Fitzpatrick, Malcolm S.
Although the concept of sustainability first arose over 20 years ago, it has only recently begun to garner the attention of those in positions to do something about it. Though many different definitions of sustainability exist, the most widely accepted one is that sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future. Unfortunately, for the past fifty years or so developers and planners have been compromising their future, which has in turn become our present. Automobile independence and its associated ills of pollutions, sprawl, social inequity and wastefulness of time, resources and space has become the norm in America. In other words, current transportation and growth management policy in both the United States and Worcester specifically is not sustainable. As an increasing number of American cities have in recent years recognized this fact and begun seeking out more efficient and sustainable ways to manage growth and invest in transportation. With so-called "smart growth" strategies coupled with investment in new, efficient mass transit systems, they are finally planning not only for today, but for tomorrow. However, it is important to note that most cities investing in the strategies are doing so out of sheer necessity because of their size. Although Worcester is a midsized city and not yet suffering from the problems of nonsustainability as acutely as larger cities, it can benefit just as much if not more so from "smart growth" strategies and investment in mass transportation before the problems become more severe.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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Civil and Environmental Engineering