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URBAN SPRAWL MODELING, AIR QUALITY MONITORING AND RISK COMMUNICATION: THE NORTHEAST OHIO PROJECT
Petersen*, D, L. Stein, R. R. Kaufman, AND M. Lalley. URBAN SPRAWL MODELING, AIR QUALITY MONITORING AND RISK COMMUNICATION: THE NORTHEAST OHIO PROJECT. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/625/R-02/016 (NTIS PB2003-103297), 2002.
The Northeast Ohio Urban Sprawl, Air Quality Monitoring, and Communications Project (hereafter called the Northeast Ohio Project) provides local environmental and health information useful to residents, local officials, community planners, and others in a 15 county region in the Northeast Ohio area. Focus groups consisting of staff from state and local government agencies and representatives of neighborhood, civic, religious, academic, development, banking, business, and environmental groups had previously identified urban growth and environmental quality as the top regional problem. The Northeast Ohio Project addresses the environmental impacts posed by urban sprawl (the random spreading of low-density development beyond a city's boundaries); provides near real-time data on air quality related to individual and public health; and conducts an extensive community outreach program on sprawl and air quality issues. Communicating environmental and health risks to the public has increasingly become a responsibility of local and state officials and private groups involved in environmental monitoring. People have come to expect access to more information about local air quality, for example, and advances in environmental monitoring and computer technology (such as the Internet) have made timely communication of environmental conditions possible, sometimes on a daily basis. This Project was part of EPA's 1996 to 2002 Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) Program, which assisted communities in providing the public with time-relevant environmental and associated health-risk information. Local governments involved in the program identify and use effective methods to collect, manage, and distribute environmental health information in a timely manner to the public. Handbooks such as this one then share with other communities across the country the experiences of municipalities that have successfully accomplished these data collection and communication objectives so that other communities might develop or expand their own local environmental monitoring, modeling, and communication programs.