AIPC developed the first comprehensive database of Aquidneck Island’s open space in 2011 to provide the communities of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth with accurate information on their open areas including parks, beaches, ponds, reservoirs, farmland, recreation areas, schools, and vacant land.
The maps and data produced through the project will aid Aquidneck Island communities and policy makers as they plan for future development, expand recreational opportunities, and protect key watersheds.
AIPC used geographic information systems (GIS) technology and data from the island municipalities and the State of Rhode Island to identify and map open space areas. It categorized open space areas by land use, size, ownership type, zoning, and conservation status.
An eight-member advisory committee helped guide the project by working with AIPC to develop goals and verify the accuracy of the data and maps produced through the study. It included representatives from the Aquidneck Land Trust, Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport County Chamber of Commerce, Rhode Island Agricultural Partnership, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Town of Portsmouth, Town of Middletown, and the City of Newport.
The van Beuren Charitable Foundation provided financial support for the project.
- Aquidneck Island has approximately 13,623 acres of open space; almost half is located in Portsmouth.
- Farmland comprises 31.7% of the island’s open space, more than any other land use.
- There are 1,868 acres of land devoted to recreation on Aquidneck Island.
- There are 3,855 acres of publicly-owned open space on the island; the largest public land owner is the City of Newport.