One Site, Two Designs
1) Site before development. An ecological assessment of the land, performed at the start of a conservation development, identifies the specific areas of the site that are most important to conserve. Prioritized areas include those of special beauty, historical or cultural value, and environmental sensitivity.
2) Site with conventional subdivision design. The land is fragmented into individual fenced lots. No open space is preserved. Houses are sited far apart, preventing a sense of community, and homeowners do not enjoy amenities on shared land. Only unbuildable areas have no home sites.
3) Site with conservation design. Home sites are clustered, requiring less infrastructure and creating a greater sense of community. Homes enjoy views of natural open space. Streets are narrower and curve for rural character. Preserved land features woodlands, a wildflower meadow, and walking trails for neighborhood use.
Randall Arendt, Conservation Design for Subdivisions: A Practical Guide for Creating Open Space Networks (Island Press, 1996) www.islandpress.org.