Green Communities Center

Urban Conservation: Thinking Megaregionally

Project Overview

Urban communities are increasingly shaping the conservation future of the South Atlantic. Major metropolitan areas present both direct threats, such as loss habitat and open space, and indirect threats, such as creating barriers to connectivity. As a result of both these direct and indirect threats, and their scale, metropolitan areas pose a challenge when thinking about corridors and connectivity, and many of the traditional approaches to green infrastructure and conservation are not adequate for urban areas.

To address this, the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (South Atlantic LCC) has engaged the American Planning Association's Green Communities Center in a scoping project that is examining how large scale green infrastructure definitions and urban scale definitions can be bridged in order to tackle this challenge and identify areas of shared conservation interest across the rural-urban continuum.

Image courtesy South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

Project Details

The Conservation Blueprint (Blueprint) is a cross-boundary, cross-organization plan that prioritizes areas for shared conservation action in the South Atlantic. It is designed as a resource for conservation action and investment, which identifies areas for shared action at the ecosystem level.

This project will offer:

  • Improved ability to depict areas and actions of shared conservation interest near and within cities;
  • Improved corridor routing through and around municipalities; and
  • Improved relationships between urban planners and other conservation professionals.

To accomplish this, APA will:

  1. Conduct initial research, collect feedback, and facilitate discussions between urban planners and other conservation professionals;
  2. Work with the South Atlantic LCC staff to develop an approach to improve Blueprint design near and within cities;
  3. Work with South Atlantic LCC staff to implement the approach near and within cities and gather feedback from planners and other Blueprint users on implementation of the improved approach;
  4. Evaluate and recommend improvements to the Urban Open Space Indicator and related ecosystem indicators; and
  5. Complete a final report that identifies opportunities and challenges to integrating local government green/blue infrastructure efforts with regional infrastructure approaches like Conservation Blueprint.

South Atlantic Urban Conservation Summit: Thinking Megaregionally

Summary of September 21–22, 2016 Event

In September 2016, 40 planners and conservation professionals with gather in Atlanta to engage with the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative's Conservation Blueprint and set the stage for future Blueprint revisions. The agenda will focus on how planners are working on natural resource conservation and ideas for conservationists and planners to collaborate more closely.


As part of the South Atlantic LCC's Third Thursday Web Forum, APA presented summaries of interviews with planners and conservation professionals from across the Southeast. Participants discussed strategies to limit or mitigate the consequences of development on conservation areas, goals, and challenges. A PDF of the presentation as well as a web recording are available on the South Atlantic LCC event page.