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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Smart Growth

"Sprawl" describes a pattern of development characterized by increasing amounts of developed land per person, scattered, low-density development, and the fragmentation and loss of open space. Sprawl and other poor development practices impose significant negative impacts on air and water quality, reduce the quantity and quality of wildlife habitat, and limit recreational opportunities for area residents.

Evidence of Sprawl: Increase in Acres of Developed Land per Person
Source: Calculated using land use data from the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Natural Resource Inventory and population data from the US Census Bureau.

Poor land use planning, the rapid and uncontrolled expansion of suburban areas, and the decline of existing town centers are some of the factors leading to sprawl. Smart growth efforts work to prevent sprawl and reduce the environmental and social impacts of poorly managed growth and development. NHDES has a number of efforts underway to discourage sprawl and support smart growth efforts. For example, NHDES helped the Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) inventory over 3,600 important natural and cultural resources across the state. NHDES is now working with the RPCs to promote better local land use planning to protect these resources. NHDES’s Brownfields program and also help deter sprawl.

Other Resources for Information on Smart Growth

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

copyright 2017. State of New Hampshire