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Conservation Communities: Nature

The publication defined conservation development as the process of planning, designing, building and managing communities that preserve landscapes. - Photo courtesy of Urban Land Institute

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WASHINGTON, DC - The beneficial impact of conservation development as way to both accommodate population growth and save land in outlying suburbs and rural areas is highlighted in ''Conservation Communities: Creating Value with Nature, Open Space and Agriculture,'' a new publication from the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

Authored by ULI Senior Resident Fellow for Environmental Policy Edward T. McMahon, the book showcases conservation communities as a shift away from the sprawling, highly land-consumptive development practices of the past to more sustainable practices that will pick up momentum as the economy recovers. Landscape architects and contractors may need resources such as this book, as the industry continues to go green.

According to McMahon, conservation development - which involves preserving large amounts of land in perpetuity as part of the overall development plan - can temper the backlash against sprawl that has spawned widespread no -growth movements in many of the outlying greenfield areas far from urban cores.

''When new development is balanced with plans for the permanent protection of open space, Americans are more likely to accept responsible development initiatives as reasonable and appropriate,'' McMahon wrote. ''The first principle of better development is figuring out where not to develop. This applies at every scale, from the individual site, to the neighborhood, to the region. Every community needs a long-range conservation plan. When citizens think all land is up for grabs, they are likely to oppose all new development everywhere.''

The publication defined conservation development as the process of planning, designing, building and managing communities that preserve landscapes or other community resources that are considered valuable for their aesthetic, environmental, cultural, agricultural and/or historic values. The term also can refer to a community that results from this process.

''Conservation development requires an integrative, systemic and holistic approach to land use planning and development,'' McMahon explaied. ''It can help communities preserve open space and protect rural character. Most important, it can enhance property values and minimize infrastructure costs. It can foster the development of graceful, environmentally responsible and livable communities that appeal to today's increasingly sophisticated consumer.''

- Courtesy of Urban Land Institute

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November 18, 2019, 10:45 am PDT

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