Conservation developments : transitions toward sustainable landscapes and societies

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Pieranunzi, Danielle Deborah

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Current growth trends make development of greenfields almost inevitable. It is this space, between individual building design and city planning, where much change has occurred in the American landscape and as a result, American culture. Alternatives to the conventional subdivision pattern do exist although these practices have yet to become common among building and development communities, planners or the general public. Similar to the term sustainability, "conservation development" has many interpretations, yet typically it is described as a development that preserves a considerable amount of buildable land as open space which links to an interconnected network of protected lands. In this study, I will examine the discourse on conservation design in terms of four working examples of conservation development and relevant literature. To understand the political, cultural, economic and ecological variables at play in development, I will investigate the different scales of these cases: the building, the development as a whole and its relation to the region. The emphasis on social discourse will reveal values held by the core participants involved in each conservation development. The criteria set by the participants and the practices they emphasize during the development process are recognized as stories within narratives, and together they point toward a desired outcome or, in other words, unique narratives when employed in a particular place. This study will assess first, the degree to which the selected conservation developments are functioning ecosystems and satisfying communities, and second, if they suggest coherent measurable criteria for conservation development.



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