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Why Infill Development May Be Bad for Your Health

A new study has created unexpected tensions between public health advocates and smart-growth-oriented urban planners.
January 12, 2012, 7am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Bernice Yeung looks at recent analysis by Oakland's Pacific Institute and public health advocates that document the friction between California state law mandating smart growth to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the negative health impacts of certain urban environments.

"According to the Pacific Institute analysis, about a quarter of Bay Area land prioritized for smart-growth development under the 2008 law intersects with the air district's high health risk communities."

"Infill development could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by locating more housing near job centers and public transportation, making it easier for people to avoid driving long distances to meet their everyday needs," the report stated. "However, infill development could also expose more people to toxic air pollution if more housing is sited near freeways and other freight-related land uses without accounting for the risks that this poses to human health."

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Published on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 in California Watch
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