Why Nevada Needs Sustainable, Smart Growth

Sprawling cities like Las Vegas must rein in unchecked growth and promote infill development and more sustainable transportation modes.

April 28, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Las Vegas Sprawl

trekandshoot / Shutterstock

Cities like Las Vegas were largely built around the automobile in the optimistic mid-century era of massive urban expansion and highway construction. But according to an opinion piece by Linda Stout, “The solution to Las Vegas’ growing pains are sustainable urban planning and rapid decarbonization, not more suburbs and parking lots. In the age of climate change, our best options are smart growth and infill development.”

Stout argues that the Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act (SNEDCA), which state legislators passed last year and which could extend urban growth boundaries and encourage more single-family home construction, “reinforces patterns of car dependence and sprawl, jeopardizing Nevada’s mandated climate goals to reduce emissions 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, 45% by 2030, and net zero by 2050.”

Stout points out that the increasingly frequent climate disasters facing Nevada “do not impact communities equally,” aggravating public health threats in some of the most vulnerable communities. “People impacted most by discriminatory housing practices often have the fewest resources to deal with heatwaves.”

To reverse decades of sprawl, reduce emissions, and save money, Nevada needs zoning regulations and public infrastructure investments that favor high density and mixed use land development along with well designed public transit.

To promote more sustainable and equitable development, Stout suggests prioritizing infill development and “phasing out high emission vehicles and incentivizing a rapid deployment of energy efficient  public transit, trucking, and light rail.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2022 in The Nevada Independent

A image of the World's Columbian Exposition overlayed with a picture of Keanu Reeves in the rain from the movie Point Break.

Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’

Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.

August 8, 2022 - Reel Chicago

Kids

Opinion: Aging Population, Declining Fertility Requires Long-Term Investments

Faced with the dire consequences of a one-two punch of aging populations and declining birthrates, one writer has suggestions for how policy can help ensure a better future.

August 9, 2022 - Financial Times

People gather on a street with no cars during the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers in the Meatpacking District of New York City.

The Tide Has Turned Against Open Streets

Once a promising development for advocates pushing for a less car-centric future in cities, the open streets movement has ceded significant ground to cars since the height of the pandemic.

August 14, 2022 - The New York Times

Three blue Amazon delivery trucks at bays at a distribution center

Key Warehouse Centers Challenge Distribution Center Expansion

Communities near major e-commerce distribution centers are increasingly resisting new construction, citing air pollution and other public health impacts.

August 16 - Bloomberg CityLab

Yellow house on residential street in Atherton, California

Another Silicon Valley Enclave Resists Multifamily Housing

Ultrawealthy residents have blocked a proposal to build townhouse developments in one of California’s most affluent communities.

August 16 - The New York Times

Galveston, Texas

Flooding 210 Days a Year—No Storms Necessary

It no longer takes a storm to cause flooding in many coastal areas of the United States. Galveston, Texas could eventually face floods more than half the days of the year.

August 16 - Houston Chronicle

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.