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Trends and solutions to unsustainable land use in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States


Current land use and transportation trends, coupled with increasing consumption of vital resource lands and habitat, are undermining 30 years of environmental progress and threatening the quality of the air, water, land and living resources in the Mid-Atlantic Region. This Trends and Solutions Series is a comprehensive, datadriven, visual presentation that describes the trends and forces behind sprawl development, unsustainable transportation trends, consumption of vital resource lands, and destruction of habitat in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Series also includes trends in quality of life, economic data, and showcases solutions to current land use problems, including transit-oriented development. For the past three years, the EPA Region 3’s Center for Sustainability has been developing and presenting the Series, which has been viewed by over 1000 people, including government officials, universities, local government officials, and non-profit organizations. The goals of the Series are to 1) concretely link air, water, land pollution, and loss of habitat with current land use and transportation practices; 2) promote better transportation and land use decision-making by local governments and citizens by visually demonstrating land use strategies that protect the land, air, and water, promote healthy communities, and advance a sustainable economy. Data and trends has been synthesized into a complex and telling story of how land use and transportation choices, including the dramatic increased in impervious surfaces such as roads, highways and parking lots, are now being linked with a decrease in water quality and aquatic life. Data includes sources from EPA, DOT, USFWS, U.S. Forest Service, National Resources Inventory Data, American Farmland Trust, and the Chesapeake Bay Program. Most of the indicators have been reviewed for validity by a team of EPA scientists and managers.

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