At Risk: The Bay Area Greenbelt 2012 [Download], through a detailed spatial analysis, tries to answer the question, how much of a threat does sprawl pose to the greenbelt?

The analysis captures land use and planning data in three primary categories: 1) development pressure, 2) policy protection, and 3) open space value. The At Risk map showing likelihood of development within 10 to 30 years is derived by directly comparing the pressure to build on open spaces against the policies enacted to keep them preserved. Visit the Greenbelt Mapper to explore more.


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The development pressure category comprises information on market activity, zoning and growth projections, as well as locational pressures on open space. These values are added on top of each other to give a cumulative score, with those strongest development factors receiving a greater relative score. For example, a proposed project in the approval process is given a greater relative score than undeveloped open space zoned for rural residential dwellings.

The policy protection category is similarly an aggregate of policy measures enacted that protect the land from development, such as urban growth boundaries, agricultural protections, and hillside ordinances. Then the development pressure category and the policy protection category are scored against each other; the resulting combination provides the final numbers.

A third component, the value of the Bay Area landscape, deepens our understanding. The Mapper allows you to see where wildlife habitat, recreational lands, cultivated areas, and water resources cover the region. Taken together with the development and protection categories, the assessment of the region’s lands empowers the Bay Area community to make more informed decisions about the future of the landscape for this and the next generations.


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