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Community Benefits

Water shortages, polluted air and water, and wet basements are all major issues that are complicated and frustrating to property owners as well as to communities. They also are very expensive to correct. By Designing With Natives, people can love where they live and entire communities can benefit from a better quality of life, lower cost of living, better health and a robust economy. Local beauty and resident sense of place improve with time.  Each person and each community can save money, as studies show that a healthy, green environment helps enhance economic growth.

Creating sustainable natural benefits requires more than just protecting and restoring what we have. Expanding natural systems through land use incentives, cluster zoning, buffer zones, natural parks, green neighborhoods, subdivision review and backyard conservation design using native plants will help maintain and enhance natural system services and the significant financial benefits they provide.

Understanding Nature’s Community Benefits

  • Kittatinny Ridge 2016 Return on Environment Dauphin County download pdf
  • Nature is Serious Business:  How communities can get the best financial return on the environment download free pdf file
  • Designing With Natives Engagement Process: download free pdf file
  • What is a Return on Environment Study? Explaining the avoided costs, revenues and real estate premiums that nature provides free of charge. download free pdf file 
    • The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the GreenSpace Alliance Return on Environment - The Economic Value of Protected Open Space in Southeastern Pennsylvania – Final Edition and Technical Appendices;

    • Lehigh Valley Regional Planning Commission and Wildlands Conservancy Return on the Environment Study.  This study calculates the economic value generated by open space in the Lehigh Valley. It finds that open space adds significant value to the regional economy with benefits accruing to businesses, governments and households--some benefits being direct revenue streams to individuals or governments, some representing asset appreciation and some accruing in the form of avoided costs.

    • Green Berks The Business of Nature Report.

    • Bushkill Township ROE video

  • What are Green Ribbon Landscapes? Case Studies on expanding habitat restoration download free pdf file
  • What are Green Neighborhoods? How communities evaluate their quality of place download pdf file
  • Green Neighborhood Case Study-Custis Woods download free pdf file
  • Natural Parks: How to help parks become good habitats download free pdf file
  • What is Backyard Conservation Design? download free pdf file
  • What is Nature Literacy? download free pdf file
  • Habitat Benefits: Documentation on nature’s value download free pdf file
  • Trends in Conservation download free pdf file
  • Community Gardens and Plant Exchanges: Programs to help make native plants more available for less money. download free pdf file

Community Nature Dashboard – How Green is Your Township?

A Community Nature Dashboard is a series of indicators that help residents understand how well their stewardship efforts are paying off. The Dashboard quantifies 18 indicators in nine major categories. The totals are derived from resident questionnaires about their own homes. The dashboard represents the summation for each indicator of all residents who participated. (in development)