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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

Video week: the conservation imperative for smart growth

Kaid Benfield

Posted July 22, 2011 in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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  Frederick County, MD (by and courtesy of Kai Hagen)

It's certainly well-known among my colleagues that I am passionate about cities.  I'm proud to think of myself as an urbanist who believes we can no longer accept sprawl as the dominant form of land use in America.  Instead, we must direct growth and development in ways that strengthen our existing cities and communities.

There are many environmental, economic and ethical reasons why this is so, but for me personally none is more compelling than the need to reduce development pressure on our remaining natural and rural landscapes.  There is a bargain implied in smart growth: looking toward Cunningham Falls in MD (by and courtesy of Kai Hagen)every vacant or underutilized acre that we develop in our existing communities at a walkable density displaces what would otherwise be five to six acres of sprawl and lost landscape. 

It's a bargain worth making.  And it has two sides:  those who love natural areas must commit to accepting the right kind of growth in our existing communities, in order to save as much nature as we can in the countryside; and those who love cities must commit to conservation of natural landscapes and accepting limits on sprawl so that cities and towns can be reinvested and strengthened.

I'm passionate about cities, but I am also passionate about wilderness.  I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina before I migrated to the big city.  My friend Kai Hagen (a terrific photographer whose photos accompany this post), on the other hand, grew up in Washington, DC - within walking distance of where I live now, by coincidence - and migrated to the mountains.  In this short and very well produced video by The Wilderness Society, Kai reminds us why the conservation side of smart growth matters every bit as much as the development side:

 

Link to the page on The Wilderness Society's site that features Kai and the video here.  Every post this week will feature an educational and entertaining video.  Move your cursor over the images for credit information.

Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment.  For more posts, see his blog's home page

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Comments

Kai HagenJul 22 2011 09:11 AM

Thanks for sharing the "my wilderness" video, Kaid...and for your kind words.

Kai HagenJul 22 2011 09:17 AM

Oh, and if you don't mind, thought it would be good to offer a link to the full page the video is part of on The Wilderness Society's site:

http://wilderness.org/mywilderness/kai

Kaid @ NRDCJul 22 2011 10:37 AM

My pleasure. Done.

amikaJul 30 2011 10:42 PM

is the under-construction mass-transit rail system for the city of Bangalore, India. The agency responsible for its implementation is the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL). The first stretch between Baiyyappanahalli to M.G. Road was scheduled to open on April 4, 2011 on the occasion of Ugadi.[2] However it failed to meet the deadline due to delays in obtaining safety approvals. The metro is expected to reduce the traffic volume in areas like Majestic (Kempegowda Bus station and Bangalore Railway Station), Sampige Road, Hudson Circle and M.G. Road.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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