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The case for megapolitan growth management in the twenty‐first century: Regional urban planning and sustainable development in the USA

Edward H. Ziegler (University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Denver, Colorado, USA)

International Journal of Law in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1756-1450

Article publication date: 10 July 2009

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate significant problems in the US' development pattern of regional automobile‐dependent sprawl and local growth management and to make suggestions about adopting a regional growth management model that might better provide for more sustainable development of the built environment.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews trends in the USA and elsewhere to determine the negative effects of the current system of sprawl and the potential benefits of developing higher‐density urban centers. The paper also looks to models in some US cities and Europe to further analyze potential legal and political issues related to this type of regional sustainable development.

Findings

Unsustainable, automobile‐dependent regional sprawl is a result of local zoning, growth management, and parking programs and has negative effects both now and for the future. The result has been more time, money, and resources wasted in automobile transit instead of new planning models that would lead to a more sustainable and less automobile‐dependent future.

Practical implications

A metropolitan sustainable development governing framework for growth management in the twenty‐first century is essential for a sustainable future. This includes higher‐density urban centers, transit‐oriented development centers, and a change in public attitude away from “not in my back yard” thinking.

Originality/value

This paper provides the potential benefits of creating a metropolitan governing framework to identify and regulate “growth areas” in a region. It further demonstrates how linking these areas to regional transit planning will help achieve the development of higher‐density, mixed use, and intensive urban core job/housing areas where people could live, work, shop, and play without the use of the automobile.

Keywords

Citation

Ziegler, E.H. (2009), "The case for megapolitan growth management in the twenty‐first century: Regional urban planning and sustainable development in the USA", International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 105-129. https://doi.org/10.1108/17561450910974722

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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