Green Development Conservation Subdivision Design
Conservation Subdivision Design (CSD)
is a green development strategy that can help communities preserve
open space and natural areas in residential housing developments.
By reformulating the approach to conventional subdivision design,
CSD strategically concentrates home construction on the development
site in order to protect sensitive and valuable open space,
habitat, and other environmental resources. A study by the Atlanta
Regional Commission revealed the following benefits
Protected water quality
- Protected wildlife habitat
- Reduced infrastructure construction costs
- Reduced maintenance costs
- Reduced demand for publicly funded greenspace
- Means for expanding public trails and greenways
CSD is gaining popularity throughout the nation yet is restricted
from use in some areas due to outdated and inflexible zoning
ordinances. The following resources provide access to articles
and research papers, project examples, and model ordinances
that are designed to help communities modify zoning laws in
order to benefit from CSD developments.
Links and Articles
Greener: Conservation by Design
Describes a four-step process municipalities can use to achieve
conservation subdivision design, based on a Pennsylvania program.
(large PDF file)
Innovative Tool for Managing Rural Residential Development:
A Look at Conservation Subdivisions"
This article from The Land Use Tracker reviews the purpose and
process of achieving effective CSD in rural residential development.
Subdivision Design: A Market-Friendly Approach to Local Environmental
Reviews how communities may find CSD to be an effective tool
in their efforts to balance local economic growth with the preservation
of environmental resources and community character. An article
from Reason Public Policy Institute.
This Conscious Choice article describes how progressive developers
using CSD are responding to buyers' demands for open space and
the presence of nature near their home sites.
Codes and Ordinances
Greener - Putting Conservation Plans into Local Codes and Ordinances
A workbook that presents a new look at designing subdivisions
while preserving green space and creating open space networks.
It shows readers how to design residential developments that
maximize conservation without reducing overall building density,
thus avoiding the political and legal problems associated with
Space Zoning: What it Is and Why it Works"
Poses the question to local planners and officials as to whether
to continue implementing "conventional zoning," or
whether to refine their existing land-use regulations to ensure
the preservation of open space through creative development
design. A Planning Commissioners Journal article.
Conservation Subdivision Design Project: Booklet for Developing
a Local By-law (PDF)
A Metropolitan Area Planning Council publication provides a
wealth of background and commentary in order to elevate the
use of CSD as a commonly accepted and utilized land development
technique, by serving as an educational tool particularly for
Town Planners, Planning Boards and developers in Massachusetts.
Policy to Reality: Model Ordinances for Conservation Subdivision
Reviews a model ordinance for CSD as well as other ordinances
for green development, from the Minnesota Planning Environmental
Quality Board. (large PDF file)
Subdivision - Quality Growth Toolkit, Atlanta Regional
Provides local governments with guidance in developing effective
conservation subdivision ordinances. (PDF file)
Includes 362 home sites on 677 acres and has been designed to
combine development with the preservation of open land and easy
commuting to Chicago by rail.
Approximately three-quarters of the 170-acre landscape at Tryon
Farm will be preserved as rolling pasture, meadows, woods and
ponds in rural Michigan.
at the Darby
Homesites of 2 to 5 acres overlook breathtaking views of ravines,
creeks, forest, lakes, and wild flower meadows. Over 230 acres
have been set aside as a protected, private nature preserve
along Little Darby Creek, a National Wild and Scenic River.
Examples of Conservation Subdivisions in Pennsylvania
Profiles Farmview and Garnet Oaks conservation subdivisions
The Woodson Place
Provides information on a project with 38 home sites on 66 acres
east of Dallas/Ft. Worth. Over half of the land is preserved
for open space and wildlife habitat.
See Green Development
Success Stories for more examples.
Design for Subdivisions - A Practical Guide to Creating Open
A published handbook that presents a simple step-by-step approach
to designing subdivisions around the central organizing principle
of protecting open space, and shows how communities can adopt
new standards in their plans and ordinances to ensure that future
developments follow this design approach in a way that will
ultimately produce an interconnected network of conservation
lands throughout their land areas.
Greener-Conservation By Design (PDF file)
Summarizes how municipalities can use the development process
to their advantage to protect interconnected networks of open
space: natural areas, greenways, trails and recreational lands.
A publication of the Natural
Design Portfolio: Preserving Minnesota Landscapes Through Creative
Development (PDF file)
Showcases new residential developments that were specifically
designed to minimize impacts on the lands and waters that surround
them and to positively contribute to the character of the greater
Last updated: January 26, 2004
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