Better Models for Development

Eagle Rock Library, Botetourt County, VA Better Model Award Winner
Eagle Rock Library, Botetourt County, VA
Better Models Award Winner

Development does not have to mean destruction of the things people love about a place.  We all treasure the Valley’s legendary natural beauty, historic farms and downtowns, neighborly communities, and inviting open spaces.

The greater Shenandoah Valley region can retain its special character even as its population grows. Economic and environmental goals can be compatible. In fact, maintaining our region’s natural resources and quality of life should be viewed as a priority to assure our economic future.

“Better Models for Development” Program

Valley Conservation Council’s “Better Models for Development” program aims at helping communities to grow in ways that are compatible with the Valley’s irreplaceable natural and cultural heritage. This means supporting the conservation of rural areas and revitalizing the region’s towns and cities. We accomplish this through educational materials, presentations, workshops and conferences, and an awards program.

Our approach is to show positive examples of sensible growth.  The 2010 book Better Models for Development in the Shenandoah Valley: Meeting 21 st Century Challenges uses nearly 300 photographs to illustrate the combination of efforts that together can help communities grow and stay vibrant while respecting and protecting their environment and history.

These “Six Principles for Better Development” can be applied in any community:

  1. Conserve Natural and Scenic Assets
  2. Conserve as You Grow
  3. Build Livable Communities
  4. Preserve Historic Resources
  5. Respect Local Character in New Construction
  6. Reduce the Impacts of the Car

The book is distributed to elected officials and planning commission members of each of the region’s nearly 50 counties, cities, and towns.  We also deliver presentations as requested on any of the topics in the book to provide more examples and details.

Since 2000, VCC has recognized over 70 projects, from every county in our service area, through our “Better Models for Development” awards program.

For more information, contact VCC at 540.886.2541 or


An Accredited Land Trust

Contact Us:

Valley Conservation Council
P.O. Box 988
Staunton, VA 24402
Phone: 540-886-3541

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