Friday, March 18, 2011

Mr. Kaid Benfield

Sustainable Communities: Where, Why, When, How

The Eastern shore is special. Having vibrant small towns and a successful natural landscape gives the Eastern Shore a large advantage. The population of the Eastern Shore is expected to grow by 37% from 2005 to 2030. An increase in housing by 43%. There will be a reduction in forest and farms by 96,000 acres. How will we manage this Growth?

In the next 25 years there will be an additional 70 million people in the U.S.

Developed land has been growing over twice as fast as population. Mr. Benfield shows a map of if the different land use cover between 2002 & 2030 produced by the Maryland Department of Planning.

Car dependency in the U.S. must change because of rising gas prices, destruction of the environment, climate change, and sea level rise. Sea Level rise is a big deal on the Eastern Shore.

U.S. citizens are not walking as much as they did before. There is a serious obesity problem in this county from inactivity.

Disinvestment is hurting not only large cities like Detroit but also the small towns of America.

The key to sustainability is to reduce the amount of land for development. We also need to make these lands great. An example of a city reducign the amount of land that can be developed is Ontario. They have a well established greenbelt.

Should the Eastern Shore have a regional planning authority? We do have PFAs (Priority Funding Areas) but these can be seen as weak.

Reneweable energy development should be an initiative throughout the whole Eastern Shore.

"Putting Smart Growth to Work" Check it for smart growth applications in small towns.

When living downtown your per capita carbon footprint is much lower than living in car dependent suburbs.

The Character of Neighborhoods

Higher Density = Less Driving

Per capita Storm Water Runoff sharply decreases in increases in Density.

"Doubling nearby jobs increases walking 19%" Research does show urban design does have an effect on obesity levels. Urban Design should be characterized by connected grid like streets. Public green space is very important to Urban Design it reduces the need for large backyards. A green roof brings amenities to the neighborhood. It absords storm water and provides natural cooling.

The market is ready for Smart Growth. The demand for housing has changed. 75% of the market is for more compact style homes.

Highland Garden Village in Denver, Colorado is a good example of working landscapes within out communities in an efficient and sustainable way.

Artist have become involved in the community and have helped upgrade housing with led to many affordable attractive houses.

Sunrise Trailer Court was invovative in how they laid out the park by allowing green space. Go watch the transformation of neighborhoods.

On the Eastern Shore we need to build on what we have now. We have a unique natural landscape.

Questions and Comments from the Audience:
How do we accommodate all the need growth? The annexation laws within the state of Maryland allowing towns to grow as much as they want. What restrictions should we do to keep our foot print small? There are many political issues that must be considered.

Americans love their SUVs and Big yards what we will do in the future to change their opinions. We need to show them the attractive Urban Villages.

Research has shown that LEED deisgn will increase building costs by 2.5%. We need to be careful in imposing the regulations within town because it could be harmful to economic growth.

Smart Growth and Historical Preservation: They are tied into each other because Smart Growth emphasizes the use of current development.

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