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Helpful Documents

Watershed Stewardship Edwards Aquifer Region for the A Low Impact Development Manual. Helpful low impact development publication from the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance.

The Case for Sustainable Landscapes – A report by the Sustainable Sites Initiative, 2009.

Barriers and Gateways for Green Infrastructure – Clean Water America Alliance, 2011. Discusses obstacles, including physical, financial, and regulatory that prevent cities and regions from implementing features of green infrastructure.

The City of Austin’s Approach to Green Stormwater – Presentation by Michael Kelly, the Sustainable Stormwater Solutions Manager for the City of Austin Watershed Protection Department.

EPA Green Infrastructure – Describes the basic tenets of green infrastructure and provides links to research and case studies.

Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth – Aggregate extraction to supply our booming growth is becoming a huge problem for landowners in the Hill Country. This 2019 Guardian article is dedicated to exploring the financial, social, and environmental costs of concrete use; and its production, extraction, and long-term impervious cover consequences.

The Practice of Low Impact Development – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2003 – comprehensive overview of low impact development planning, design, and tools.

History of Water Reuse in Texas – TBWD report that discusses the stages of reclaimed water treatment, regulatory history of reclaimed water, and a vision for the future of water reuse in Texas.

Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Rural Planning, Zoning, and Development Codes – 10 Strategies for rural planning – “Most rural communities want to maintain their rural character while also strengthening their economies

Banking on Green – A Look at How Green Infrastructure Can Save Municipalities Money and Provide Economic Benefits Community-wide

Integrative Water Management and Conservation Development: Alternatives for the Central Texas Hill Country – Written in 2004 by Dr. Kent Butler, this analysis of water management strategies for the Hill Country will “shape the future of the region in terms of water use, cost of living, water quality, and landscape/environmental stress.”

Conservation Development in Texas – A primer on conservation development in the Texas from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (2006).

Wildflower Center White Paper – An overview of conservation development in Texas that discusses economic benefits and legal issues (2005).

Flawed Processes, Flawed Results and a Potential Solution – A critique of traditional subdivision ordinance provisions by Randall Arendt, a landscape planner and prolific author on conservation development.

Conservation Subdivision Design Overview – An overview of the process and benefits of conservation subdivision design by Randall Arendt.

Conservation Design Benefits – A summary of the economic benefits of conservation design by Randall Arendt.

Enhancing Subdivision Value Through Conservation Design – A simple, four-step illustration of conservation subdivision design by Randall Arendt. These designs are “twice green” because they succeed both environmentally and economically.

Creating Greener Communities Through Conservation Subdivision Design – Describing what is arguably the most effective land planning technique yet devised in this country for protecting community-wide greenways and open space networks.

Conservation Development in Practice – A report from the Nature Conservancy discussing best management practices for conservation development with design templates.

Economics of Conservation Subdivisions – A paper examining price premiums, investment costs, and absorption rates for lots in conservation versus those in conventional subdivisions. The author concludes that conservation design leads to higher lot premiums, lower costs and market success.

Travis County Conservation Development Design Manual – A document from Travis County that outlines strategies to comply with the county’s conservation design ordinance (2006).

City of Dripping Springs Conservation Design Ordinance – A copy of the conservation design ordinance passed by the City of Dripping Springs (2005).


Helpful Links

Design~Build~Live – A deeply green nonprofit organization offering sustainable and natural building workshops, seminars and site visits to residential projects in Texas or in many cases, anywhere in the world. Their well-curated site visits to completed projects are excellent case studies for sustainable development.

Green Infrastructure Publication Library – From Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT)

Central Texas Land/Water Sustainability Forum – The mission of the CTLWSF is to advocate, facilitate, and educate for the protection of surface and groundwater resources in Central Texas through sustainable and cost effective land development through the promotion of low impact design practices, policies, and the use of green infrastructure

Central Texas Sustainability Indicators Project – Sustainability indicators allow for an understandable way to see and track Central Texas’ progress toward sustainability. Indicators include data pertaining to water quality and consumption, density of new development, and attractiveness of landscape, among many others.

Sustainable Places Project – Aims to develop a variety of scenarios based on municipal budgets and growth for Austin and surrounding areas in order to effectively plan for the future.

Austin Energy Green Building Program – Provides information and assistance to Central Texans interested in constructing or buying sustainable, energy-efficient buildings.

University of Texas Center for Sustainable Development – Information about research projects, education opportunities, and work regarding sustainable development in central Texas and beyond.

Austin Community Design and Development Center – Provides sustainable design, planning and development services to low- and moderate- income individuals, families and neighborhoods.

WaterSaver Lane – San Antonio Water System’s exhibit of landscaping with low water requirements.

Alley Flat Initiative – Seeks to utilize Austin’s alleyways as sites for sustainable, affordable housing alternatives that promote prudent land use.

Pecan Street Inc. – Partnered with UT, Pecan Street is a research and development organization focused on improving efficiency of electrical systems.

Envision Central Texas – Organization with a mission to address growth in a sensible manner.

American Association of Landscape Architects Green Infrastructure – Links to research that studies the effects that green roofs, urban forestry, and wildlife corridors have on stormwater runoff.

Low Impact Development Center Featured Recent Projects – Includes examples of rainwater harvesting, green roofs, and stormwater management projects

Low Impact Development Center Publications – Includes design manuals and reports, literature reviews, and pilot projects

San Antonio Outdoor Conservation Programs and Rebates – Outlines San Antonio Water System’s outdoor conservation programs.

The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) – CNU is the leading organization promoting walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development, sustainable communities and healthier living conditions.

Urban Land Institute (ULI) – ULI district councils bring together a variety of stakeholders to find solutions and build consensus around land use and development challenges.

Sustainable Communities – The Partnership for Sustainable Communities, formed in June 2009 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), now has its own website. This partnership was formed to help communities nationwide improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment.

Beginning with Habitat – A conservation development approach that begins with wildlife habitat protection – Provides a centralized, accessible resource for important information and guidelines for effectively implementing Low Impact Development (LID), or Green Infrastructure, practices and policies across Texas

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – Information on conservation development from the Wildflower Center. Includes general information, documents and examples of successful developments from across the country. – A nonprofit organization that offers landowners effective alternatives to the loss of natural areas, working farms and wildlife. – A Land Choices project that provides a sample conservation subdivision ordinance and discusses advantages.

Growing Greener – Information on the “Growing Greener: Conservation by Design” conservation development model ordinance in Pennsylvania.

Greener Prospects – A unique consulting firm that bridges the gap between land-use planning and land conservation, headed by Randall Arendt.

Natural and Cultural Landscapes Through Conservation Design – A article by Randall Arendt on the benefits of conservation development.

Texas Association of Resource Conservation and Development Areas – Information from TARCD, which is composed of local councils of volunteers dedicated to developing and implementing area plans for sustainable development.

National Resource Conservation Service – Information about the Resource Conservation and Development Program from the USDA’s NRCS.

Sustainable Development Examples and Case Studies

Certified Projects from the Sustainable Sites Initiative – Pilot projects that have successfully documented and achieved SITES Certification during the Sustainable Sites Initiative, using sustainability guidelines developed by American Society of Landscape Architects, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden.

Alley Flat Initiative – Seeks to utilize Austin’s alleyways as sites for sustainable, affordable housing alternatives that promote prudent land use.