The Madeleine Brand Show for September 2, 2011

Ideal of "smart growth" in Central Valley easier said than done

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Sasha Kokha/KQED

The California Report's Sasha Kokha tests out the car-free "smart growth" development by taking a walk to the store ... 5 miles away in the hot Central Valley sun.

High gas prices and environmental concerns are driving many Californians to spend less time in their cars. That's easy in dense cities like L.A. or San Francisco, where you can walk or take public transportation. But in the sprawling communities of the central valley, options are more limited. So planners there are trying to encourage "smart growth" housing developments in rural areas. They're meant to mimic walkable urban centers so residents don't have to use their cars. But as The California Report's Sasha Kokha found out - the reality is less than ideal.

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