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November 27, 2008

How the (unintended consequences of) the EIS process fostered suburban sprawl

Atlantic Yards Report

Developer Jonathan Rose shares his opinions on what is wrong with environmental impact statements and their effect on suburban sprawl.

"One person chooses to build a 1000-unit urban project in a city and they get held up for five years in an environmental impact statement," he concluded. "And so the unintended consequence of NEPA [National Environmental Protection Act ] actually was one more of the many things that made it easier for suburban sprawl to proceed from 1970 to 2000 instead of urban redevelopment."
NEPA is also a poor planning tool, he says, because of its heavy reliance on environmental impact statements, whose accuracy he believes is unproven. "I ask this of Planning magazine readers: Does anybody have a good, broad-based study of a diverse group of environmental impact statements of [completed] projects that 10 years later were back-tested to see if the predictions were accurate?"

One of the reasons he believes they can't be accurate is that "they look at projects from a granular point of view; essentially, they look at a project by itself, and not the whole system."


Posted by lumi at November 27, 2008 4:30 AM