Background Materials — Building the Foundation

Building the Foundation

Photo contest entry: Wendy Harbison

Landscapes (1996)

The first comprehensive plan for Chester County established planning policies to guide government decisions. The Landscapes vision focused on preserving character and concentrating growth in appropriate areas.

The Legacy of Landscapes

Landscapes, the county's award winning planning program for the past 20 years, focuses on protecting and enhancing the distinct character of Chester County. Municipalities, the public, and the business community embraced and adopted its strategy for balancing growth and preservation.

Landscapes3 builds on this legacy with a holistic approach to planning that incorporates smart growth principles. The plan recommends sustainable planning practices to meet the needs of today without compromising the needs of future generations. Landscapes3 promotes programs that build community and environmental resiliency.

Renewing the Legacy

Landscapes2 (2009)

Landscapes2 recommitted the county to the original vision of Landscapes and worked to address growth pressure created by the addition of 70,000 new residents.

Learn more about Landscapes and Landscapes2 accomplishments.

Balancing preservation and growth remains the central theme of Landscapes. To continue this balance, Landscapes3 recommits to core principles that will position the county and its municipalities for success:

Resource Preservation

Recommit to protecting the county's open spaces, natural areas, and historic landscapes

Revitalized Centers

Guide compatible growth to the county's urban and suburban centers

Housing Diversity

Provide for diverse and affordable housing meeting the needs of all residents

Transportation Choices

Expand public transit, pedestrian, and bicycle networks


Promote effective multi-municipal and partner cooperation


Respond to changing markets, technology and environmental forces