The Georgia Conservancy's mission is to protect Georgia's natural resources. But in today's world, that means more than just protecting critical lands and habitats from development. It also requires that built spaces - our cities, towns and neighborhoods - grow and develop in a more sustainable fashion.
The Georgia Conservancy's Sustainable Growth program works to foster smart, sustainable development across the state through the following initiatives:
- Blueprints for Successful Communities, our community planning program, helps neighborhoods and local governments plan for future growth.
- Our Good Urbanism seminars teach planning professionals, government officials and neighborhood residents about the importance of sustainable growth.
- Our School Siting workshops bring together diverse stakeholders to learn more about the EPA's guidelines for school siting.
- Bantam Towns in the Deep South is an ongoing research project that looks at the hundreds of tiny, rural towns scattered across the Deep South for answers on how they might they be transformed to have a new life and a new economic purpose.
The bottom line: Better planning helps the environment, enabling communities to grow while using fewer resources and disturbing less open space.
Sustainable development is more economical, too. The vast network of roads and sewer pipes required to support poorly planned, low-density neighborhoods are incredibly expensive for governments to maintain.
Our Sustainable Growth program has had a significant impact. We've helped leaders in Newton County craft a plan that channels future development in several key corridors, leaving much of the countryside untouched.
On Georgia's coast, we have worked with neighborhood leaders in the historic African-American communities of Pin Point and Sandfly to help preserve their rich cultural heritage.
We helped develop a long-range plan for residents in northwest Atlanta who are seeking more jobs and services in their community.
Recently, we worked with stakeholders in the small Coweta County town of Moreland to envision and then develop a plan that incorporates future economic growth with their wishes to remain a rural community.
We believe that our communities must be thoughtfully planned in order to achieve a balance of economic growth, cultural vibrancy, equitable development and natural resource protection.
We believe quality growth helps us achieve many of our conservation goals, from clean air and water to energy efficiency and cultural preservation.