Open space design is a form of residential development that concentrates development in a compact area of the site to allow for greater conservation of natural areas. This form of development may also be called cluster design, conservation design, or low impact development (LID). Many of the typical management practices associated with open space design and LID including Reducing Impervious Surfaces, Pervious Pavements, Green Roofs, Rainwater Harvesting, Urban Forestry, Vegetated Swales and Buffers, and Establishing an Infiltration Standard are presented within this guidance document. This fact sheet presents guidance on the development of an ordinance to encourage the use of open space design and LID
Research has shown that open space designs can more effectively reduce a site’s overall impervious cover compared to conventional subdivisions, and command higher prices and more rapid sales because of the attraction of open space and preserved natural features (Zielinski, 2001). Other benefits include lower costs for grading, erosion control, stormwater and site infrastructure, as well as greater land conservation, without the loss of developable lots. Increased open space and less runoff directly translates into lower pollutant loads to downstream waters, protecting lakes, streams and wetlands. This is especially true when the preserved open space is tied into a well designed overall site runoff management plan. Open space design can revitalize city centers, increase the quality of life of its citizens and attract tax-paying businesses and residents to the area.
Open space design is a form of development that allows for greater conservation of natural areas. Approaches include relaxed minimum lot sizes, setbacks and frontage distances in order to maintain the same number of dwelling units at the site while creating more open space.