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Hall declares “era of greenfield development” over

The Maryland secretary of planning has a piece of green advice for everyone this Earth Day: go live in a city.

“While some might not think of cities as an environmentalist’s dream, the truth is that redeveloping and revitalizing in places that are already built is one of the greenest strategies we have,” Richard Hall writes on the Smart Growth Maryland blog.

“Encouraging residents to live and work in developed areas means they won’t need new homes and businesses in the countryside, which planners call greenfield development because, for decades, it occurred on fields. That was despite that fact that many of those fields contained irreplaceably productive soil for agriculture or had high habitat values,” Hall writes.

Hall goes on to declare “the era of greenfield development over” and says changing demographics make cities a better choice.

“Maryland has enough developed lands to service its expected population for decades. An MDP analysis shows that all of the state’s projected growth – an estimated 800,000 additional residents – through 2035 could fit within designated growth areas,” Hall writes.

The blog is consistent with the state’s Plan Maryland policy and with a request that Gov. Martin J. O’Malley in January asking the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission to speed up development of expected infill development policies and deliver them by August 31.