Implementing ecological approach to human settlement planning Promoting environmental measures in settlement planning
Many communities are developing or implementing environmental programmes. It is suggested that environmental concerns should also include using an ecological approach to human settlement planning approach should be included in the planning process.
Cerro Gordo is a prototype sustainable community for up to 2,500 people on 481 hectares on the shore of Dorena Lake (Oregon, USA). It was started in 1970 with the goal of creating a genuine symbiosis of village, farm and forest: understanding and reestablishing connections with nature, its human support systems, other people and oneselves through daily experience in a human-scale context. Ecosystemic planning has been used to take account of intrinsic land use suitabilities and natural limits and boundaries. The project is phased and developed slowly to allow for full participation by its inhabitants and the growth of self-supporting and self-servicing systems. Features of the community development are: mixed-use pedestrian village with cluster housing, solar design and a variety of accommodations; permanent ecological protection zones, including wildlife habitat, perpetual forestry and organic agriculture; over 400 hectares of natural commons; planned full employment through community-business partnership and privately owned businesses; regular ecological and socio-economic review processes.
1. Conservation of ecosystem structure and functioning, in order to maintain ecosystem services, should be a priority target of the ecosystem approach.
The quality of our lives is dependent upon the quality of our environment, which is dependent upon the quality of our land use. Despite all the compelling evidence and cogent arguments, both recent and historic, favouring the implementation of a more ecologically sensitive approach to land use planning, municipal planners remain frustratingly wary. It is apparent that it will take considerably more encouragement and education to win over their hearts and minds completely.
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