One of the first known greenbelts was planned in Adelaide, Australia in 1837. A greenbelt known as the Adelaide Parklands surrounds the city’s central business district. In the 1860s, Dundin, New Zealand created a greenbelt to preserve open land challenged by the city’s rapid expansion. Greenbelts took hold in the United Kingdom beginning in the 1940s. The idea was introduced in 1934 by Herbert Morrison, a member of the London Country Council, and expanded by Patrick Abercrombie in his Greater London Plan in 1944. After pressure from environmental, academic, and rural preservation groups, especially the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the UK government established 14 greenbelts around cities in England and Whales, including London, Greater Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge and York. Greenbelt space doubled in England between 1979 and 1993. To date, greenbelts cover 3.8 million acres in England — roughly 12 percent of all English land. [Source: John G. Francis & Leslie Francis, Land Wars: The Politics of Property and Community (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003).] In addition to England, Australia and New Zealand, greenbelts also surround cities in Canada, Sweden, the Philippines, and the United States. Greenbelt policies are often presented as ballot initiatives for which voters consider whether state or local government can zone an area of land to enhance development through the creation of greenbelts. The land may be purchased by governmental bodies or private “land trusts,” or given by owners upon their death. Environmental, anti-sprawl groups and farmers generally support greenbelts; realtors enjoy the increase in the value of property that borders green spaces.
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