Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Open space: your definition

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,548
    Blog entries
    3

    Open space: your definition

    I'm curious to know what you would consider "open space."

    Why? Well, in the community where I work, in an area is known for its engaged, vocal, and environmentally conscious population, there's some opposition to our draft comprehensive plan, due to it not sufficiently protecting "open space". However, those opposed to the plan, and many others in the community, use the term "open space" to mean "any land that is not developed." I even receive letters in opposition to infill projects, because it would eliminate "open space".

    My personal definition of "open space" doesn't mean "everything without a building", but rather:

    * Public/semi-public and more accessible: parks, preserves, conservation easements, and open space tracts in subdivisions.
    * Private and less accessible: land that is zoned agriculture or conservation, excluding more intensive agricultural operations (CAFO, dairy nurseries) and semi-industrial uses (mining, etc).

    Questionable areas include:

    * Golf courses.
    * Undeveloped and unreserved/undedicated park-like portions of larger sites that have underlying zoning permitting more intensive development.

    What say the Throbbing Brain? I'm interested in opinions more than cites, although it would be interesting to see if there's any differences in how the term defined or cosnidered from different sources.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    2,949
    If there is even a remote chance that it can develop, I do not consider it open space. In a comp plan, proposed open space would be where actions have already begun to acquire/preserve.

  3. #3
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,474
    There's the definition in our code:

    OPEN SPACE: A parcel or area of land generally unimproved set aside, dedicated, or reserved for conservation or recreation purposes, or for the public or private use and enjoyment of the landowners.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Promoting synergies...
    Posts
    3,558
    I think the definition of open space should be expanded to include parking lots, retention basins and landscaped medians.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  5. #5
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,474
    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    I think the definition of open space should be expanded to include parking lots, retention basins and landscaped medians.
    I've heard the retention basins (stormwater ponds here), argument several times. That dog don't hunt.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Comer, GA
    Posts
    570
    Quote Originally posted by Richmond Jake View post
    I've heard the retention basins (stormwater ponds here), argument several times. That dog don't hunt.
    Along with overhead power line and underground pipeline easements.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,677
    Quote Originally posted by Richmond Jake View post
    There's the definition in our code:

    OPEN SPACE: A parcel or area of land generally unimproved set aside, dedicated, or reserved for conservation or recreation purposes, or for the public or private use and enjoyment of the landowners.
    This is a reasonable definition IMO. If it's not "set aside, dedicated, or reserved", it can be developed by somebody in the future.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Promoting synergies...
    Posts
    3,558
    Quote Originally posted by Richmond Jake View post
    I've heard the retention basins (stormwater ponds here), argument several times. That dog don't hunt.
    In Phoenix many city parksand are also retention basins. The same is true for many neighborhoods where the basin also serves as a small park. In AZ that dog does hunt but it only rains 12 times a year.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  9. #9
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,826
    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    In Phoenix many city parksand are also retention basins. The same is true for many neighborhoods where the basin also serves as a small park. In AZ that dog does hunt but it only rains 12 times a year.
    We have the same dynamic here in Albuquerque. AMAFCA, our regional flood control authority, will no longer do any single purpose basins so everything they are doing now overlays numerous uses/functions and most are parks. The City and County have adopted similar strategies in dealing with storm water management There are some stellar examples, actually, including one space that operates as a community farm and wetland.

    As to definition, this is the definition the EPA uses, which I think is pretty good (and emphasizes public access which I think is important). I was actually at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Kansas City earlier this month. It was pretty inspiring.

    Open space is any open piece of land that is undeveloped (has no buildings or other built structures) and is accessible to the public. Open space can include:

    Green space (land that is partly or completely covered with grass, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation). Green space includes parks, community gardens, and cemeteries.
    Schoolyards
    Playgrounds
    Public seating areas
    Public plazas
    Vacant lots
    Context matters in this definition, of course. Open space from the point of view of people studying bird migration is going to look different from a park planner.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2005
    Location
    The Gig City
    Posts
    2,655
    Ha,
    This was my biggest challenge as my last gig as a PD for a county. We had a cluster option in the zoning and it simply said if the developer "leaves open space" they can get "bonus density of 3:1" but open space was NEVER identified therefore any detention pond, grass strip, or anything else had to be considered open space and the amount given was no where near what the intentions of a cluster option are. I was building a hybrid cluster ordinance before I was let go that would actually have allowed more than 3:1 but the developer would have to meet some performance criteria first, including minimal % set aside and quality of set aside.
    @GigCityPlanner

  11. #11
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,474
    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    In Phoenix many city parksand are also retention basins. The same is true for many neighborhoods where the basin also serves as a small park. In AZ that dog does hunt but it only rains 12 times a year.
    I golfed on a course in Scottsdale that was clearly a retention/detention basin. Perhaps the term "usable" should be mandated for this form of open space?

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Open space policy
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 03 May 2007, 3:57 PM
  2. Open Space Per Capita
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 30 Aug 2006, 11:29 AM
  3. open space planning
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 3
    Last post: 15 Mar 2004, 6:17 AM
  4. Open Space Dispute
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 14
    Last post: 26 Nov 2003, 2:13 PM
  5. Open space zoning
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 02 Jan 2001, 6:51 PM