There is a growing wealth of information about sustainable development. Here are some links that we reccommend:
Find more EPA-related information about Low impact Development (LID) at Urban Design Tools
Find the latest green building products at BuildingGreen.com
What is Sustainable Planning and Development?
By: Mary Anne Bowie, FAICP © 2008
Sustainable development is a commitment to human development within the ecological limits of the biosphere, according to the Global Footprint Network. Simply put, that means understanding that our earth can only accept a certain amount of impact from people before its limits are exceeded. Thus, it makes sense to continue to reduce the amount of impact on the land we have as humans. A green building is an example of a single structure that requires less energy, thereby reducing its impact on the earth. The way that our land is permitted for development has even greater potential to impact the earth. By implementing sustainable land use planning solutions, we can increase positive environmental, economic and social impacts on our world.
From an environmental perspective, sustainable planning results in the following:
- Designing sites in accordance with nature, not destroying nature.
- Incorporating Low Impact site design, utilizing small on-site drainage opportunities and enhancing existing waterways to reduce the need for isolated retention and detention stormwater ponds.
- Restricting fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide use and instead encouraging biological pond treatments, biodynamic and organic agriculture and native vegetation.
- Encouraging increased density in already committed urban spaces and preserving and conserving natural lands.
From a human or social perspective, sustainable planning results in the following:
- Creating land uses that allow communities and individuals to feel nurtured and supported, not isolated.
- Making sure every person can afford to live a life of dignity in a well built, energy conservative and hurricane safe residence.
- Building porches to encourage eyes on the street for the safety of children and others.
- Recognizing intergenerational needs by allowing extra cottages to be placed on single family properties as families grow and expand.
- Encouragement of co-housing with communal dining facilities and shared housing for un-related individuals.
- Always supporting the needs of people and their cultural framework when regulating land uses.
From an economic perspective, sustainable planning results in the following:
- Growing a green economy for each community that respects the diversity of life, the health of the planet, the value of individual contributions and creativity of expression; this green economy also supports technological solutions to create a future that works for all, always valuing people before profit.
- Integrating land uses so that people can walk from home to work and can shop within minutes of their homes to reduce reliance on the automobile.
- Allowing residential land uses to easily transition into office and small commercial uses, so that small businesses can operate openly from home bases and neighborhoods, which will increase visual activity, making them safer for everyone.
- Providing adequate industrial and commercial properties that are synergistically located to be mutually supportive.
- Building neighborhoods around public spaces, parks and schools that can be available twenty four hours a day for the community’s use.