Monday, March 14, 2011

placemaking and conservation

"The Fight for the Bay" by Naval Academy Political Science Professor Howard Ernst is a provocative, short book in which the author calls for a more hard hitting approach for environmental protection for the Chesapeake Bay. He contends that the cooperative, collaborative, voluntary, stakeholder-based approach hasn't worked and what is needed is a legal/regulatory/enforcement-based approach not only in the Chesapeake Bay but in other locales. At only 113 pages, it's a quick read that will make you think through the various approaches to environmental protection. But that's not the theme of this post.

One section of the book includes contributed essays from activists in the Chesapeake Bay area. One of these essays is by Anne Pearson in which she describes how establishing sense of place (although she didn't use that specific term) helped residents come together to define the kind of place they wanted (a "heritage landscape"), which in turn directed land use planning discussions which in turn set up environmental protection for that area of the bay. It was not a straight path, there were obstacles the process had to overcome. She presents a good case study on how the community came together to "agree on how to protect the essentials of place, while at the same time allowing beneficial change to occur." The placemaking activity built community as well as protecting the place.

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