Bad development patterns are influenced by many factors, such as regional and national policies that promote sprawling developments and hinder smart growth.
Sprawl also happens on a project by project basis. One bad decision after another results in a poorly planned, quickly expanding community that ends up suffering from increased air and water pollution, traffic congestion, declining cities and towns, and loss of it's historical identity. Educated and active community members are the greatest defense against sprawl.
As a resident in the community, your input is critical to making sure good decisions are made. You can help steer the direction your community goes in by making sure you speak up on development decisions that affect your quality of life. Here are some practical strategies for people who would like to combat sprawl:
- Chime in! It is your right to be heard on issues that will affect your family and your community. There are several ways to find out about local transportation and development issues and give your input. By participating in neighborhood organizations and attending public hearings on upcoming projects in your area you can make sure your ideas on how your community should grow are heard. Speak out in favor of traffic calming, better pedestrian and biking facilities, more transit choices and smarter land use. This is the best way to fight sprawl.
You can learn about public hearings and get information on transportation and land-use issues in your area through articles and announcements in your local paper or by visiting your state or local planning and transportation web site.
- Get connected. Find your local Sierra Club chapter and support local Challenge to Sprawl efforts. You can learn about the local projects, attend meetings and share your ideas and concerns.
- Write a Letter to the Editor. When you see articles in your local paper about transportation or development projects, pen a short letter to the editor in support or against the project or to add a different perspective. Many people hate sprawl and love the transit, pedestrian, and bike facilities or smart growth developments in their communities and would like to see more, but few speak up about it. You can start a new dialogue about good solutions and alternatives to sprawl.
- Take Action! Learn about transportation and sprawl related policy decisions in Congress that can affect your community and weigh in with your opinion.
- Join the Sierra Club.
Photo courtesy Dan Burden; used with permission.
Up to Top | Printer-friendly version of this page