Maintaining and expanding the natural environment is a critical aspect in preserving natural resources that are threatened by increased development and encroachment to open lands. This idea has carried over into wilderness systems but also the constructed open space.The constructed open space has never been so important until recent times when heightened awareness of removing ourselves from the idea of the “concrete jungle”, into a more environmentally conscious society.
According to the APA: “Open space design, also known as conservation development or cluster development, is a better site design technique that concentrates dwelling units in compact area in one portion of the development site in exchange for providing open space and natural areas elsewhere on the site.” With many traditional land use approaches becoming a thing of the past, sustainable principles have become a critical aspect for future developments to come.
Claremont has taken the initiative to expand on the open space system into the constructed open space of the city, by providing passive and active recreation; offering a fair distribution of parks, treed pathways and public gathering places throughout the community; increase the aesthetic quality of the community and provide urban agriculture as mention in the goals description. Moreover, handed over to Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens (RSBG) and Community Services to follow through with mentioned goals, each is responsible for the following:
5.2.2: RSBG has partnered up with Graduate and Doctorate students from the Claremont colleges to create a list of environmentally friendly plants. However, no further goals have been addressed to expand on this idea that could be so promising. The 2013 sustainable Claremont report card stated that one of its goals is to reduce water consumption 30% by 2017, but they have fallen short of any promising plans.
Some precedents of cities moving forward with water preservation is the City of Chino hills which helps residents switch their green lawns for artificial turf or drought friendly plants. The city can work with landscape architects to help residents make this switch and ultimately come close to that 30% reduction.
5.2.3: The city wants to create incentives for developers to build for more open space, but the incentives aren’t many and programs are not publicized. A way the city could potentially catalyze an effect for development that attracts to more greenery is to allow for tradeoffs in development proposals. Many cities are resilient on sticking by code requirements and zoning, if a design technique is created to concentrate development in one portion of the site in exchange for proving open space and natural areas many benefits could arise from this. For example, setbacks in between residential zones are relaxed in order to create open space, and removing those zoning ordinances that disallow open space development could be a proxy for green open space that is aesthetically pleasing and healthy for society. Developments do not have to be limited to only setbacks, also narrower residential streets, eliminating curbs and gutters and alternative turnarounds.
Massachusetts, allowed for cluster development and were found to appreciate 12 percent faster than conventional subdivisions over a 20-year period
In Atlanta, Georgia, the presence of trees and natural areas measurably increased the residential property tax base.
In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, the reduced impervious cover and increased tree canopy associated with open space development reduce the size and cost of downstream stormwater treatment facilities. The resulting cost savings can be considerable, as the cost to treat the quality and quantity of stormwater from a single impervious acre can range from $2,000 to a staggering $50,000. The increased open space within a cluster development also provides a greater range of locations for more cost-effective stormwater practices. Clearly, open space developments are valuable from an economic as well as an environmental standpoint. According to APA Open Space design.
Plans to increase open space and making a list of draught friendly plants do not have to be the only plans for the city. Creating sustainable open spaces can contribute a great amount to the overall environment of a city. This can easily carry over into civic zones, industrial zones, agriculture and land zones. To a more extreme extent the city can even creating wildlife corridors that has not been mentioned in any plans by the city. Claremont has a tremendous opportunity to develop a sustainable city and a plan that can be used all across the nation due to its civic involvement, geographic location and institutional framework.