1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: trevor burrowes <trevoroc@pacbell.net>
Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 13:20:34 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: Re: "The Economic Benefits of Open Space"
Emery Graham wrote:
> Trevor,
> Its seems like the poor are in somewhat of a pinch. We can't develop the
> countryside because we need to preserve the natural environment and we
> don't want
> high density housing too near the park because it harms the natural
> environment.

We *shouldn't* (although we do) develop the countryside, because this 
drains resources from urban areas, devastatingly to its poor residents, 
while duplicating costly, tax-financed infrastructure to do so. 

And high density housing near the park? I merely cautioned that the usual 
contradictions between housing and the natural environment can often be 
bypassed through ecologically/place sensitive design and planning, as 
epitomized by Village Homes.

For many years, I have labored to promote open space-based development in 
(demographically) "inner city" communities, often as a voice in the 
wilderness. It has always been my position that justice is ultimately based 
on ownership and control of land by such communities. Furthermore, I have 
some notion of how physical design and planning can eliminate 
contradictions -- dense vs. rustic, for the rich vs. for the poor, natural
urban, neighborhood character vs. new development, etc., etc.. I also think 
that the issue is often how to do physical development in such a way as not 
to destroy, but to enhance, the natural environment which, often, *already 
exists* in close proximity to the poor.

First of all, we've got to be able to *see* and *appreciate* these 
resources. Otherwise, the poor have little if any means of protecting or 
benefitting from them. I'm here hoping and praying that the brownfields 
"establishment" can increasingly open up to the possiblity of eclogically 
based development (such as the connective trails Lenny mentioned, at the 
very least!). There is no ultimate reason why people of different income 
levels can't live side by side in close proximity to nature. It tends not to 
happen because of the economics of land use. Maybe the government needs 
to do something to tip the balance in favor of more land 
ownership/subsidies for EJ communities. Any thoughts on this?

> Are we at the point where we're being forced to choose between the natural
> environment and affording the poor families in our nation a decent, safe,
> sanitary living environment?

I hope the above makes it clear that *I* at least don't think so. What is


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