December 17, 2009

Governments Must Legislate
to Create 'Green' Communities

Law expert says national and local governments must work together to impose far-reaching "sustainable development" laws on local communities.

ABINGDON, OXFORDSHIRE, UK — A call for sweeping changes to land use and planning legislation comes from John R. Nolon, Professor of Law at Pace University, writing in Planning & Environmental Law, which Routledge publishes for the American Planning Association.

"Combating climate change requires that the full legal power, technical capacity, financial resources and historical strengths of all levels of government be integrated into a single system of management, mitigation and sustainable development," Nolon writes.

He argues that government can demand low-mileage lifestyles and energy-efficient buildings only by creating new legislation that is enforceable through the courts and a strict system of penalties.

"Buildings and privately owned vehicles generate almost half of all CO2 emissions in developed countries, so our whole infrastructure needs to be more energy-efficient," Nolon said in commenting on his article "Climate Change and Sustainable Development: The Quest for Green Communities."

"The environmental planning framework we currently have in the United States and elsewhere will not cut CO2 emissions quickly enough," he continued. "We need to encourage local leaders and citizens to accept more compact, mixed use neighborhoods, public transport, wind turbines, solar panels, district energy systems and all else it takes to make communities green.”

Nolon's articles, published in Volume 61, issues 10 and 11 of Planning & Environmental Law, are available at:

Climate Change and Sustainable Development: The Quest for Green Communities Part I

Climate Change and Sustainable Development: The Quest for Green Communities Part II


Lisa Mahan, Marketing Manager, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group; +44 (20) 701 76221;