UNH Research Finds Development Most Likely to Occur Where Green Space Limited

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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DURHAM, N.H.—Green space conversions to developed land are most common in areas where green space is already limited, according to new research released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.

While the research specifically looked at the Great Lakes states, the researchers found many of the trends are similar to what previous research has found in New England.

“The conversion of green space to development in New England is more likely to occur on the periphery of urban areas and in high amenity recreational areas, just as we found in the Great Lakes,” the researchers said. “Understanding how we use green space is critical because it contributes to air and water purification, storm abatement and enhanced human health and quality of life.”

The researchers also found that while population density strongly influences the conversion of green space to development, it is not the only factor. Population growth, the initial prevalence of green space and the area’s recreational or retirement appeal are also important.

“A better understanding of the links between demographic and land-cover change is crucial for future policy that works to balance development and green space conservation,” the researchers said.

The full report can be found here: https://carsey.unh.edu/publication/greenspace. The research was conducted by Mark Ducey, senior faculty fellow at Carsey and professor of forest biometrics and management; Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at Carsey and professor of sociology; Ethan Belair, forestry extension specialist with Cooperative Extension; and Barbara Cook, senior geographic information system technician at Carsey.

The Carsey School of Public Policy conducts research, leadership development, and engaged scholarship relevant to public policy. They address pressing challenges, striving for innovative, responsive, and equitable solutions at all levels of government and in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.