SustainAbility Newsletter

Sustainability By Design

By: Brian Kington

Sustainable Landscapes: Improving Economies by Protecting the Environment

img_0329-sm.jpgDespite a growing awareness of the real value of sustainability during this recent global recession, there are still many people who believe we must make a choice between improving the economy or protecting the environment. Thinking people correctly understand both objectives must coexist to achieve resource conservation goals and ensure prosperity of individuals, businesses and communities.  Although this is no easy task, a successful way to help overcome this great challenge is through the creation and management of sustainable landscapes. 

A sustainable landscape refers to a planned and managed system of green spaces, greenways, recreational amenities and natural or restored lands which contribute to the health and quality of life in our communities.   Sustainable landscapes provide benefits of water conservation, filtration and absorption as well as air particle removal and heat relief.  Sustainable landscapes also counter pollution, increase community resiliency, save energy, encourage exercise and activity, create safer communities and improve the value of land.   Sustainable landscapes provide the important connection between human use and enjoyment, and functioning habitat for wildlife and other ecological systems.  

Land is the common denominator for many aspects of our economy and environment.  Agriculture and recreation based tourism are completely dependent on land and resources.  Our physical well being relies heavily on clean air and water, and consumption of resources that require taking care of the land in order to be sustainable.   Because land is a finite resource, how and where we locate people and jobs on the land determines the amount of land we consume and how much energy is used to transport goods and sustain the community.  This is especially true in developing regions like Central and South America where communities are increasingly expanding to areas outside of urban centers. These areas of expansion nearly always lack adequate infrastructure to support the growing population.   New development must consider ways to more efficiently use land not only to meet human needs, but to properly incorporate sustainable during the planning process.  This approach to planning and design is an integral part of building a vision for creating sustainable and affordable communities. 

Qualified designers and planners are the key to implementing this strategy to reduce the ecological footprint of development.   This means locating development in the most suitable areas, avoiding fragmentation of natural habitat, reducing grey infrastructure, designing for maximum mutually beneficial connectivity between humans, wildlife and the environment, and allowing for effective management practices that minimize the impact on natural processes.  By using the power of sustainable landscapes, and being more efficient when we do build, we will lower costs in the long term and achieve conservation goals that we can enjoy right now.  

Brian Kington is Director of Sustainable Design for Sustainable Golf & Development, LLC This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles

The International Sustainability Council 

Sustainability Campaign


The Business Alliance for Living Economies

American Society of Golf Course Architects

The United States Golf Association (USGA)

Sustainable Golf & Development

The PGA Golf Club

Urbana University


SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Planning a Sustainable Franklin Tennessee

Central Franklin PlanningIn early June 2009, through a series of daylong charrettes culminating in a public meeting, Audubon Lifestyles assisted LandDesign, city stakeholders and the Steering Committee for Franklin, Tennessee to develop a  plan that is intended to serve as a unified guide, and central coordinating mechanism for the future of Central Franklin that:

  • emphasizes the interrelated nature of Central Franklin’s diverse neighborhoods and its historic commercial core as a key to its long-term success and vitality;
  • synthesizes and builds upon the previous work efforts and successes of the City, the stakeholders and numerous organizations already active in Central Franklin;
  • complements the citywide recommendations of the Central Franklin Area Plan;
  • focuses on broad issues as they pertain to all of Central Franklin, not just specific geographic areas within it; and
  • perhaps most importantly, identifies the necessary “next steps” the community must take in order to achieve the implementation of its goals for Central Franklin

The Central Franklin planning area encompasses nearly 4,000 of the City of Franklin’s 18,726 acres and includes the downtown, or 15- Block Area, as well as many of the City’s historic residential neighborhoods. The importance of the Central Franklin as the “core” of the community was recognized as most important, and the character of Central Franklin is what was used as the model that should affect and influence the vision of the citywide plan, and upon which Franklin’s future as a city should be based upon. 
The Audubon Lifestyles team is proud to have been apart of this process, and is excited to continue to work with the City of Franklin, Tennessee as they move towards becoming more sustainable. 



References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
The International Sustainability Council 

O'Connor Signature at the Oaks

The City of Franklin, Tennessee


American Society of Golf Course Architects

Sustainability Campaign

Green Living Tips

The Daily Green

Energy Star 

Bird City, Kansas

Urbana University


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Sponsors are a critically important part to the success of ISC-Audubon. As a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating sustainability, we offer all of our programs to our members free of charge, and are publicly available for download on our website.

ISC-Audubon is proud to extend the opportunity to select businesses and organizations to become sponsors of our sustainability education and advocacy programs. As a sponsor, your business or organization can realize significant value.

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

Read more