Open Space

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Rolling hills, miles of walking trails, shimmering lagoons – these beautiful open spaces give residents a break from their daily routines and attract visitors year round. The City of Carlsbad has made a strong commitment to preserving open space to ensure an excellent quality of life for our residents. In 1986 residents voted to approve the Growth Management Plan, which ensures ample land will be set aside as permanent open space. Current projections are that when all the major new development in the city is complete, at least 38 percent of the city will be open space.


  • Open Space ChartThe City of Carlsbad is recognized as having some of the highest standards for open space in the entire region.
  • When all the major new development in the city is complete, the city will remain nearly 40 percent open space (the equivalent to almost eight times the size of Balboa Park).
  • Although cities use different methods to calculate open space, it's safe to say Carlsbad has committed to set aside significantly more open space than our neighboring cities, more than double in some cases: Encinitas (23 percent), San Marcos (14 percent), Vista (12 percent) and Oceanside (18 percent).
  • Nearly 80 percent of the existing preserved open space in Carlsbad is “natural open space,” large undeveloped areas with nature trails and areas for sensitive plants and animals.
  • Carlsbad is the only North County city with an approved Habitat Management Plan, which is a 50-year comprehensive biological approach to preserving natural land for plant and animal species.
  • Under the updated General Plan, Carlsbad will have more open space in the future than we have today, and we’ll exceed the required amount of parkland by 50 acres.

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