Managing Voter Ambivalence in Growth and Conservation Campaigns
As cities and suburbs in the United States continue to sprawl and consume neighboring farmlands and open space, citizens are seeking methods to preserve their environments by controlling the rate of growth and development in their communities (The Trust for Public Land and Land Trust Alliance 2002; Fulton et al. 2001; Hollis and Fulton 2002; Myers 1999; Myers and Puentes 2001). Community purchase of open space and passage of regulations at the ballot box to manage the pace and location of development are driven in part by the same goals as the broader environmental movement. For over two decades, Americans have registered their worries about such environmental problems as air and water pollution and the loss of natural lands (Dunlap 1995; Dunlap and Scarce 1991). These concerns have spread more recently to the environmental consequences of unchecked development in urban communities, such as smog and pollution from automobile usage and the destruction of wildlife habitat for new housing construction. Current debates over urban growth, however, are not exclusively about the environment. They also revolve around worries that individuals have about the fiscal and social problems that often accompany commercial and residential development. As cities grow in size and population, residents must deal with overcrowding of schools, high costs of infrastructure, traffic congestion, and increased demands for public services (Downs 1994, 2000; Fulton et al. 2000; Hollis, Porter, and Tischler 2000; Katz and Bradley 1999; Orfield 1997, 2002).
KeywordsOpen Space Urban Sprawl Affordable Housing Building Industry Voter Approval
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