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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.