Measuring The Impact Of Maryland's Smart Growth Plans

Though former governor Parris Glendening is often seen as the father of smart growth, studies indicate that even with the state's efforts, little progress has been towards reigning in sprawl.

"The architect of Maryland's decade-old Smart Growth policy spoke up for it yesterday, arguing that despite its shortcomings at curbing suburban sprawl it has helped revitalize dying downtowns across the state and kick-started a national movement to build more transit-oriented, walkable communities.

Speaking in Annapolis at a conference reviewing the growth-management law he crafted, former Gov. Parris N. Glendening acknowledged that a few metropolitan areas and states such as Oregon and Seattle have had more success than has Maryland at reining in low-density development. He pointed out that those states and regions imposed strict growth boundaries and development regulations - something he said was not politically viable in Maryland then or now.

"We did good; we could have done better," he said, summing up afterward. "But most important, we stimulated a national debate that really changed policy."

Though studies have shown his approach of using state funds as a carrot to encourage compact development seems to have had little effect on the spread of suburbia, Glendening contended that other elements of his policy clearly succeeded, funneling money into downtown revitalization in cities such as Baltimore, Easton, Hagerstown and Hyattsville. The state also preserved more than 400,000 acres of rural land from the bulldozer during his eight years in office, he pointed out."

Full Story: Smart Growth policy defended

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