Land Preservation: An Essential Ingredient in Smart Growth

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ABSTRACT  The preservation of land for working rural landscapes, wildlife habitat, urban parks, recreational trails, and protecting water supplies and floodplains is emerging as an integral component of smart growth programs. Both the general public and non-profit organizations have been willing to spend billions of dollars on land preservation because of a perception that traditional land use planning and regulation are not successfully accommodating growth or protecting valuable natural resources. The literature on smart growth has largely overlooked the potential of land preservation to curb sprawl and to foster livable communities. On the other hand, the literature on land preservation has focused on the mechanics of conservation easements and land purchases rather than on how land preservation can fit in the comprehensive planning process to achieve community smart growth goals. More research needs to be done on the strategic use of land preservation in shaping and directing growth as part of a comprehensive planning effort.

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