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In early 2002 the New England Environmental Finance Center hosted a series of roundtable discussions among municipal officials, residential developers, land trust representatives, and others about "Innovative Approaches to Land Conservation and Smart Growth". Among our observations was that for many of the over 20 conservation/development partnerships we discussed in the series, creation and maintenance of trust was central to success or failure of various stages of the partnership. This suggested a link between creation of trust and financial return for traditionally opposed project partners.

To further examine this matter, we interviewed 11 round table participants and asked questions about key moments in the course of the project where the main financial benefits or losses were realized, and about specific behaviors (by them or others in the partnership) that led to creation or dissolution of trust. This report describes 1) the roles of developers, land trust representatives, and municipal officials in projects for which interviews were conducted; 2) behaviors project partners felt were central to creation or dissolution of trust; and 3) particular financial benefits that were obtained in these partnerships and that should be attainable in other conservation/development partnerships where trust is cultivated.