Case Study: Environmental Protection, Climate Regulation, and the Persistence of Sprawl in California
Sean Kennedy and Stephanie Pincetl
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
In the United States, California is a leader in implementing policies to address climate change and environmental protection. A closer look, however, reveals how changes in land use, a major driver of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts, continue unabated. For example, Newhall Ranch is a large-scale land development project in the northern part of Los Angeles County that meets state environmental regulations through the use of carbon offsets, rooftop solar, and investments in energy efficiency in low-income neighborhoods in distant areas of the county. While these mitigation measures meet state requirements, however, they also separate significant environmental impacts from the specific places where those impacts occur. By demonstrating how California’s environmental policies are being unevenly applied at the local level, this case study reveals how both developers and local planners are adapting new regulatory tools to perpetuate conventional sprawled development.
Recommended citation: Kennedy, Sean, and Stephanie Pincetl. 2019. “Environmental Protection, Climate Regulation, and the Persistence of Sprawl in California.” Case study. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.