Natural Capital Assessment of a Planned New Urban Development

Authors: Elena Oertel*, Furman University, Matthew Cohen, Furman University, John Quinn, Furman University
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Urban and Regional Planning, Sustainability Science
Keywords: Natural Capital, Ecosystem Services, Land Use, Sustainability Science, Urban Development
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban expansion and sprawl leads to loss of green and open space within peri-urban regions, which has the potential to degrade natural capital. New urban design patterns around clustered development is one strategy to maximize green and open space. In this research we ask, do new urbanism tactics within these sprawling areas present a strategy to preserve natural capital? To answer this question, we analyzed a case study of a proposed 400-acre new urban development on the outskirts of Greenville, South Carolina, a rapidly growing city. We created land use and land cover maps in ERSI ArcMap for four development scenarios, including the planned new urban community. We then modeled the natural capital for each scenario using InVEST to quantify four specific ecosystem services of each scenario. We found that new urban design maximized ecosystem services compared to conventional suburban development; however, the natural capital is not as strong as one would expect on undeveloped land. In conclusion, we argue that open space and its related natural capital should be key criteria for assessing new developments and land use planning decisions.

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