The Pennsylvania Environmental Council, working with a number of other groups, has taken the lead in convening and building a statewide coalition of organizations to press for legislation and education to foster better land use decisions in the state.

The council will expand its "10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania" initiative to seek a more consistent and effective framework for planning and zoning in the state and across jurisdictions.

The guiding principles of the alliance of organizations include: promoting economic development to revitalize existing communities as well as central and neighborhood business districts; protecting farms, forests, streams, and historic, recreational and natural areas; concentrating development around existing infrastructure; pursuing social equity in community planning; providing a mix of affordable housing alternatives; coordinating state and federal policies with local policies; and providing funds to achieve these goals.

The alliance is an outgrowth of "Challenging Sprawl," a symposium that took place last year to study how Pennsylvania can do a better job of guiding growth that supports the economic viability of its cities and towns. For information, contact PEC at 1-800-322-9214.