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    Author(s): Maureen E. Austin
    Date: 2004
    Source: Landscape and Urban Planning 69(2004): 245-253
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: North Central Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (999.43 KB)


    The open space conservation subdivision (R.G. Arendt, 1996) has been presented as an alternative to conventional large lot residential development. A form of clustering, this planning approach emphasizes the quality as well as the quantity of land preserved. The format offers a means for local planning officials to accommodate residential growth while preserving natural areas, rural features, and wildlife habitat that is typically altered as sprawl spreads outward from urban centers. These preserved areas become part of the residential community, accessible via trails and pathways. Residents share in the ownership of the preserved open space and take responsibility for its management. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of residents' perspectives of open space conservation subdivisions. What is their understanding of living in an open space community? How this process is implemented and how homebuyers respond to lot size and group management of natural areas is important to further application of this planning technique. Interviews were conducted with homeowners in 13 open space communities in southeast Michigan. Responses to questions about the satisfactions and problems associated with life in these communities, as well as understanding of the open space concept, provide useful feedback from residents to those seeking to implement this planning philosophy. Interviews reveal residents are pleased with the access to nearby nature as well as the social aspects of living in their neighborhoods. However, understanding of the open space conservation concept varies considerably among the residents and carries little recognition of the unique features offered by such subdivisions. Greater emphasis on sharing the principles behind the open space conservation approach with homebuyers may lead to a fuller appreciation of their choice to live there. Furthermore, residents' understanding of this concept may be key to their continued involvement in managing local natural areas and advocating this approach to those who live outside these communities.

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    Austin, Maureen E. 2004. Resident perspectives of the open space conservation subdivision in Hamburg Township, Michigan. Landscape and Urban Planning 69(2004): 245-253


    Land use planning, Open space conservation, Resident satisfactions, Sprawl

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