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  Future Landscapes Project  

In metropolitan areas across Illinois, developed land area has grown far more rapidly than population. City, suburban and rural residents are concerned about the impacts this “sprawling” development has on their quality of life -- including issues such as traffic congestion, increased infrastructure costs and its fiscal impacts, loss of open space and farmland, air and water pollution, redevelopment, and declining urban schools.

While the debate continues over whether these past changes in the landscape are good or bad, a more important question remains: What does the future hold and how should we adapt? This requires an ongoing assessment of both our values and our understanding of how the world works. What outcomes do we care about? What policies will help achieve these outcomes?

The Future Landscapes Project provides local stakeholders the technical assistance, forum, and tools for assessing these complex regional growth issues. This project will not pre-define “good” or “bad” growth, but will offer regional stakeholders the opportunity to evaluate urban growth patterns and consider if that is consistent with the needs and wants of the local residents.

We are using innovative computer model, called LEAM (Land use Evaluation and impact Assessment Model), to examine and comprehend the complex relationships between what drives growth, where growth is likely to occur (under a variety of scenarios), and the potential positive and negative impacts. The products of LEAM model runs are a series of scenarios; GIS maps or movies that show the transformation of the landscape for a particular region as a product of various policies and their associated economic, social, and environmental impacts.

Peoria-Pekin Future Landscapes Project

St. Louis Metro East Future Landscape Project

LEAM

Contact: Tom Heavisides
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, Illinois 62702


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