Boise State University professor Jodi Brandt learned quickly after she moved to Boise a little more than a year ago that Treasure Valley residents are concerned about recent shifts in land use, as more farms are sold and turned into housing developments. Along with a team at Boise State, Brandt is building a map to chart and project these changes.
“Farmland gives people a sense of place," says Brandt. "It’s definitely a part of people’s identity who live in the Treasure Valley. And as they see those farmlands being converted into urban lands, they yearn for that and miss that sense of place.”
The team is using historic data on disappearing farmland in the valley from 2001 to 2011. This will give them an idea of how much farmland will be lost if changes continue at current rates. Brandt says although there are obvious economic upsides to greater urbanization, residents can be negatively impacted when farms give way to housing subdivisions and rapid growth.
“With that kind of land use change and that kind of population growth, there’s going to be something that changes that’s important to you.”
Brandt says the map should be finalized this summer.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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