I went to the SAMAB conference again today, and learned a lot of things – including that there are exurbs on top of suburbs! I had absolutely no idea about this whole exurb business, and it’s pretty fascinating. Nothing you can google is quite as informative or shocking as the talks I went to – I wish I could post some GIS images from the presentations – but suffice it to say that the urban expansion into exurbs is a lot more worrisome than expansion into suburbs alone.
My favorite talk of the day was on the Farmland Values Project. The project director, Leah Greden Mathews, was the presenter – she did a fantastic job. Here’s their mission statement:
While both farmers and consumers value farmland as a source of income and agricultural productivity, additional farmland benefits accrue primarily to non-farmers as economic, social, and environmental benefits. This project develops a quantitative assessment tool to help rural populations in Western North Carolina better understand the forces and opportunities that affect them by identifying the multiple types of benefits that farmland provides in our region. This tool will help communities recognize the spatial interplay among the economic, social, and environmental factors in their region and thus assist them and policy makers in directing farmland preservation and rural development efforts in a manner that is both socially desirable and economically efficient.
I highly recommend going to their website and checking out the story half of their webpage. It may suck you in – don’t say I didn’t warn you.