land: Who owns it? Who can use it? What happens when private rights are seen to infringe upon the public good?
Hugh P. Possingham Landscape-scale conservation planning is coming of age. In the last couple of decades, conservation practitioners, working at all levels of governance and all spatial scales, have embraced the CARE principles of conservation planning – Comprehensiveness, Adequacy, Representativeness, and Efficiency. Hundreds of papers have been written on this theme, and several different kinds of software program have been developed and used around the world, making conservation planning based on these principles global in its reach and influence. Does this mean that all the science of conservation planning is over – that the discovery phase has been replaced by an engineering phase as we move from defining the rules to implementing them in the landscape? This book and the continuing growth in the literature suggest that the answer to this question is most definitely ‘no. ’ All of applied conservation can be wrapped up into a single sentence: what should be done (the action), in what place, at what time, using what mechanism, and for what outcome (the objective). It all seems pretty simple – what, where, when, how and why. However stating a problem does not mean it is easy to solve.
Public trust is the notion that the state is obliged to manage certain properties and associated rights under its control in the public interest. This volume outlines rationales and methods for applying the doctrine of public trust to contemporary environmental management of coastal areas.
What, exactly, is private property? Or, to ask the question another way, what rights to intrude does the public have in what is generally accepted as private property? The answer, perhaps surprisingly to some, is that the public has not only a significant interest in regulating the use of private property but also in defining it, and establishing its contour and texture. In The Public Nature of Private Property, therefore, scholars from the United States and the United Kingdom challenge traditional conceptions of private property while presenting a range of views on both the meaning of private property, and on the ability, some might say the requirement, of the state to regulate it.