AREC Faculty and Student Publish "Farmland and Forest Conservation" Chapter in the Handbook on Smart Growth

November 10, 2022

AREC Faculty David A. Newburn, Lori Lynch, along with graduate student Haoluan Wang recently published Farmland and forest conservation: evaluation of smart growth policies and tools as a chapter in the Handbook on Smart Growth. The Handbook will be discussed at a Hybrid Book event at UMD on December 8 at 3:00 Eastern Time.  For more information, see the link here . 

One of the main smart growth principles has been the preservation of open space, farmland, and critical environmental areas. Looking over the last 30 years, Newburn, Lynch and Wang discuss four policy approaches used to manage growth and aid in land conservation: Regulatory techniques such as zoning alter the location and density of allowable development within designated areas. Incentive-based policies (taxes, subsidies) adjust the price in the existing land market  to encourage certain land uses.

Participatory preservation programs such as purchase of development rights programs (PDR, PACE) in which government agencies and land trusts may purchase land parcels outright or create easements to retire the development rights from landowners. Lastly, we have transfer of development rights (TDR)  programs in which developers purchase and retire development rights from willing rural landowners, in exchange for the right to develop elsewhere at higher density than allowed under current zoning. They then draw several policy implications to reframe urban-rural planning and describe synergistic policies for improving land preservation. For example, policymakers need to recognize that rural areas are heterogeneous and thus the management of exurban large-lot development on septic systems should be incorporated into planning as a third tier. They present several research challenges in policy evaluation and future research needs to develop a new smart growth agenda for land conservation. 

The Handbook on Smart Growth: Promise, Principles, and Prospects for Planning was edited by Gerrit Knaap, Rebecca Lewis,  Arnab Chakraborty, and Katy June-Friesen. It examines the evolution of smart growth over the past three decades, mapping the trajectory from its original principles to its position as an important paradigm in urban planning today. Critically analyzing the original concept of smart growth and how it has been embedded in state and local plans, contributions from top scholars in the field illustrate what smart growth has accomplished since its conception, as well as to what extent it has achieved its goals.