| Things to think about
Jersey has received national attention for its land preservation
In 1998, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum
to spend $98 million per year for the next ten years to preserve
one million acres of the state’s remaining open space and farmland.
our population grows and undeveloped land becomes more scarce
and more expensive, it becomes increasingly difficult to preserve
open space for future generations. They may place a higher value
on preserving open space than we do, but their options for preservation
will be fewer than ours. Less land will be available, so the
prices they will have to pay will be higher.
land has been built upon, it is very difficult to return it
to its natural state. At the same time that developed land is
increasing, the acres of land preserved from development have
also increased. This struggle to preserve what is left has been
described as the "open space race." The way we develop our remaining
land, whether we practice "smart growth" or continue the current
sprawl trend, will impact every aspect of life in New Jersey,
from air and water pollution to wildlife, economic prosperity,
recreation, urban renewal, and taxes.
space, and the quality of life it provides, is a critical asset
as we compete internationally to attract businesses and jobs.
Economic studies have shown that property values increase when
in proximity to well-maintained public open space. Higher property
values translate into higher tax revenues, allowing municipalities
to prosper. The quality of life that comes with proximity to
open space is emerging as a major factor in the competition
for new businesses and jobs.
is our most precious natural resource. Poorly planned roads,
parking lots, houses, and malls strain our ground water supplies,
the cleanliness of our air, and our ability to escape from traffic
and noise. While all new roads and development can have these
impacts, good planning and land preservation can ameliorate
some of the concerns. Land preservation offers a refuge for
people, cleans our air and water for free, and provides habitat
for a wealth of species.
do you value a place where a child has room to throw a ball
or to fly a kite? One way is to look at the change that occurs
in a neighborhood that has a new park. Crime fell in one Philadelphia
precinct by 90 percent after the police helped the neighborhood
clean up vacant lots and plant gardens. Parks not only give
children a place to play but adults a place in which to invest
indicator does not tell us about the ecological richness and
value of the land that is preserved. We also cannot see whether
we have preserved a full cross-section of New Jersey’s native
habitats and ecosystems.
Developed land data are based on the USDA NRCS National Resources
Inventory using field work and air photos. See the Technical
Appendix for additional information.
Sources: NJ Department of Environmental Protection & 1997
NRCS National Resources Inventory