Growth management is often defined as the regulation of the amount, timing, location, and character of development. Growth management programs generally use techniques that are common to much of planning. Thus such plans are distinguished from more traditional plans by their intent and scope rather than by their implementing techniques.
Growth management programs became widespread in the 1960s as a reaction to the rapid suburbanization of the postwar period and the growth of environmental consciousness and concern. Growth management also gained strength from concern with national and global population growth even though the logical link with these concerns and local population growth is weak. Such programs raise a variety of equity issues, since controlling the rate and character of growth inevitably produces a variety of winners and losers, a point discussed in some detail in this chapter.
A number of subsequent growth management plans have been instituted in various parts of the country. Some, such as Boulder's, attempt to place a cap on growth, or to hold growth to some predetermined annual percentage rate. Others, such as Fort Collins's, seek to shape the pattern of growth without attempting to limit the rate.
Many states have instituted growth management programs, beginning with Hawaii in the early 1960s. In general, state growth management programs cover only parts of the state, frequently for environmental reasons. State controls on development usually do not supersede local controls. Rather, they constitute an additional level of control intended to see that larger-than-local issues are given adequate weight in the making of development decisions.
The term smart growth came into use in the 1990s, first in connection with Maryland's state planning efforts. Interest in smart growth has largely been generated by the perception of growing suburban sprawl and, in particular, by traffic problems associated with sprawl. Whether smart growth is a new idea or merely growth management under a more attractive name is a matter of some dispute among planners.
The concept of sustainable development harks back to the work of the Brundtland Commission in 1987. At the local level it shares many techniques with growth management and smart growth. One way it differs is in the very long time horizon, and perhaps another way is that its proponents are concerned with all scales of development from local to global. Still another difference is the very prominent position it gives to equity issues, though, as noted, whether the link between sustainability and equity is entirely logical can be argued either way.
The final section of this chapter cited Robert Verchick's three principles for planning for natural disasters—go green, be fair, and be safe—and then provided two case histories: New Orleans in the case of Hurricane Katrina and New York City in the case of Hurricane Sandy.