Real Environmentalists Support Infill

Environmentalists have good reasons to oppose sprawled, automobile-dependent urban-fringe development, which displaces opens space (wildlife habitat and farmlands) and results in high rates of motor vehicle travel and energy consumption. However, every time environmentalists say, “don’t build here” they have an obligation to say, “instead, build more there”, and support affordable infill housing development in accessible, multi-modal neighborhoods; otherwise, they will reduce affordability and shift households to other locations.

Residents sometimes use environmental arguments to oppose urban infill, for example, that a new residential development has insufficient greenspace or will increase local vehicle traffic and pollution, but this ignores the much larger environmental damages that would result if a lack of urban housing forces families that would prefer smaller-footprint homes in walkable neighborhoods are forced to locate in lower-density, sprawled housing.

True environmentalists support compact infill development because this reduces urban sprawl, which reduces per capita land consumption, preserves openspace, and reduces automobile travel and associated costs.

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