"Sprawl" describes a pattern of development characterized by increasing amounts of developed land per person, scattered, low-density development, and the fragmentation and loss of open space. Sprawl and other poor development practices impose significant negative impacts on air and water quality, reduce the quantity and quality of wildlife habitat, and limit recreational opportunities for area residents.
Source: Calculated using land use data from the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Natural Resource Inventory and population data from the US Census Bureau.
Poor land use planning, the rapid and uncontrolled expansion of suburban areas, and the decline of existing town centers are some of the factors leading to sprawl. Smart growth efforts work to prevent sprawl and reduce the environmental and social impacts of poorly managed growth and development. DES has a number of efforts underway to discourage sprawl and support smart growth efforts. For example, DES helped the Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) inventory over 3,600 important natural and cultural resources across the state. DES is now working with the RPCs to promote better local land use planning to protect these resources. DES’s Brownfields program and also help deter sprawl.
Contact Carolyn Russell at (603) 271-3010 for more information on how DES and others might help you pursue smart growth.
Other Resources for Information on Smart Growth
- Center for Watershed Protection - In particular, see their model ordinance for open space developments and other example ordinances to protect water quality!
- EPA Region I site on spraw
- Local Government Commission
- National Main Street Center
- New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning
- Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO)
- Scenic America
- Web Sprawl Guide