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Green Space: Inventory and Proposal in the City of Geneva

Sarah Holland

"The issue my project is based on is green space in the City of Geneva boundaries. The amount of "Green Space" has become more of a factor that communities utilize to attract new residents or commercial operations. Individuals and families interested in moving into a particular area may also place greater value on communities with high access to parklands, recreational areas or just areas with high aesthetic value.  I am calculating the green space within the city boundaries. The green space in my calculation will be divided between public and private lands. To do this, I am mapping the features with Geographic Information System (ARCGis) software. I am also studying how green space in Geneva is distributed over the community with consideration for income. Do low-income areas have less green space or vice-versa? Based on my findings, I will propose new areas of green space to even the distribution."
- Sarah Holland, William Smith '09
Environmental Studies Major & Economics Minor

What are your goals for the project?  What do you hope to accomplish?

  • Complete the inventory of public and private green space within the boundaries of the City of Geneva.
  • Figure out the distribution of income over the layout of Geneva.
  • Propose new areas and spaces according to the distribution.
  • Another William Smith student, Susan Krindler, is mapping bike paths in Geneva so one other possibility is to connect the bike paths to the green space (and proposed new spaces).

What have you personally learned so far?  How has this project affected you?

In working on this project, I  have had to learn how to work with a Geographic Information’s System (ARCGis) that enables  me to take the collected data and map it to the Geneva area.  My newfound knowledge on GIS will provide me with skills that I can use in the future, especially since I am looking at going into real estate and development planning.  In preparation for collecting the data, I have also increased my knowledge about property, codes, and house ranks.

Another thing that I’ve learned is that there really isn’t a simple solution to this problem.  Even if land is turned into green space, this would most likely turn privatized land into public land which means more land is untaxed.  This would lead to even less revenue for the City of Geneva.  However, I have recently been looking at alternative solutions such as land trust.  Land trusts would allow a property to become green space while under private ownership which would allow the land to continue being on the property tax rolls, thus providing income to the local government.