A new book published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Smart Urban Growth for China, edited by Yan Song and Chengri Ding, explores the prospects for a sustainable urban future for China. Increasing concerns about global warming, soaring gas prices, and environmental degradation are triggering interest in sustainable development, and China is no exception. Through more than two decades of rapid economic growth, China’s level of urbanization increased from 18 percent to 41 percent between 1978 and 2003, and it is expected to reach 65 percent by 2050. This growth threatens to produce shortages of land resources, damage to the environment, and social inequity. Chinese scholars, policy makers, and planners are probing whether smart growth doctrines developed elsewhere are applicable in China to help address these issues, the Lincoln Institute organized a conference, “Smart Urban Growth for China,” in May 2007. It was the second in a series to understand the evolution of changes taking place in China. Thirteen papers from the first conference were collected in the book Urbanization in China: Critical Issues in an Era of Rapid Growth, published in 2007.
Smart Urban Growth for China presents perspectives on sustainable urbanization in China based on conference discussions of such issues as: the lessons China might learn from other countries through their experiences in combating sprawl; growth patterns that are economically inefficient, environmentally unfriendly, or socially undesirable in Chinese cities; and finally, to what extent China’s fragmented planning system might be responsible for uncoordinated urban growth, and how might it be improved.
Planning Support Systems for Cities and Regions, edited by Richard K. Brail, invites readers to join in a virtual dialogue with its authors—educators, theorists, model builders, and planners—about technology and the social context in which technology is employed. While there is great potential in computer-based tools to enhance the effectiveness of planning, challenges remain in applying these tools in real-world planning environments. The Lincoln Institute has focused on tools for planners in a number of its recent books, including Kwartler and Longo’s Visioning and Visualization: People, Pixels, and Plans (2008), Campoli and MacLean’s Visualizing Density (2007), and Hopkins and Zapata’s Engaging the Future: Forecasts, Scenarios, Plans, and Projects (2007).
Planning needs and deserves the best support systems that modelers and system developers can deliver, said Armando Carbonell, senior fellow and chair of the Department of Planning and Urban Form at the Lincoln Institute. Planning Support Systems provides a glimpse at future tools suited to a planning process that has become, as Brail says, “more visual, more public, more accessible, and more collaborative.”
Finally, Twentieth Century New England Land Conservation: A Heritage of Civic Engagement, edited by Charles H. W. Foster, an adjunct research associate and lecturer at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and a faculty associate at the Lincoln Institute, has been published by Harvard University Press. The volume is the culmination of efforts by volunteer citizens and officials in state, federal, and nonprofit agencies who over the last several years have been dedicated to telling the story of the protection of the New England landscape in the six-state region. The work was supported by the Lincoln Institute, which has been sponsoring seminars and meetings of the Land Conservation in New England Study Group, as well as programs in land use planning for conservation, conservation finance, conservation easements, and land policy implications for climate change.