Land Use 595

In the 19th century, land use intensified with industrial-scale agriculture and manufacturing, transforming the land and regional environments. The introduction of carbon-based fuels began to transform the global climate as well.

by government policy (such as suburban mortgage subsidies, restriction of urban investment, urban flight, and the triumph of the automobile over transit in the United States) residential and commercial land-use development rapidly expanded outside existing urban boundaries to transform enormous swathes of undeveloped or agricultural land. The resulting low-density sprawl continues to drive—and, in turn, is driven by—the development of highway transportation infrastructure that encourages the seemingly endless growth of vehicle miles traveled and the attendant emission of carbon dioxide and other non-point source air pollutants.

As developing nations strive to join the global economy, their land-use choices also contribute significantly to global warming and climate change. Not only can these developing, largely agrarian, economies ill-afford the latest in power generation and pollution-control technologies (to limit greenhouse gas emissions), but the very survival of their populations often depends on the transformation—some say destruction—of natural landscapes that play a key role in climate protection. The large-scale deforestation of the Amazon Basin by Brazilian peasants and international corporations seeking to compete in global agricultural markets is gradually eliminating a globally-essential carbon dioxide sink. The chaos of unplanned urbanization and economic development are major contributors to the production and release of global warming gases.

Second-order land-use changes are motivated by first-order transformations. As populations respond to changing land uses—to urban development, suburban sprawl, and their attendant climatic effects— more land is ultimately transformed. Sprawl begets sprawl and amplifies local and global climate forcing. Intelligent reuses of previously developed land and those parcels left vacant as a result of leapfrog urban development (brownfield and infill development sites) can mitigate the resulting climate impact by limiting the development of new (highway) transportation infrastructure with its resulting climate

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