An Approach to Open Space Planning Based on the Principles of Landscape Ecology: An Application to Greater Roanoke Area
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The population of Greater Roanoke Area during the last decade grew by ten percent. The recent growth has changed the countryside. The agricultural lands in this area has been replaced by sprawling housing subdivisions and strip commercial development. Greater Roanoke Area and its surrounding areas now face problems of traffic congestion, visual and environmental degradation due to commercial and residential growth. Greater Roanoke Area will need an innovative open space plan which preserves the natural character and unique qualities of the place. Many other regions and counties in the United States share similar concerns and needs. There has been parallel progress in the field of landscape ecology and landscape planning for better understanding of our environment. The primary goal of this thesis is to use concepts from both of these fields with an intent of developing an approach which will help both planners and landscape architects to plan and design for open space in a way that meets long term ecological needs and concerns. This thesis develops a process whereby an optimum spatial pattern for Greater Roanoke Area (one that maintains biodiversity, protects natural and cultural resources, improves water quality, protects soils, and increases productivity) is derived. This open space planning approach can in turn be used to guide other regions and counties in developing ecologically grounded open space plans. Spatial attributes, functions and the change dynamics of the landscape are targeted and analyzed to provide a foundation for an open space plan. Management priorities are then established for protecting, enhancing, and restoring agricultural lands, forest lands, wetlands, streams, and special sites. The tools for preserving open space areas are education, community involvement and government regulations.
- Masters Theses