News Release: September 11, 2014

The Next Generation of Environmental Sustainability

A perennial Planners Press favorite is now available in an updated and expanded second edition.

CHICAGO — How do you protect habitats, ensure clean waterways and improve air quality? The new edition of The Environmental Planning Handbook for Sustainable Communities and Regions (Planners Press) from the American Planning Association provides the tools, techniques and processes for communities, elected leaders and concerned citizens to take an active role in ensuring the viability of their community.

The Environmental Planning Handbook coverWritten by Tom Daniels, a professor of planning at the University of Pennsylvania, the expanded and fully updated edition explores how environmental sustainability has changed over the past decade. Daniel notes that climate change has replaced sprawl as the leading long-term threat to America's environmental quality. He also explores how cities, counties and states have taken the leading role, not the federal government, in creating climate action plans, green infrastructure plans and sustainability plans.

"America's growth and prosperity have come at a price," said Daniels. "The combination of population growth, sprawling development patterns and motor vehicle dependence has unleashed a widespread assault on the nation's air, water, landscapes and wildlife." 

Since the first edition, the United States has grappled with a number of natural disasters that have demonstrated the changing environmental situation. Disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy and a severe drought that affected two-thirds of the lower 48 states make it difficult to ignore the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, the need for water supply planning and the adaption to climate change. 

The Environmental Planning Handbook is organized into six sections:

  • Incorporating environmental plans into comprehensive planning efforts;
  • Protecting public health;
  • Addressing the challenges and programs that offer protection of natural areas such as wilderness, wildlife habitats, wetlands and coastal areas;
  • Managing the working landscape for farming, forestry and mining;
  • Focusing on the built environment for energy production such as hydraulic fracturing, transportation, green infrastructure and greenfield sites; and
  • Reviewing the progress of communities to date and the challenges that remain.

The Environmental Planning Handbook aims to increase the capacity of communities and regions to plan for and achieve environmentally sustainable development. "In short, environmental planning is a means toward the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental sustainability," writes Daniels. "History tells us that if the environment is not sustainable, economic and social disorder are sure to follow."

The Environmental Planning Handbook (ISBN: 978-1-61190-151-1) second edition is available through APA Books for $99.95 ($79.95 APA member).

Read an excerpt from the book. Media review copies are available by contacting Roberta Rewers at

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic, and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, with almost 40,000 members worldwide in nearly 100 countries.


Roberta Rewers, APA Public Affairs; 312-786-6395;