Enhancing Chester County's Green Spaces

Posted April 27, 2022


When we think about urban green spaces, we often refer to parks, wooded areas, and meadows. However, while these are some of the more traditional types of urban green spaces, this term has expanded to include any green space in an urban public setting — such as public plazas, streetscapes, green infrastructure, and street trees.

Urban green spaces not only provide an aesthetic appeal within a community, but they also provide benefits to the environment, public health, energy conservation, and property values. Depending on the size and location, urban green spaces can also serve as great areas for community gatherings and events.

These spaces can be identified in a municipality's comprehensive plan, official map, and or/ordinances, as well as in special studies like open space, recreation, and environmental resources plans. The desired function and placement of urban green spaces should be addressed any time ordinances are created or updated. Furthermore, urban green space funding sources, ongoing maintenance, and a community's needs should also be considered.

Examples of urban green spaces can be seen throughout Chester County, but the City of Coatesville's Riverwalk, Kennett Square's Genesis building, and West Chester's 44 West Plaza development are just a few urban sites with attractive green spaces.

One of the major components of urban green spaces includes urban tree protection — which was recently highlighted at the 2022 Landscapes3 Protect Summit on April 19. See Will Williams', Sustainability Director at West Chester Borough's presentation.

Municipalities can also expand their green space and recreational opportunities through the use of parkland dedication and fee-in-lieu provisions in their subdivision and land development ordinances. This regulatory technique offers developers the option to either dedicate recreational facilities within their development or, alternatively, to pay a fee that goes into a municipal recreation fund for the creation of future park facilities.

Examples of these types of ordinance provisions can be seen in East Bradford Township, North Coventry Township, London Grove Township, and Kennett Township's subdivision and land development ordinances.

Urban Green Space eTool

Parkland Dedication and Fee-in-Lieu eTool

CCPC's planning eTools are intended to be user-friendly, providing a quick overview of each topic, an explanation of how it works, and considerations for addressing the topic within a community. Topic categories include agriculture; community health; economic development; environment; historic preservation; housing; land use; open space; transportation; utilities, infrastructure & energy. View the full list of eTools.