What We Do

We do it differently

Other conservation organizations have built wonderful protections for air and water quality, land, and wildlife. Most of those protections have been won through campaigns aimed at specific targets—a river, a park, a wilderness area, or a species—and many would have been impossible were it not for the system-changing environment protection laws passed primarily in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

We aim to change the economic incentive system that eats away at open space.

We aim to do something different: to change the economic system that gradually eats away at one element of the great natural heritage of the United States: its open space. This is systemic preservation as a long-term complement to piecemeal preservation.

How we do it

Systemic preservation of open space is new. Here are the actions that we do to help make it happen:

  • Publicize the value of open space as a nonrenewable resource. Read more…
  • If you can’t measure it then you can’t manage it.

    —Peter Drucker

  • Measure space. Management guru Peter Drucker wrote, “If you can’t measure it then you can’t manage it.” Measurement of space does not assure its better management or conservation, but it is the first step in making that management possible. Read more…
  • Create a space marketplace, not to trade this specific space for that specific space, but to trade space credits, a currency that balances space loss (caused by construction and development) against compensating space protection. Read more…
  • Monetize space. It is hard to say what the dollar value is of space, but a marketplace in which space credits can be bought and sold will establish its dollar value. Read more…
  • Manage space. Establish policies that require a certain amount of space preservation to balance space loss. This gives a city or a county, for example, the means to establish and enforce a goal, such as “when this jurisdiction is fully built out, 30% (say) of its open space will still be open space.” Read more…