For Immediate Release
March 20, 2009
Contacts: Neil Tickner, 301 405 4622 or email@example.com
UM Expert to Head U.S. EPA's Smart Growth Division
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland's John W. Frece is taking his years of "smart growth" expertise and experience to the Obama Administration to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Smart Growth division.
Frece just stepped down as associate director of the University of Maryland's National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education. This week he took the reins as director of the EPA's Development, Community, and Environment Division. The unit offers technical assistance to state and local governments, sponsors and conducts smart growth research and supports a variety of networking and outreach efforts.
"We have a tremendous opportunity at this particular moment to make major progress in smart growth - and it's about time," says Frece, who has been active in the field for about 15 years, most recently at UM. "There's a pent-up demand for a comprehensive policy approach to encourage development patterns that do not cause environmental damage. Look at what happened when gas was at $4 per gallon: the necessity for an efficient and wise use of land became more apparent than ever. Land use, transportation and climate change are inextricably linked, and people are making the connection. Armed with research, we can make the most of this opportunity."
ROLE OF RESEARCH
Frece asserts that research conducted across the nation provides needed information about which smart growth policies work. For example, he points to research at the University of Maryland showing that procedures in some localities have backfired - unexpectedly encouraging growth in precisely the areas the policies intended to protect.
"Research represents the vital difference between good intentions and good smart growth policy," says economist Gerrit Knaap, director of the University of Maryland's National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education and Frece's former boss.
"John has a great opportunity here and he brings decades of experience to the job," Knaap says. "There's no reason that development can't be good for the environment, public health and the economy at the same time. The research is clear: when smart growth policies are well-crafted, they can balance the needs of developers, consumers and communities."
SMART GROWTH AT MARYLAND
The National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education is a non-partisan center for research and leadership training on smart growth and related land use issues in Maryland, in metropolitan regions around the nation, and in Asia and Europe.
The mission of the Center is to bring the diverse resources of the University of Maryland and a network of national experts to bear on issues related to land use and the environment, transportation and public health, housing and community development and international urban development. The Center accomplishes this through independent, objective, interdisciplinary research, outreach and education. It is a cooperative venture of four University of Maryland schools: Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Public Policy, Agriculture and Natural Resources and Engineering.
Other UM smart growth-related initiatives are listed online.
UM PARTICIPATION IN THE OBAMA AND BUSH ADMINISTRATIONS
In addition to Frece's move to the EPA, Edward Montgomery, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences serves as a high-level consultant to the Obama Administration on labor policy and as a member of the Labor Department's commission overseeing reform of the nation's automakers.
The Bush Administration's Trade Representative, Susan Schwab, recently returned to UM's School of Public Policy. Also, the former Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein, has joined the faculty of the College of Information Studies (the iSchool).
Because of UM's proximity to Washington, D.C., its many research partnerships with federal agencies and leadership in areas such as smart growth and climate change, many University of Maryland faculty and researchers bring high-level federal government experience to College Park, as well as sharing their expertise with government policy-makers.
SMART GROWTH DEFINED
Smart growth covers a range of development and conservation strategies to help protect the natural environment and make our communities more attractive, economically stronger, and more socially diverse.
Information provided by the Office of University Communications
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