Planning for Environmental Sustainability, Resilience and Natural Resources
Urban planning for the future should address how environmental goals can be incorporated in the development of the City’s thriving urban activity center. This should be done in such a way that the community is able to reap the maximum benefit from integrating natural resources with the built environment while also ensuring natural resources are protected and improved.
Natural Resources and Environment Chapter Update
The revised chapter is framed in the context of adapting to anticipated change. Increasing population and significant land redevelopment are driving vibrant growth in the City. Demographic projections indicate that the City’s population will grow by 42 percent by 2045. Redevelopment affects an average of almost eight acres of commercial and residential property each year, and more than 180 acres of commercial property and 1000 homes may be candidates for future redevelopment. Changes in demographics and land use are taking place at a time when the climate is also changing. Climate models for the Metropolitan Washington region predict gradually increasing average temperatures, greater temperature extremes, increased precipitation, and more frequent and severe storm events. The review of the Natural Resources and Environment chapter of the comprehensive plan was an opportunity to consider how development and investment in the City should respond to the City’s changing environment.
Vision and Goals
The vision statement for the chapter, which is a general statement of what we want to achieve, is as follows:
Increase the resiliency and environmental sustainability of the City by protecting, enhancing and expanding the City’s natural resources; increasing the use of green infrastructure; reducing consumption and waste of both energy and materials; and using all possible means to achieve beneficial environmental impacts and enhance community quality of life.
The following goals, which should be integrated across all City policies, programs and projects, are based on the vision statement above:
Climate, Air and Energy: Enhance livability, sustainability and resilience. Protect the community from air pollution and the effects of climate change, while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the City.
Stormwater, Streams and Natural Springs: Protect the water resources of the City and the Chesapeake Bay from the adverse effects of pollution and climate change, reduce flooding, and improve water quality.
Urban Forest and Biodiversity: Protect and enhance the network of trees, green spaces and naturalized land on public and private property throughout the City, and the plants and wildlife it supports.
Consumption and Waste: Avoid waste generation and reduce the harmful pollution and financial costs associated with waste management and disposal.
Community: Inform, educate, and engage the community in environmental action. Maximize the City’s capacity to address environmental issues through participation in regional, statewide, national, and international organizations.
Public Engagement Schedule
The public engagement process included more than 35 opportunities to learn and give feedback about the Environment for Everyone Chapter. See the schedule below.