Jump to main navigation. Jump to main content

The CURA publications library is currently being digitized by the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy. When the project is complete, the entire CURA publications library will be online and fully searchable. Unfortunately, during this process we are not able to honor individual requests for publications . Additionally, we no longer have physical copies of publications to send out.

New publications are digitized daily and the publications catalog on the CURA website is not automatically updated with links to scanned copies, so please search the CURA collection at the Digital Conservancy for the publications you are looking for:

Assessment of Local Governments' Capacity to Conserve Open Space and Natural Areas in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.

Fletcher, Jenna O.

According to the U.S. Natural Resources Inventory, 2.2 million acres of land are developed each year in the United Statesラwhich corresponds to about 6,000 acres a day. Minnesotaラin particular, the Twin Cities metropolitan areaラis experiencing a similar conversion rate. Conversion results in the loss of many acres of high-quality natural lands to development. Local governments in the Twin Cities area have a strong history of conserving open space and natural areas, but how are communities managing today in the face of development patterns that consume more land per person than in previous generations? To answer this question, Embrace Open Space - a collaborative of organizations working to catalyze citizen and elected leadership to conserve and steward natural areas, parks, lakes, and rivers in the Twin Cities metropolitan area conducted a regionwide assessment in the summer of 2007. This article highlights the study methodology and key findings from the assessment. The results suggest that, at least to some degree, all communities in the 11-county metro area face challenges related to their capacity to balance development and conservation. Most community leaders and staff currently do not have access to recognized best practices and processes, or even comprehensive training in how to balance growth and conservation. Twin Cities metropolitan communities should strive to develop a more holistic approach to concurrently manage and accommodate growth while protecting natural resources. This should include planning for open space and natural areas, land-use and development ordinances, (including those related to zoning and subdivision), nonregulatory tools such as incentives and purchase of land, conservation funding, active citizen interest creating urgency and reinforced by media coverage of open space topics, high-quality natural resources information, and committed and seasoned planning and zoning staff.

CURA Reporter
Publication date: 
Minneapolis: Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA)
Supported by a grant from CURA's New Initiative Program.
38 (3-4): 28-38
Online availability
Download from CURA: 
CURA call number: 
Reporter 38 (3-4)

CURA Programs: