State of Maryland's Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Initiative

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Location: Annapolis, MD, USA. State of Maryland - a small but diverse state facing growth and sprawl concerns and possessing significant natural resources

The Maryland Department of the Environment's (MDE's) Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Implementation Plan is a significant first step toward realizing the vision of a state environmental management system designed to meet the needs of Marylanders entering a new era. It is one part of a larger state plan being crafted as the result of the Maryland's Smart Growth Initiative launched in 1997.

In Maryland, as in many other states, the 20th century has been marked by exponential increases in population size, the amount of land settled, consumption of natural resources, and the degree of human health risk that may result from human actions. Although population continues to grow as the year 2000 approaches, no longer are there seemingly limitless amounts of land and natural resources. No longer does it seem possible that solutions to environmental problems can be brought about simply through the relatively "quick fixes" of technology. And no longer will the public bear the growing costs associated with a "business as usual" approach to government problem-solving.

In contrast, the 21st century promises to be an era during which great emphasis is likely to be placed on containing the negative impacts of growth while still fostering healthy economies, creating ways of working and living that do more than in the past to restore and sustain vital natural resources such as clean air and clean water, and regenerating "forgotten places." Such places, which have suffered from neglect over the years, may be found within urban, suburban and rural landscapes across Maryland and across the country. From inner city neighborhoods adjacent to land that became contaminated years ago before current laws were in place to abandoned mines that continue to pose environmental threats to the landscape and to precious water resources, these places represent opportunities for accommodating growth that truly is smarter and for improving the quality of life of Maryland's citizenry.

MDE's Smart Growth Implementation Plan will better prepare the Department to meet the challenges and realize the promises of the new era. By employing a results-oriented approach that can be measured and tracked over time, the Plan seeks to guide the Department's actions in a range of areas that impact growth and development in Maryland. The targeting of growth-related environmental infrastructure funding, the facilitation of brownfields redevelopment, and the fostering of transportation plans that support air quality improvement goals are but a few of the many ways in which the Plan contributes to the State's larger smart growth and revitalization effort.

As important as the Plan's many specific programmatic tasks are its focus on education and outreach to the interested public, key stakeholders such as local government, and to MDE's own employees. Through an ongoing process of assessment and internal/external feedback, MDE continues to improve its ability to address complex issues like smart growth and to evolve environmental management strategies that take a common sense approach to addressing these issues.

Read more at this project's website.

Transect Zone(s): T1 preserve, T2 reserve, T3 sub-urban, T4 general, T5 center, T6 core, SD district.
Status: Plan Approved
Project or Plan's Scale: Region
Project team designers: State of Maryland Office of Smart Growth
Project team developers: NA