Over the semester we will explore historical and current, as well as future, land use planning in our communities with hopes of better understanding the social and ecological implications of our decisions. How have we planned for the settlement and development of our communities? What are the successes and the failures of our planning process? How have we addressed natural resources in the land use planning process? What is sprawl and what are the solutions to this land use practice?
Students will undertake two research projects to explore historical and current land use, and the social and ecological impacts of these practices. Working with records in the local town hall, we will conduct a deed research to better understand the influence of historical land use practices on the current landscape. We will look backward to uncover the original land use of property so we can better understand our land uses today. Students will also explore current day land use planning processes in a community of their choice and will make “smart growth” recommendations for the future.