Since World War II, urban growth has increasingly contributed to a handful of social and environmental problems, such as rising emissions of greenhouse gasses, increased obesity, and decreased personal communication and connection in communities. However, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s Planning with POWER Project’s latest publication, Sustainable Land Use: Impact on Climate Change and Health, argues that a new kind of land use—smart growth—is a potential solution to these problems in communities across the country.

The six-page report describes the features and impacts of smart growth, which seeks to re-integrate different land use developments. Such neighborhoods are designed to have shops, offices, schools, churches, parks, and other community amenities near homes, so that residents and visitors have options of walking, bicycling, taking public transportation, or driving. Neighborhoods that offer alternatives to driving will reduce carbon dioxide emissions caused by cars while encouraging healthier modes of transportation.

The report also provides a study-based foundation for the complications created by current development and the demographic changes that make smart growth necessary.

Planning with POWER seeks to inform citizens so that they can get involved and influence land-use decision makers in their communities. For more information or to download the publication, visit or contact Robert McCormick.