SustainAbility Newsletter

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

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


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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.

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