The “No-Growth” Movements in American Communities

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 2
Words: 284
Reading time:
< 1 min

The rapid development of cities is creating three phenomenons. The first one is urban decay. Ghettos are rising up to swallow inner cities and the poverty and squalor are enough to make residents flee to the suburbs. The next one is called urban sprawl where the outer-fringes of the city are rapidly being developed to give way to residential areas. The third one is gentrification where the wealthy marches back into the city and reclaim the area damaged by urban blight. They transform the once ugly parts of the city and transform it into something beautiful. But the problem with gentrification is that it upsets the balance and harmony of the community, displacing people who can no longer catch up with the increasing value of the property.

These three implications of rapid development led others to initiate the no-growth movement. As the name implies proponents of this idea would like to significantly limit the growth of cities. It did not take long to realize the folly of such ideas. It is not a good thing to artificially stifle the economic growth of an urban center. Therefore, a better alternative is needed, the solution is Smart growth instead of zero growth.

According to Downs, “Smart growth makes the relationship between public investment and promoting desirable land uses and community building projects explicit. In Maryland, for example, the state will consider funding only in preferred development areas where existing infrastructure can support development and where projects contribute to existing communities” (2004). The name of the game is sustainability and the designing of projects that will improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the city.