Sustainable Communities - A (Radical) Transformation of Virginia

Right Side NewsDonna Holt

As Governor McDonnell's plans for sustainable development, referred to as "sustainable communities", continues to gain momentum, it is worthwhile to step back and take a long look at the big picture, painted with a broad brush to reveal what Virginia might look like as his vision for the Commonwealth is more fully implemented over the next 20 years or so.

The picture painted here is based on official documents published by countless government agencies and non-government organizations during the past two decades as public policy for the transformation of our great nation for a "Sustainable America". These documents were rarely reported in the news, and average working people have no idea what sustainable development really means, and even less knowledge of what is in store for the future. If the vision of sustainable development continues to unfold as it has in the last decade, life in the Commonwealth and the rest of the nation will be quite different in the future. Click on MAP to Enlarge

Sustainable Communities: The Vision Half the land area of Virginia and the entire United States will be designated "wilderness areas," where only wildlife managers and researchers will be allowed. These areas will be interconnected by "corridors of wilderness" to allow migration of wildlife, without interference by human activity. Wolves will be as plentiful in Virginia as they are now in Idaho and Montana.

Surrounding these wilderness areas and corridors, designated "buffer zones" will be managed for "conservation objectives." The primary objective is "restoration and rehabilitation." Rehabilitation involves the repair of damaged ecosystems, while restoration usually involves the reconstruction of natural or semi-natural ecosystems. As areas are restored and rehabilitated, they are added to the wilderness designation, and the buffer zone is extended outward.

Buffer zones are surrounded by what is called "zones of cooperation." This is where people live - in "sustainable communities." Sustainable communities are defined by strict "urban growth boundaries." Land outside the growth boundaries will be managed by government agencies, which grant permits for activities deemed to be essential and sustainable. Open space, to provide a "viewshed" and sustainable recreation for community residents will abut the urban boundaries. Beyond the viewshed, sustainable agricultural activities will be permitted, to support the food requirements of nearby communities.

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