In a recent Midtown Brews conversation there was talk about the reduction of land that is not covered/paved over. When a new store is built on uncovered land and a new parking lot is paved onto land formerly covered by vegetation we lose places where water is filtered and seeps into the water table, places that keep water runoff from building into eroding rivers.
Perhaps communities that are into building new businesses or acquiring existing businesses from other communities can make an effort to help the greater region by reclaiming land for green space foot for square foot when new construction takes place. That reclamation does not need to take place within their own community but can be made within another community that may not be able to afford to raze that abandoned drugstore or factory. Suburbs with their new malls can pay for the reclamation of land in the inner city.
Given that this practice would require no net gain in covered/paved space, there would be pressure to be more efficient in footprint usage. There would be more apartments and townhouses and fewer mansions, more parking garages and fewer parking lots, more live/work space and less retail strips.