Studies have shown that neighborhood green spaces, whether they are structured parks within neighborhoods or trails that connect  communities together, have a multitude of physical, social and economic benefits to their surrounding communities.

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We asked Charter Homes & Neighborhoods Director of Neighborhood Development, Rob Derck about the importance of preserved common space in our Great American Neighborhoods.

1. Green spaces impact on physical health: Being physically active is more than a personal decision; community design and the availability of open spaces and recreation areas strongly influence how active people are. People living in walkable neighborhoods get about 35–45 more minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week than do people of similar socioeconomic status living in neighborhoods that are not walkable. (According to The Guide to Community Preventive Services created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

2. Social impacts of parks and open space: Parks provide a necessary component of social infrastructure within neighborhoods because they often represent the only central public gathering places for residents. Parks that are well designed, and located as a central amenity to the community often become a place of strong family and homeowner memories and traditions.

3. Economic benefits to residents: Open spaces such as parks and recreation areas can have a positive effect on nearby residential property values. Parks tend to increase the value and sale price of homes and property located nearby. The economic impact parks and recreational areas have on home prices depends on how far the home is from the open space, the size of the open space and the characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood.

4. Economic benefits to municipalities and developers: Open space land, recreation areas and compact developments may provide fiscal benefits to municipal governments. Compact, walkable development, which preserves open space and concentrates development on smaller lots, also provides financial benefits to municipalities related to lower infrastructure costs. Large-lot suburban development patterns require roads, water supply and sewer services that become more costly when extended over greater distances. For developers, neighborhoods that feature open spaces, parks and greenbelts have higher home sale prices, enhanced marketability and often faster sales or leases than conventional development.

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Why does Charter include green spaces in our neighborhoods?

In addition to the many physical, social, and economic benefits to the residents and to the community mentioned above, green spaces represent a huge opportunity, and responsibility, to Charter Homes and Neighborhoods.

Whether the green spaces are centrally-located parks for family and neighbor gathering, or trails that connect the neighborhood together, green spaces are a central focus of our neighborhoods. From the initial thinking about a new neighborhood, Charter focuses on how well-designed green spaces within our neighborhoods will play an essential role in our homeowner’s satisfaction.

While some builders see open space as a requirement in the permitting process, Charter embraces “the green factor” as central to our neighborhood’s success. Rather than always building upon the best developable lands, Charter often preserves these special places as a legacy for all residents to enjoy, and then utilizes our award-winning architecture to frame these special places with character filled homes. This sensitivity to the creation of green spaces is at the core of Charter’s Great American Neighborhoods.

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