Sustainable Building & Development - Open Space
As new subdivisions, strip malls, supercenters and commercial office parks sprawl across the country, local officials face the difficult task of balancing the potential economic benefits of growth against the needs of the existing community, including the need for open space.
In this context, "open space" may include small areas within communities or larger tracts on the perimeter. In either case, open space can provide opportunities for sports and recreation, for citizens to escape from the pressures of everyday life, for wildlife to find habitat and refuge, and for plants and soil to assist in the removal of toxins from our environment. Careful management of open space helps ensure that prime farm and ranch lands are protected, flood damage is mitigated, and clean drinking water supplies are maintained and recharged.
Open space preservation begins with a comprehensive managed growth plan.
The Smart Growth Network is a national organization formed in response to increasing community concerns about the need for new ways to manage growth, protect natural resources and enhance communities. The site is funded by the EPA and membership is free.
The Environmental Protection Agency has a section of its web site dedicated to promoting Smart Growth Scorecards. Like many programs of the EPA, it is exhaustively (and exhaustingly) complete. If you have the patience to wade through all of the available information, you're likely to find a managed growth policy that will work for your town or city.
The Low Impact Development Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of Low Impact Development technology - a new, comprehensive land planning and engineering design approach with a goal of maintaining and enhancing the pre-development hydrologic regime of urban and developing watersheds.