7/8/2010 By Rachel Wells for Illinois Times
The catchphrase in city planning is no longer “urban sprawl” – a term that automatically turns too many people off from discussing environmentally friendly development. Instead, the conversation now focuses on “smart growth,” says Dr. Deanna Glosser.
To Glosser, president of Riverton-based Environmental Planning Solutions, Inc., urban sprawl is synonymous with a proliferation of impervious surfaces, such as asphalt parking lots, and the need for residents to spend more time driving their cars. The eventual result of that kind of development – increased flooding, more polluted waters and poorer air quality – is what smart growth aims to avoid.
“I’m glad we’re dealing more with the term ‘smart growth’ right now,” says Paul O’Shea, the city of Springfield’s planning and design coordinator. He and Glosser served as panelists at a recent Sustainable Springfield discussion on smart growth. O’Shea says that when he first expressed concern about urban sprawl in the capital city about four decades ago, residents’ most common reaction was disbelief that Springfield could have such a problem. “I think understanding the term ‘smart growth’ is more effective.”
O’Shea points to Springfield’s MacArthur Boulevard and Enos Park as great opportunities for infill development.