A Smarter City would use community-accessible data visualization to illustrate tradeoffs involved in important debates about land use. Community input could then be based on facts rather than rhetoric and opinion from opposing sides. In this case in Durham NC, a privately commissioned land survey was used to justify removing buffer protections from a lake that supplies water to the region. It is too hard for an ordinary citizen to know what is the truth: was the land survey correct? will the revised watershed boundary adversely affect water quality? will the development provide badly needed jobs? Better access to data, modeled and visualized so everyone can understand the data, would inform the community debate.
From the Herald Sun Oct 13
Board votes to end N.C. 751 protection
Durham County Commissioners voted 3-2 this week to remove watershed-buffer protection from a 165-acre site along N.C. 751 next to Jordan Lake. The decision followed a lengthy public hearing and debate about whether environmental or economic interests should control the decision. A Raleigh developer wants to use the site for development; on the other side are concerns about impact on the regional watershed.
Durham, N.C., USA. land use, watershed, debate, community, data, visualization, facts, environment