Mount Pleasant Don Thurston

Pertaining To A System That Maintains Its Own Viability By Using Techniques That Allow For Continuous Use…..Say What?

We return to Mount Pleasant. The occasion is a much anticipated presentation by a consortium consisting of the Faculties of Engineering, Architecture and Economics at FDC University.

The participants will report on a ground breaking initiative to evaluate land use alternatives for a property on the border of Mount Pleasant in proximity to the University.

Mount Pleasant’ largest private landowner, FDC University invited the National Capital Project to map and value ecosystems on its unused agriculture land to help make decisions about how to use the dormant property

The National Capital Project is a joint venture that includes The Architectural Society of America, The Urban Planning Commission, The Global Wild Life Federation and FDC University.

Scientists in the Urban Planning Commission grew to understand the social-environmental system within which the property was located. The project team was then able to create spatial models of what would happen to carbon storage, water quality, income earned, biodiversity and other services under different development scenarios.

Development alternatives included a vineyard, diversified agriculture, forestry and residential development. Research determined the

relative costs, benefits and negative outcomes derived from the four land uses selected.

The modelling provides quantitative guidance for decision making among the criteria selected. This captures their influence on the ecosystem alongside the traditional numerical indicators, in particular financial.

The residential development financial returns generated the highest income, failed miserably on carbon storage, water quality and biodiversity

The vineyard showed a modest carbon storage capacity, middle of the road water quality and average biodiversity. Income was modest

The mixed agriculture and forestry application positively affected carbon storage and water quality. The modelling indicated the income less than residential and equal to a vineyard.

FDC University decision makers are well aware that land use decisions are weighted heavily towards economic parameters. Other components, while important, are traditionally qualitative in nature.

When deliberating development alternatives for this property modelling assigns numerical estimates to issues like carbon capture water quality and biodiversity.

In this case a mixed agricultural and forestry development earned the highest score and is a measure of the projects sustainability.

More about what constitutes sustainable to follow….stay tuned

Thanks for reading!

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