What Can We Do?

Encourage Congress
to allow the U.S. population to stabilize.

Since 2002, population growth has accounted for more than two-thirds – roughly 12,000 square miles – of the loss of open space in America.

Local policy makers sincere in trying to curb sprawl in American cities have a number of policy actions and instruments at their disposal. Beyond the short term, however, local officials supportive of growth control and management can hope only to slow population growth — not stop it — if the national population continues to increase by some 2-plus million additional residents each year.

Federal immigration policy is projected to drive nearly all future population growth. Thus, long-term population growth in the United States is in the hands of federal policy makers.

Work on local solutions.

A stabilized population ALONE does not prevent sprawl. The role of increasing land consumption per person has fallen in the country as a whole, but it has always been a factor in the loss of open space in America.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a website devoted to Smart Growth at: https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth. It contains a number of practical resources for planners, activists, developers, and local officials to help promote smart growth, which EPA defines as: “a range of development and conservation strategies that help protect our health and natural environment and make our communities more attractive, economically stronger, and more socially diverse.”