How the Best Laid Smart Growth Plans go to Waste

Since the 1990s, Maryland has been at the forefront of Smart Growth planning at the statewide level. However, a new study shows that the state's incentive-based approach may not be adequate for inducing the changes envisioned by planners.

"A new study of the Washington, D.C., metro area, set for publication in Urban Studies, found that Maryland counties often spurn the state's smart growth incentives, instead pursuing their own preferred type of development," reports Eric Jaffe. "Despite the contentious nature of legal planning mandates, in many cases they would be more effective."

By comparing the recent growth of several Maryland counties with similar ones in Virginia (where no statewide smart growth plan is in place), report author Amal K. Ali of Salisbury University found mixed results. "Maryland counties lost less farmland than Virginia counties did, but on other measures of sprawl, such as density, the Maryland counties didn't perform so well."

"Simply put, when it comes to development, local desires often render state smart growth incentives insufficient, Ali concluded in her paper."

Full Story: Why We Shouldn't Rely on Smart Growth Incentives to Fix Sprawl

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