Listing of Rural Towns in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Rural Development
of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning,
of Massachusetts, Amherst
Massachusetts chapter of the American Planning Association
MA GIS Protected Open Space Maps, 2002 and 2005 PDF
The Highland Communities Initiative (HCI) is a grant-funded program to promote land conservation and community preservation in rural western Massachusetts. The Highland Communities Initiative (HCI) is administered by The Trustees of Reservations, the oldest and largest conservation organization in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources' mission is to support, promote and enhance the long-term viability of Massachusetts agriculture with the aim of helping this state’s agricultural businesses become as economically and environmentally sound as possible. The Department’s divisions and bureaus are working to fulfill this mission through a variety of initiatives and programs.
Useful links here include:
Agricultural Commission Sample Warrant Articles from five communities.
A listing of current and prospective communities that have Agriculture Commissions as well as detailed plans to establish one in your community.
A Model Right to Farm By-Law The bylaw restates farm protections that exist in various state laws, and adds
notification provisions to remind residents that the town is a right-to-farm
The Massachusetts Office for Commonwealth Development (OCD), a "super agency" created by Governor Romney to oversee the coordination of four state agencies: the Division of Energy Resources (DOER), the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA), the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and the Executive Office of Transportation (EOT). OCD's mission is to care for the built and natural environment by promoting sustainable development through the integration of energy, environmental, housing, and transportation investments, policies, programs, and regulations. OCD is administered by Secretary Douglas Foy.
The Commonwealth Capital (CC) policy (OCD), coordinates state capital spending programs that affect development patterns to ensure that state investments promote projects consistent with the Commonwealth's Sustainable Development Principles.
The overall mission of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) is to safeguard public health from environmental threats and to preserve, protect, and enhance the natural resources of the Commonwealth.
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) allows communities to create a local Community Preservation Fund in the municipality to be used for funds through a surcharge of up to 3% of the real estate tax levy on real property for open space, historic preservation and low and moderate housing. The Act also creates a state matching fund of more than $25 million annually, which will serve as an incentive to communities to take advantage of the provisions of this legislation.
Executive Order 418 (EO418) is comprised of a comprehensive approach to help communities identify suitable locations for new housing production throughout Massachusetts. The Commonwealth provides communities with needed resources and incentives for housing production from a variety of sources.
The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA)
Through the MEPA office, the Secretary conducts environmental impact reviews of certain projects requiring state agency action. Agency actions include granting state permits or licenses, providing state financial assistance, or transferring state land.
Citizen Planning Training Collaborative (CPTC) is a resource for planning board members and citizens interested in planning related issues. CPTC sponsors training events, an annual conference, and is a source for educational resources for planners.
Green Neighborhoods: Open Space Residential Design (OSRD) is a method of planning residential development that conserves open space in a new subdivision.
Commonwealth of MA Capacity Building Resources includes links to several state grant and training programs related to open space preservation.
EOEA's Water Protection website also includes their guide to Low Impact Development (LID)
Smart growth recognizes connections between development and quality of life. Smart Growth Online's website is an excellent resource for tools, techniques, examples and links to related topics.
New Rules Project Institute for Local Self-Reliance promotes our communities and our regions not only as places of residence, recreation and retail but as places that nurture active and informed citizens with the skills and productive capacity to govern their own lives utilizing principles of "new localism."
Community Preservation Partnerships and Resources includes links to Massachusetts' 13 Regional Planning Agencies (RPAs) and pertinent state agencies and nonprofit organizations.
"The Environmental League of Massachusetts is dedicated to protecting the air, water, and land for the people of the commonwealth. We do this by voicing citizens' concerns, educating the public, advocating for strong environmental laws, and ensuring that our laws are implemented and enforced."
"A Short History of America," a series of cartoons by graphic artist R. Crumb, that we like to think of as a short history of sprawl.