Nerdwallet: Greenbelt Alliance: A Champion For a Better Bay Area

By John Morrow

Can you imagine a Bay Area without a Bay? Believe it or not, where today we see the beautiful blue waters of San Francisco Bay, there could have been thousands of single-family homes. Thanks to Greenbelt Alliance, that’s not the case. United by a passion to protect the natural landscape surrounding the bay, members of the Greenbelt Alliance strive to preserve our beautiful home.

Commitment to Open Space

The Bay Area provides a lush habitat for wildlife, open space for agriculture, and apt wilderness for outdoor enthusiasts. Yet all this pristine greenbelt is jeopardized by population growth and urban expansion. Greenbelt Alliance aims to protect this vulnerable open space by ensuring policy protection and proper stewardship of the greenbelt in the nine Bay Area counties. New research on the state of the Bay Area’s greenbelt can be found here. Also, folks can see what development pressures threaten areas they care about by using the greenbelt mapper tool. These rural lands provide farmers with rich agricultural territory to produce all sorts of fruits and veggies for urban residents to enjoy. However, it has become difficult for local farmers to cover inflating property values and to find a reliable market to sell their produce. Urban expansion threatens the accessibility of fresh, healthy products only available as resources of the rural greenbelt.

Sustaining Our Cities

Sprawl is a major threat to our society, so Greenbelt Alliance aims to further develop our cities in order to preserve open space for farmland and natural habitat. Greenbelt Alliance seeks to do so by limiting sprawl; this means sustainably developing urban landscapes, not rural ones. Investment in city infrastructure is key in order to enhance businesses as well as the quality of life for urban residents. Jeremy Madsen, the executive director of Greenbelt Alliance says, “We can direct new development away from natural areas and working farms, and reinvest in existing cities.” In doing so, metropolitan areas will thrive with a bustling economy and the natural environment will remain untouched.

Grow Smart Bay Area

Grow Smart Bay Area is a tangible outlook on what needs to be accomplished in the upcoming years to sustain a healthy community. It is estimated that the Bay Area population will increase by 2 million people by 2035. Generally, population growth leads to outward expansion of cities through sprawl development, which is associated with unaffordable homes, lost farmland, and diminished habitat. To combat sprawl, Greenbelt Alliance calls for innovative approaches to sustainable development in our cities. This way we can cope with population growth, enhance our cities, and sustain our natural landscape.

Greenbelt Alliance runs tons of campaigns around the Bay Area – Plan Bay AreaPlan Jose, and Saving Working Landscapes – to name a few – to defend our greenbelt and to build better cities. Greenbelt Alliance invites people to get involved by: signing up to receive emails, going on an outing, or becoming a donor. It is only fitting for us nerds to recognize this brilliant organization, located just down the street, for their efforts to maintain the Bay Area and its pristine environment.

Original story: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/2012/greenbelt-alliance/

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