Environmental Planning and Sustainability
Environmental planning is the process of facilitating decision making to carry out land development with the consideration given to the natural environment, social, political, economic and governance factors and provides a holistic framework to achieve sustainable outcomes. A major goal of environmental planning is to create sustainable communities, which aim to conserve and protect undeveloped land.
Environmental planning concerns itself with the decision making processes where they are required for managing relationships that exist within and between natural systems and human systems. Environmental planning endeavors to manage these processes in an effective, orderly, transparent and equitable manner for the benefit of all constituents within such systems for the present and for the future. Present day environmental planning practices are the result of continuous refinement and expansion of the scope of such decision making processes.
In the United States, for any project, environmental planners deal with a full range of environmental regulations from federal to state and city levels, administered federally by the Environmental Protection Agency. A rigorous environmental process has to be undertaken to examine the impacts and possible mitigation of any construction project. Depending on the scale and impact of the project, an extensive environmental review is known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and the less extensive version is Environmental Assessment (EA). Procedures follow guidelines from National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and/or City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR), and other related federal or state agencies published regulations.