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Open Space Policy. Madison D. Busker Indiana University at Oxford July 28, 2011. Outline. What is this topic of open space and why is it important? What is the value of open space? Why do we need policies to provide and protect it? What approaches are used?

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open space policy

Open Space Policy

Madison D. Busker

Indiana University at Oxford

July 28, 2011

  • What is this topic of open space and why is it important?
  • What is the value of open space?
  • Why do we need policies to provide and protect it?
  • What approaches are used?
  • Trends in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom
  • What are the underlying policy tools in the approaches?
what is open space
What is Open Space?
  • Untouched land
  • Forest
  • Farmland
  • City parks
  • Desert
  • Your backyard?
definitions of open space
Definitions of Open Space
  • “Open Space may be defined as an area of land or water that remains in its natural state or is use for agriculture, free from intensive development” – New York State DEQ
  • “Land for which a choice is still possible how it ought to be made to serve man’s purposes” – Robert Howe, Professor University of Toronto Law School
  • “Open space is taken to mean all open space of public value, including not just land, but also inland bodies of water such as rivers, canals, lakes…etc” – United Kingdom Planning Policy Statement
  • “Open Space can generally be referred to as undeveloped land either in its original state or without intense development” – Madison D. Busker
what open space provides
What Open Space Provides
  • Ecosystem services
  • Recreation areas
  • Protect water ways from pollution
  • Reduce urban heat islands
  • Preservation of rural character
  • Historical significance
  • Agriculture
open space policy1
Open Space Policy?
  • What is the fundamental market failure?
  • Open space is essentially a public good
    • Non-excludable – Most services
    • Non-Rival
  • Without some sort government intervention or policy, open space would be underprovided by the market
what is open space policy interesting
What is Open Space Policy Interesting?
  • Land is a valuable commodity
  • Land is a tangible resource
    • Land conversion is easy to see
  • Our approach to open space protection is closely tied to culture and historical context
  • Idea of property rights affects how the policies we use
  • There are MANY approaches to open space policy
  • Government Provision
    • Government purchase of land to provide as a public good
    • Occurs Federal, State/Provincial, or Local levels of government
    • Most control over land use
  • Zoning
    • The “homecoming queen” of open space policies
    • Three categories of zoning: Euclidean, Performance, Incentive
  • Euclidean Zoning
    • “Your Grandmother’s Open Space Policy”
    • Born in the 1920’s with the Supreme Court Euclid vs. Ambler that said zoning was legal under the commerce clause in the US constitution
    • Government designates geographical areas and their allowed land uses

  • Performance Zoning
    • “Parental Curfew Method”
    • Government sets standards for land use, but does not prescribe specific uses and functions
    • Examples: Surface to building ratio, Noise, vibration
  • Incentive Zoning
    • “Extra Credit Method”
    • Government has standards for land use that can be changed if the developer provides public goods
  • Tax Incentives for Conservation Easements
    • “ ‘Trust’ but ‘Verify’ method”
    • A landowner donates land or development rights to a land trust
    • The donation is verified by the government, and land owner receives a tax benefit
  • Transfer of Development Rights (TDR)
    • “Bait and Switch method”
    • Developers can receive benefits or increased development rights in an urban area by purchasing development rights from a designated ‘sending’ area
  • Greenbelt Policies
    • “Jolly Green Doughnut method”
    • An area of open land is designated around an urban area that cannot be developed.
    • This approach uses many methods to acquire land or restrict its development
  • Intergovernmental Planning Mandates
    • “Group Project method”
    • A higher level of government mandates a lower level of government to make a land use plan
    • The mandate could also require local government cooperation
differences between the usa canada and uk
Differences between the USA, Canada, and UK
  • Government Control
    • United States & Canada do not have a national land use policy
      • Land Use decisions are made at the State/Provincial or local level
    • The UK retains all development rights, release Policy Planning Goals (PPGs) that are not laws but are followed as such
  • Under eminent domain in the United States, land owners must be compensated for a taking
  • Canada & UK does not have to compensate for takings
differences between the usa canada and uk1
Differences between the USA, Canada, and UK
  • Property Rights as a Bundle
    • The USA the property owner contains almost all rights. The government must pay the owner for if the land is taken through eminent domain
    • Canada can “zone” away development rights and often use this power to create greenbelts and preserve agriculture
    • The United Kingdom has much stricter system of leveled property rights. The right to own a dwelling on land is separate from the right of access to land.
game time
  • Rules:
    • I will name and describe the approach
    • You will tell me what policy tool is being utilized
  • Any questions?
  • If no one answers, Socratic method will be utilized as my policy tool
  • Definition:
    • An approach where the government increased per-capita density or decreased lot size requirements
    • What policy tools are used?
      • Command and Control
      • Performance standards
seattle wa open space and landmark preservation
Seattle, WA: Open Space and Landmark Preservation
  • Program Description
    • “[the program] allows additional floor area to be accommodated on a site in exchange for public benefit. In addition to floor area bonuses for providing workforce housing, other incentives include provisions that allow a developer to provide open space or preserve landmark structures.
    • What policy tools?
      • Incentive Zoning – CaC with market based incentives
canada ecological gifts program
Canada Ecological Gifts Program
  • Program Description
    • “Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program provides a way for Canadians with ecologically sensitive land to protect nature and leave a legacy for future generations. Made possible by the terms of the Income Tax Act , it offers significant tax benefits to landowners who donate land or a partial interest in land to a qualified recipient”
  • Policy Tool?
    • Subsidy – Right!
    • Tax – Wrong!
urban service boundary
Urban Service Boundary
  • Definition:
    • A government sets up a boundary outside of which city services, such as drinking water and sewer access, are not provided.
    • Policy Tool?
      • Market based instrument in form of an implicit fee/charge
take away points
Take Away Points
  • Open Space is a public good, therefore it is a market failure that requires government intervention
  • Open space policies depend on culture, history, and property rights
  • There are many ways protect and provide open space
  • Best policies are not always apparent