to Enhance Community Appearance and Protect Natural Resources
- a guidebook for citizens, decision-makers, and youth
Unplanned or poorly
planned development can have significant impacts on natural and cultural
resources in the western Great Lakes region. Communities want their economies
to grow without losing what makes them special-scenic landcapes, historic
downtowns, and places of unique cultural character.
To facilitate a greater
understanding of community planning tools and natural resource “Best
Management Practices,” a group of educators has developed a 65-page
guidebook Design Guidelines to Enhance Community Appearance and Protect
Natural Resources that compares traditional development to a more visually
appealing approach that also protects natural and cultural resources.
Tools to accomplish the recommended approach are suggested.
The guidebook features
line drawings and color photos that visually address twenty of the most
common development issues, including: shoreline development, water quality
and storm water management, landscape character protection, visual corridors,
pedestrian accessibility, historic preservation, signage, lighting, parking
lot design, building appearance, residential and commercial aesthetics,
and cell towers.
a tool that would help to create an informed electorate and encourage
public participation in the planning process,” explains Joan Chadde,
Education Program Coordinator for the Western Upper Peninsula Center for
Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education at Michigan Tech University
in Houghton, MI. “People don’t realize they have choices.
The issue is always presented as “growth or no growth,” but
that just isn’t so.”
The guidebook, along
with other educational resources, are being used in classrooms, citizen
workshops, teacher professional development, and provided to communities
throughout the western Great Lakes region. The Smart Growth Network selected
the guidebook for inclusion on their Smart Growth Shareware CD that is
being distributed to 10,000 communities nationwide.
The guidebook was
developed by Joan Chadde, along with teachers Linda Rulison, Ruth Ann
Smith, Jean Dunstan, Jenn Klipp, and City of Houghton planning commission
member, Kristine Bradof.
Funding from The Dunn
Foundation of Newport, Rhode Island, and The Wege Foundation of Grand
Rapids, MI supported development. Printing was funded with grants from
the Smart Growth Network and the Americana Foundation, along with contributions
from the Central Lake Superior Watershed Partnership, Houghton Rotary
Club, League of Women Voters of the Copper Country, and the National Environmental
Education and Training Foundation.
Twenty of the most
common development issues are addressed:
- Parking lot design
- Water quality protection
- Visual corridors
- Historic preservation
- Building appearance
- Ridge development
- Shoreline development
- Landscape character
- Pedestrian accessibility
- Camouflaging cell