5.12.05

density&diversity: PiPress on Open Spaces

Last month, the PiPress had an editorial about how proximity to open spaces is a financial boon to a neighborhood, increasing the value of homes. That should be obvious, but I guess not enough city bureaucratic types realize this. (The folks in Lake Elmo sure do, though they have their own problems... we should be limiting growth and preserving open space around the edges, in places like Isanti and Dakota counties... not right next to Saint Paul...)

Here's the highlight (now in the PiP archives):
Almost two-thirds of people surveyed who had bought in the past two years or plan to in the next two years said they would pay between 10 and 25 percent more for a home in walking distance of an open space, such as a park, wooded area, or wetlands.
...
The study doesn't make recommendations, it just lays out key findings about costs and benefits for local decision makers that rise on the daya showing higher real estate values near open space and the potential for lower community service costs of such things as storm water management. Another tactic for planners is the idea of offering developers of proposed housing subdivisions a density bonus in exchange for maintaining open space.

This last bit is the key. Open space comes at the cost of density, which is also the key to a healthy community (and lifestyle). Density, like in a townhome or small lot, requires people to get rid of their 14-foot Toro riding mower. Think about it...

The Op-Ed seems like a nod to a new coalition that's trying to moblize people around open space preservation -- Embrace Open Space. Go team. (They're like Jason Schwartzman in I [Heart] Huckabees.)

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