Nassau County’s development through the 20th century gave rise to sprawling suburban developments that necessitated the automobile and extensive roadway development. Nassau’s County’s 2010 Master Plan projected expected land use expansion over the next few decades based on current land use trends and population growth to discover an unsustainable trajectory. If this growth is dispersed throughout the county consistent with current land use trends, it is expected that traffic congestion, energy consumption and carbon emissions will continue to grow at current rates corresponding to population growth. Dispersed development will not support investments in transit, will require investments in infrastructure and services, and will continue to consume natural resources and capital.
To mitigate the increased carbon footprint they will have due to increased population, Nassau plans to concentrate growth in downtown centers to alleviate other parts of the county from out-of-scale development – particularly of single-family homes that would increase vehicular traffic. This also includes concentrating investment into underutilized commercial corridors i.e. strip-malls. The county also plans on focusing on transit-oriented development to create a walkable environment with public transportation alternatives to further reduce the county’s impact on climate change. Revering the trends of suburban sprawl by concentrating growth in downtowns/centers, underutilized commercial areas, and within planned redevelopment areas will reduce the impacts associated with growth, such as traffic congestion, energy consumption, and carbon emissions. At the same time, the rational concentration of growth will help to foster neighborhood revitalization, healthy and walkable communities, as well as establish the new paradigm for an economically and environmentally sustainable future.