P2Rx Topic Hubs - Guides to Community-Reviewed Resources on the Web
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Background and Overview
Reasons for Change
P2 Opportunities
Where to Go for Help
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About Smart Growth
Definition and explanation of smart growth including references.
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About Smart Growth
EPA description of Smart Growth.
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Discovering Common Ground
Summarizes steps that state and local governmental agencies can implement to decelerate sprawl and d...
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The Historical Roots of Sprawl
Excerpted from "Sustainable Cities: Concepts and Strategies for Eco-City Development" and outlining ...
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P2 and Sustainable Community Development: Overview and Background

Pollution Prevention and Community Growth

Background and Overview

Pollution prevention (P2) and sustainable development have much common ground, including limited resources. Because their goals are inextricably linked, a combined momentum can achieve more for both:

  • reducing or eliminating pollution before it happens
  • sustainable communities

In addition to building a broader base of support for action, this teamwork would result in both the development of more creative solutions and a greater opportunity for educating the public. Combined efforts could achieve the dual ends of these two groups through a single means and result in communities where people want to live and work, with more green space, fewer traffic jams and sustainable use of available resources.

Land can be developed in ways that:

*Limit erosion and nutrient pollution

*Decrease mobile source air emisisons

*Encourage the cleanup and reuse of previously used land

*Generate cleaner and healthier communities

Development Patterns
Current development patterns and practices inadvertantly contribute to both a decline in the quality of life and an increase in pollution. The causes, trends and impacts of land conversion are all closely interrelated. Causes, such as governmental policies, explain trends which result in environmental, societal and economic impacts. Planning for livable communities can prevent growth problems including:
  • Urban sprawl or inefficient use of land leading to loss of agricultural lands and green space
  • Additional car commuting and increased traffic
  • More road building with resulting impacts on waterways
  • Short-term building practices which maximize speed of assembly without addressing long-term impacts to owners, communities and the environment

Residents say they want "livable communities." They want to avoid taking the same development route that other regions now regret, but urban land use in EPA Region 8 increased 33% between 1982 and 1992 (Source: Urban Land Institute). Continuation of this unsustainable growth trend will significantly decrease the quality of life in these communities. While stemming this tide is a daunting task, it can be achieved through a series of small-scale decisions made by informed individuals in state and local government. By getting citizen input on growth management, elected officials will have constituency support when making difficult or controversial decisions.

P2 and Sustainable Community Development

Pollution Prevention focuses on source reduction and elimination of the discharge of hazardous wastes, but also includes practices that protect natural resources through conservation and efficiency. Adoption of this precautionary principle by planners, developers and residents results in a more holistic approach to planning and economic development, with an appreciation of the fragility of ecosystems, the scarcity of resources, and the limits of the environment to absorb our waste.

  Growth Management is NOT no growth; rather it is development that creates more livable communities by growing them efficiently within existing developed areas. It embraces ideals of affordable housing, farm protection, equal access to resources and historical preservation while promoting clean air and water, and freedom from hazardous wastes. It revitalizes central cities and older communities, supports and enhances public transit, and preserves open spaces and agricultural lands.

If houses are in proximity to employment, parks and shopping, there
will be less driving and a lower demand for road building and
extending infrastructure to remote areas.

P2 Goals
Overlapping Goals
Sustainable Community Goals
  • Reduce or eliminate toxics
  • Protect the health of workers
  • Reduce vehicle miles travelled
  • Minimize infrastructure expansion
  • Use energy, water and other resources more efficiently
  • Environmental justice*
  • Minimize waste
  • Green building design

*change existing situation where pollution sources are located mainly in areas of low income

  • Revitalize blighted urban areas
  • Keep taxes affordable
  • Make housing affordable and mixed-income
  • Enhance access to nature
  • Foster local business development
  • Foster job retention
  • Reduce hours spent in traffic
  • Neighborhood identity and stability
  • Protect farms

Environmental Benefits of Smart Growth
According to EPA Smart Growth at http://www.epa.gov/livability/about_sg.htm, a more balanced pattern of growth will not only include prevention pollution, but benefit the environment. Smart Growth can:

  • improve air quality by reducing automobile emissions
  • protect water quality by creating fewer paved surfaces, with related toxic runoff
  • redevelop brownfields into useful/productive spaces
  • preserve open spaces by redirecting growth to existing communitites

The Community Growth Topic Hub was developed by:
Peaks to Prairies
Contact Laura Estes at Peaks with questions or comments:
406-994-3451 or laurae@montana.edu