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Reconciling explosive growth with often majestic landscape defines New Geographies of the American West. Geographer William Travis examines contemporary land use changes and development patterns from the Mississippi to the Pacific, and assesses the ecological and social outcomes of Western development. Unlike previous "boom" periods dependent on oil or gold, the modern population explosion in the West reflects a sustained passion for living in this specific landscape. But the encroaching exurbs, ranchettes, and ski resorts are slicing away at the very environment that Westerners cherish. Efforts to manage growth in the West are usually stymied at the state and local levels. Is it possible to improve development patterns within the West's traditional anti-planning, pro-growth milieu, or is a new model needed? Can the region develop sustainably, protecting and managing its defining wildness, while benefiting from it, too? Travis takes up the challenge , suggesting that functional and attractive settlement can be embedded in preserved lands, working landscapes, and healthy ecologies.
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William Riebsame Travis, Ph.D., Clark, 1981, is associate professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His work focuses on natural resources management, culture and landscapes of the American West, public lands, and the evolution of governing approaches to western land and resources. He has a long-term research interest in how groups, like ranchers, construct notions of landscapes and resources.Review:
"Environmental geographer Travis analyzes the land use trends of the past half century in and surrounding many of the West's most diverse landscapes and ecoregions. It is a daunting task, in that his is also a diagnostic approach; the work proposes ways in which future development can sustain the West's ecological and cultural values." -- K. Edgerton, Montanta State University at Billings (K. Edgerton, Choice 2009-05-01)
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