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There are many communities in the United States that are working towards sustainability. They are making a difference in their approach to quality of life, economic development and environmental planning. Below are case studies of some communities that have undertaken self-assessments. These case studies are provided to give you contacts who can discuss what they have done, problems they encountered, and lessons learned in doing assessments.
Carl Steinitz/Allan Shearer
Department of Landscape Architecture
Harvard Graduate School of Design
48 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
A two-year study was conducted on the biodiversity of this rapidly developing area between San Diego and Los Angeles, California. The area covers five major river drainage basins and some ecologically sensitive areas. This research study was a cooperative effort between Harvard University, Utah State University, the US Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy, and others. A computer-based GIS (Geographic Information System) was used to give visual pictures of current environmental conditions. (Later work included developing six alternative scenarios of future development to 2010 and then to build-out.)
Dr. David Hulse
Institute for a Sustainable Environment
University of Oregon
130 Hendricks Hall
Eugene, Oregon 97403-1209
Regional Ecology Branch
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
200 SW 35th Street
Corvallis, Oregon 97333
Led by researchers from the University of Oregon, this project builds upon past EPA-supported studies conducted in Monroe County, Pennsylvania and the Camp Pendleton region of Southern California. This study characterized the area's biodiversity, water quality, demography, viewsheds, and community concerns for the Muddy Creek study area in Benton County, Oregon. (Subsequent work included creating a spectrum of possible futures that depicted conservation and development activities in varying intensities and locations, and evaluating each possible future for its effect on biodiversity and water quality, two broad indicators of landscape condition.)
Monroe County, PA was the subject of an alternative futures study conducted by the Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Landscape Architecture studio, under the direction of Dr. Carl Steinitz. The study was a collaborative work including U.S. EPA Region 3, the Monroe County Planning Commission, Monroe County Conservation District among others.
Since the time of this study, Monroe County instituted a successful Open Space program to help protect its rich biological diversity and has worked with local governments to codify stormwater and site design to minimize environmental impacts.