Urban Open Space Plan

For information, email Scott Whiteman  or call 919-560-4137, ext. 28253,.

The City Council held a public hearing on the Urban Open Space Plan on May 15, 2017.  View the most recent draft of the plan.

About the Urban Open Space Plan

In 2010, the elected boards adopted the 2011-2012 Planning Department work program. That document directed the Planning Department to develop and implement an Urban Open Space Plan for the Downtown, Urban, and Compact Neighborhood (CN) Tiers. As a part of that process, Planning staff began the Downtown Open Space Plan (in the Downtown Tier), in the spring of 2011. That plan has been through the public process and was adopted on October 20, 2014.

The remaining portions of the Urban Open Space Plan  consist of the Compact Neighborhoods and the Urban Tier - a total of (approximately) 17,000 acres. In these geographic areas staff will address open space needs and policies and coordinate with the adopted Downtown Open Space Plan and other adopted plans.

Strategic Plan

The Urban Open Space Plan will support our City’s Strategic Plan, “To enhance thriving, livable neighborhoods, strengthen the foundation, enhance the value, improve the quality and sustainability of neighborhoods and protect our environment through planned, conservation, preservation, enhancement, and restoration of our natural and built environment.” 


In addition, the Urban Open Space Plan should provide guidance to the City and County about the value of open space properties considered for acquisition and create an open space network that can be used throughout the Urban and Compact Neighborhood Tiers. The plan will connect and build on our adopted Downtown Open Space Plan and other adopted plans, including the adopted Durham Trails and Greenways Master Plan, and the adopted Parks Master Plan.

In addition, the plan will provide a toolbox of techniques for protecting high value open spaces within the Urban and Compact Neighborhood Tiers and provide greater connectivity to the urban core and downtown. The plan will also enhance other ongoing projects in areas such as Northeast Central Durham; and serve as a guide to other departments, taking into consideration, stormwater, parks, community gardens, and other spaces that may serve as multi-use, high value spaces.