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Education and Smart Growth Policies in U.S. Cities: A Response to Lenahan O'Connell

Kent E. Portney
Social Science Quarterly
Vol. 89, No. 5, Special Issue on the Environment (December 2008), pp. 1378-1383
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42956380
Page Count: 6
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Education and Smart Growth Policies in U.S. Cities: A Response to Lenahan O'Connell
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Abstract

Objective. This response to Lenahan O'Connell's article "Exploring the Social Roots of Smart Growth Policy Adoption by Cities" examines whether the relationship between education and the adoption of smart growth programs in U.S. cities is reflective of the new political culture and rooted in postmaterial values or, perhaps, just reflective of a slightly different way of thinking about traditional economic development. Methods. Using data for 45 U.S. cities that have articulated broad policies to try to become more sustainable, this analysis includes a measure of the severity of air pollution as an indicator of the need for smart growth programs. Results. The measure of need is more strongly related to the pursuit of smart growth than is either education or income. Conclusions. Since the level of air pollution is frequently understood to make economic growth difficult or impossible, the results suggest that smart growth programs might be just as likely motivated by traditional economic development as by postmaterial values, and there is a need to develop a deeper understanding of the motivates for adopting such programs.

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