The smart growth movement aims to combat urban and suburban sprawl by promoting livable communities based on pedestrian scale, diverse populations, and mixed land use. But, as this book documents, smart growth has largely failed to address issues of social equity and environmental justice. Smart growth sometimes results in gentrification and displacement of low- and moderate-income families in existing neighborhoods, or transportation policies that isolate low-income populations. Growing Smarter is one of the few books to view smart growth from an environmental justice perspective, examining the effect of the built environment on access to economic opportunity and quality of life in American cities and metropolitan regions.
The contributors to Growing Smarter-urban planners, sociologists, economists, educators, lawyers, health professionals, and environmentalists-all place equity at the center of their analyses of "place, space, and race." They consider such topics as the social and environmental effects of sprawl, the relationship between sprawl and concentrated poverty, and community-based regionalism that can link cities and suburbs. They examine specific cases that illustrate opportunities for integrating environmental justice concerns into smart growth efforts, including the dynamics of sprawl in a South Carolina county, the debate over the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and transportation-related pollution in Northern Manhattan. Growing Smarter illuminates the growing racial and class divisions in metropolitan areas today-and suggests workable strategies to address them.