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The Local Identity of Smart Growth: How Species Preservation Efforts Promote Culturally Relevant Comprehensive Planning

January 2013

Citation: ELR 10024

Author: Whitney G. Stohr

The concept of sustainable development encourages practitioners to view national, regional, and localized growth in terms of environmental, economic, and sociocultural impact. Traditional planning strategies primarily address the environmental and economic elements of metropolitan planning; in many circumstances, the sociocultural element is limited to efforts to achieve greater social interaction via walkable downtowns, parks, and other institutions conducive to community interface. A fundamental change in the manner in which planning authorities view the sociocultural element of sustainability is necessary. Culture exists in many forms, including historic buildings and battlefields, traditional market economies, predominant ethnic and spiritual traditions, and important geophysical attributes. Using local culture to inform the nature of growth can create a sense of place that is socially and culturally relevant. Shared cultural ideals, namely the preservation of politically and culturally significant species, can be utilized as a vehicle for comprehensive planning strategy.

Whitney G. Stohr, J.D., LL.M., is a Visiting Researcher at the Environmental Law Institute and an M.S. student in Forest Resources and Conservation: Ecological Restoration, University of Florida

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