Land Preservation in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania: Strategy, Funding, and Cooperation are Key
Land use planning in America has traditionally meant "planning for development." Over the past 25 years, hundreds of communities and several states have recognized the need to preserve land for farming, forestry, watershed protection, wildlife habitat, recreation areas, or open space. A common problem is that public planners have not clearly delineated certain lands for preservation. Meanwhile, non-profit organizations have not fully perceived themselves as land use planning agencies (Wright and Czerniak 2000); and have often pursued a piecemeal and reactive preservation strategy in response to weak local zoning and the swift pace of development (McQueen and McMahon 2003). Thus, in most places in America, including New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, privately owned open land seems to be at once for sale for development and available for preservation. The competition to preserve or develop land causes considerable friction between developers and land preservationists. Meanwhile, governments have a schizophrenic relationship to land: they want to see it developed so the tax base will increase and the economy will grow, yet they are also active in preserving land.