Smart Growth


Sprawl is haphazard, auto-oriented development that spreads outside of existing downtown centers while attending devastating impacts on our environment.

Impacts of sprawl-style development:

  • Increases pavement levels. Did you know? a one-acre parking lot produces 16 times more stormwater runoff than a one-acre meadow)
  • Destroys forests. Did you know? tree cover saved one city $5.3 million per year on residential energy use, runoff reduction, and air pollution removal)
  • Increases traffic. Did you know? nationwide, air pollution from cars annually results in 120,000 premature deaths and $40-50 billion in health care costs.
  • Launched in 2005, Riverkeeper’s Smart Growth Campaign began with an investigation of the many negative impacts of unchecked development in the East-of-Hudson Watershed.

    What we found in NYC Watershed communities:
    Sprawling development is destroying our watershed communities and polluting our critical drinking water supplies. Sprawl’s greatest threat to water quality is the attendant increase in impervious surfaces, primarily pavement.

    To protect water quality and watershed communities, Riverkeeper actively participates in the environmental review process when developments are proposed in the watershed. We work hard to stop the most egregious project from being built and ensure that the environmental impacts of those are built are minimized by advocating for reduced project size and use of progressive building technologies and practices.

    • Riverkeeper's Two Part Report on SprawlPave It…Or Save It?

    • Sprawling Challenges

    • Rapid Wetland Loss

    • Steep Slope Development

    • Addressing the challenges of sprawlRecommendations for the NYS Smart Growth Cabinet

    Tell Gov. Hochul to block invasive species at the Erie and Champlain canals
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