The "Real Place" Makes Place
It doesn’t have to be a choice between the environment and jobs.
That’s a false dichotomy, as we're learning from new economic schools
such as "Natural Capitalism" and "Ecological Economics."
Communities that protect the air and land; value open space and farms;
and provide parks, greenbelts, rivers, forests, trails, and other
outdoor attractions for residents and tourists can also maintain a
vibrant economy. The two are not mutually exclusive.
A new generation of economists has shown that communities with strong environmental regulations produce more favorable economies. They interest "high-value visitors" (who spend more), attract emerging knowledge-base companies (that pay more), costs for clean water and other resources are lower, property values increase steadily, and public agencies that adopt "green principles" can save taxpayers money.
As new subdivisions chew up farmland, it costs. A suburban home on one acre taxes residents nearly five times as much as a farm acre. In more than a few ways it pays to save open space and farms.
Urban Growth Boundaries and similar set-aside policies protect open space and concentrate growth inward, where there’s a paid-for infrastructure of roads, utilities, and services. UGB’s prevent the leapfrogging growth-pods that create traffic congestion and pollution, costing the public economically and environmentally.
There’s such a thing as a cultural landscape. The environment is part of a community’s history and heritage. Reintroducing native plants, for instance, is one way to put heritage on display.