Frustrated by stale, formulaic, short-sighted practices in land use and real-estate development in the central New Jersey region, Lise Thompson founded Conservation Development in 2004 in order to explore alternative methods—new possibilities—for the planning, construction and use of buildings and communities. Unlike “conventional” development companies, Conservation Development attempts in each of its projects to take a regenerative approach using integrative design tools. Concretely, this means that Conservation Development goes “beyond sustainability” by identifying and enhancing the spirit of the communities and places within and upon which it works.

Because places are complex, understanding them requires a variety of intellectual and professional tools. Conservation Development maintains a network of highly competent collaborators who provide additional expertise and insight when needed. In general, Conservation Development does not view itself as a discrete actor, but as a node in a network of knowledge and expertise which encompasses both local stakeholders and geographically dispersed thought leaders.

Since its inception, Conservation Development has successfully harnessed its deep local connections and broad expertise in real-estate development in order to complete a number of projects. The company has also harnessed its contacts to prepare a number of opportunities for even more powerfully regenerative projects.

Conservation Development represents the continuation of a family tradition. Lise’s father, Bryce Thompson, is the principal of Thompson Land Co., one of the largest private land investment firms in New Jersey. Bryce has been responsible for preserving some 2,400 acres of land within a twenty-mile radius of Princeton. Lise’s interest in regenerative development has emerged organically from and remains deeply rooted in her family’s commitment to rural New Jersey.