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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Environmental Planning and Policy in a Post-Rio World


A growing sense of an international environmental crisis has brought new attention to the field of environmental planning and policy, yet many of the planning techniques and policy mechanisms in the field reflect the characteristics of environ­ mental problems from the late 1960s and 1970s. The chal­ lenges of the 1990s are quite different from those facing envi­ ronmental planning and regulatory agencies when those agen­ cies were first established, and several emetging trends could compel new approaches to environmental planning and poli­ cy. This article discusses five major trends and their implica­ tions for environmental planning and policy in the coming decade. Together, these trends will require environmental policymakers to rely more upon incentives-based regulatory approaches that address the cumulative .efectf of many small, dispersed, ubiquitous emission sources that could have global impacts. Thisnewchallengecontrastssharplywiththehistoric regulatory approach in the United States, which has empha­ sized technology-oriented, standards-based, command-and­ control regulation oflarge, centralizedpoint sources ofpoilu· tion emissions. Unless environmental planning and policy institutions adapt to this new environment, however, they will not succeed.

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