Greenways and Low Impact Development Shape the Future at VIDA

Residents and visitors to VIDA, San Antonio’s newest master-planned community , will be seeing green.  The dynamic community at the entrance to Texas A&M University-San Antonio will feature all the ideal components of a campus community – restaurants, apartments, homes, shops and more. But community planners are especially excited about THE MAD – The 35-acre Madla Greenway as an important hub for the area.

Greenways and Low Impact Development Shape the Future at VIDAWhat Is a Greenway?

Simply put, a greenway is a corridor of land that consists of dedicated open space, designed to positively impact all types of lives. For people, greenways often harbor trails, pathways, and a natural gathering space for hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, and anyone else that simply enjoys experiencing all nature has to offer. The resulting recreational and transportation opportunities are beneficial to everyone living in the area. Better yet, these greenways are conveniently situated near residential or industrial areas, making them more accessible to local residents. Many people find that homes adjacent to greenways experience a higher valuation than similar homes without greenway access.

Perhaps most importantly, greenways can positively impact the local environment. Since many greenways run alongside rivers and streams, they provide a natural buffer zone between human properties and the natural animal habitats and waterways they share space with. The result is additional shelter for animals, improved water quality, and even reduced flooding of human properties.

Greenways water development - VIDA San Antonio

Low Impact Development

Greenways are a part of a larger effort known as low impact development, or LID. Low impact development is a community design approach that seeks to impact the natural world as little as possible, and use nature to manage some of the common problems posed by a community – particularly stormwater and runoff. As it applies to the existing natural features and waterways in the area, LID efforts aim to meet these five requirements:

  1. Preserve natural features whenever possible
  2. Minimize the impact on natural water sources
  3. Control water runoff from developed areas
  4. Take care to employ water management practices within the community
  5. Help educate the community regarding recycling, water pollution, and other management issues

Developers of VIDA are incorporating a variety of Low Impact Development efforts designed to preserve water quality and support the health of residents, guests and wildlife.  Developer SouthStar Communities reached out to San Antonio River Authority to share plans and receive guidance. 


San Antonio River Authority – Low Impact Development Champions

San Antonio River Authority, or SARA, is the premiere area leader in LID and greenways, focusing on the San Antonio River along its winding 240 mile path to the Gulf of Mexico. Within San Antonio itself, SARA has transformed the San Antonio River Walkway into the city’s most popular attraction, besting even the Alamo in annual visitors. SARA’s work has created a wealth of natural, family-oriented recreational activities along this prominent greenway.

Interspersed among its recreational ventures, SARA’s focus is on the quality of life experienced by every living thing along the San Antonio River. Through various infrastructure and consulting projects, SARA’s LID consultation efforts have resulted in improved water quality, the protection of local wildlife habitats, and the enhanced safety of countless industrial and residential properties from disastrous flooding and runoff incidents.

“VIDA is grateful to have the guidance and involvement from SARA as we plan a community that will add value to the area in so many ways,” says Gretchen Howell, SouthStar Communities Vice President. ” We share a commitment to creating a community that considers all impacts and will showcase the value to incorporating Low Impact Development efforts from the outset.  For more information about our LID community planning efforts, contact VIDA directly.

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