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Air Quality

Model Ordinances & Sustainable Development Resource Tools

Land Use Planning

DHEC considers land use and travel behavior to be linked. These two issues are likely linked by travel patterns and the resultant emissions of air pollutants produced by cars, trucks and other internal combustion powered vehicles can impact air quality. DHEC does not directly address land use planning or policy in its permitting program. However, historically as land development increases, so does growth in vehicle miles traveled, possibly resulting in increase air emissions. DHEC is providing this information to assist citizens, local government officials, including transportation planners to encourage the development of land use policies to improve community livability and air quality.

Land use planning is the term used for a branch of public policy which encompasses various disciplines which seek to order and regulate the use of land in an efficient and ethical way, thus preventing land use conflicts.

Land use planning may be understood as a comprehensive approach to addressing practices to reduce urban sprawl. Among the potential benefits to more efficient planning for land use and incorporation of better policies and zoning are:

  • reduced traffic congestion,
  • reduction in travel commuter times,
  • reduce emissions that contribute to air pollution,
  • more green spaces,
  • more effective use of energy, and
  • more sustainable communities.

At its most basic level, land use planning is likely to involve zoning and transport infrastructure planning. In most developed countries, land use planning is an important part of social policy, ensuring that land is used efficiently for the benefit of the wider economy and population as well as to protect the environment.

Environmental planning will often address the implications of development and plans upon the environment, for example Strategic Environmental Assessment. At the very local level environmental planning may imply the use of tools to forecast impacts of development decisions, including roadway noise, and pollution, surface runoff and flooding assessments.

Because of the many disciplines and knowledge domains involved, land use planners are increasingly making use of Information Technology, such as Geographic Information Systems, and Spatial Decision Support Systems, to assist with analysis and decision-making.

All documents linked below are in pdf format.


For more information please contact the Bureau of Air Quality at (803) 898-4123 or by email.