Land Use

Chengri Ding and Xingshuo Zhao

Land Market, Land Development and Urban Spatial Structure in Beijing

The paper first examines urban spatial patterns of the gradients of housing and land prices and land development intensity, and then tests the relationship between the land price gradient and housing price gradient. Urban theory predicts the former is steeper than the latter based on the notion of derived demand for land from the provision of housing services. Finally the paper examines the impact of the property of housing production function on urban spatial structure. For the property of housing production function, we are particularly interested in the elasticity of capital-land substitution. The paper concludes 1) market influences over spatial structure, 2) the derived demand for land, and 3) it is the actual (or expected) housing price increases that cause skyrocketing land prices, not the other way around.

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Chengri Ding

Land and Development in China

In the past a couple of decades perhaps there are no other countries like China in which land is so controversial and commands so much attention in policy arena.  Land plays important role in national policy agenda in ways that there is unprecedented in human history.  Land is not only used as a policy instrument to achieve social, economic and environmental development goals, but more importantly attached to many socioeconomic expectations that are root causes of or associated with many prominent issues and challenges.  So the questions arise: 1) what makes land distinctive? (2) what roles do land play in national policy; and (3) what are issues and challenges caused by or associated with land?  This essay will answer these questions in a concise way. 

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Casey Dawkins, Jason Sartori, and Gerrit-Jan Knaap (2012)

Barriers to Development Inside Maryland's PFAs: Perspectives of Planners, Developers, and Advocates

This study presents a summary of stakeholder perspectives on the effectiveness of Maryland's Priority Funding Areas and barriers to growth within PFAs. It relies upon responses to a telephone survey of forty-seven representatives from three key stakeholder groups—planners, policy advocates and consultants, and developers.

Executive Summary

Passed in 1997, Maryland’s Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Initiative took a novel approach to growth management, utilizing the power of the purse to encourage sustainable development. The initiative seeks to discourage suburban sprawl through a targeted spending approach, while also allowing local governments to retain their land use decision-making authority. It required local governments to designate Priority Funding Areas (PFAs) where state infrastructure funding would be focused. Through this tool, the State aimed to promote development and revitalization within Maryland’s urbanized areas, while limiting the urbanization of Maryland’s rural areas and green spaces.[i]

Data from the Maryland Department of Planning, however, suggests that PFAs are having limited impacts. The percent of single-family acres developed outside of PFAs has risen steadily over time.[ii] Development densities have declined in PFAs, with the average parcel size inside PFAs increasing from 0.25 acres in 1990 to 0.28 acres in 2004.[iii] Despite their disappointing performance, PFAs are anticipated to play key roles in future policies regarding development on septic systems and in PlanMaryland, the state development plan.

Given their growing prominence but questionable efficacy, PFAs warrant further examination. That is the purpose of this study, conducted by the Housing Strategies Group of the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland, and funded by the Maryland State Builders Association and NAIOP Maryland chapters. The study relies upon responses to a telephone survey of forty-seven representatives from three key stakeholder groups—planners, policy advocates and consultants, and developers. HSG made every effort to obtain the perspectives of a variety of sources but it is important to note that the survey respondents could not be said to be randomly selected and the sample size is too small for rigorous statistical analysis.

While not presenting new empirical analysis of the influence of PFAs on development patterns across the State, the study does produce new information on how critical stakeholders view the efficacy of PFAs and the barriers to development inside PFAs:

  • Most respondents think PFAs are only somewhat effective or not effective at all. Of those responding to the question, “To what extent have PFAs been an effective urban growth management tool?” 78 percent responded either “not at all effective” or “somewhat effective.” When asked to comment on the effectiveness of PFAs, respondents from each of the three groups interviewed mentioned inconsistencies between state and local planning objectives as contributing to the ineffectiveness of PFAs. In theory, PFAs can provide the opportunity to reduce uncertainty and development costs by coordinating state and local infrastructure investments. There have also been examples of local governments reducing impact fees and providing expedited review processes within their PFAs, but these cases are generally more the exception than the rule. Most suggested that PFAs are either ignored in the local planning process or create additional impediments to local planning, because existing land use patterns and development rights predated the establishment of PFAs. In one jurisdiction, local growth areas are intentionally drawn to be larger than PFAs to create a “buffer” between existing urbanized areas and areas planned for future growth. In explaining continued growth outside PFAs, planners in particular pointed to legacy zoning and grandfathered permits. Others pointed to consumer preferences and the relative ease of development outside PFAs from the regulatory and community opposition perspectives. When development does occur within PFAs, state policy is often less a factor than the strength of the local market for PFA development.
  • Most respondents think it’s more difficult to develop land inside than outside PFAs. When asked, “Holding other things constant, do you believe it is more difficult to develop land inside or outside PFAs?” respondents citing “inside” PFAs outnumbered those citing “outside” by almost four to one. A large percentage (29 percent) also indicated that designation inside or outside a PFA had no impact on the difficulty of development. Several indicated that the difficulties arise not from spatial differences in regulations but in how they are applied. Citizen opposition, for example, can be more severe within PFAs, because the higher density of development implies satisfying a larger number of constituencies. The difficulty of assembling multiple parcels of land makes “staging” of development inherently more difficult. Parking must often be built as structured parking below-grade, increasing construction costs. Utility easement requirements (i.e. 10-foot right of way requirements) often inherently favor suburban development. Environmental regulations, while not directly designed to discourage development within PFAs, may be more difficult to satisfy due to the higher probability of soil contamination combined with additional requirements to achieve LEED certification. Satisfying APFO requirements can also be more difficult within PFAs where roads, schools, and other facilities are more burdened.
  • Citizen opposition, consumer preferences, APFOs, scarcity of zoned land, lack of infrastructure, and stormwater management regulations are the most commonly-cited constraints to developing inside PFAs. Respondents were asked to identify from a list of conditions, which were impediments to development or redevelopment inside PFAs and which were among the top three impediments. The most frequently cited impediments include stormwater management regulations and citizen opposition. Respondents from all categories suggested that recent changes in the State’s stormwater mitigation requirements make redevelopment within existing urban areas more difficult. When asked to prioritize the impediments, the most frequently cited items included citizen opposition, APFOs, scarcity of zoned land, and lack of infrastructure. Combined, these suggest that local regulatory processes requiring substantial citizen review, which are also tied to local infrastructure capacity constraints through APFOs, or ad-hoc moratoria can impose significant constraints to development within PFAs. Respondents also identified quality-of-life considerations, particularly schools and crime, as influencing market demand within PFAs. Developers remarked that inconsistencies between current soft-market realities combined with stringent regulatory constraints limit the feasibility of development within many PFAs. Inappropriate requirements for ground-level retail square footage, parking, stormwater management, and environmental standards are some examples of such inconsistencies.
  • High rise apartments and mixed use developments are viewed as the most difficult products to develop within PFAs. All three groups indicate that while the market for multifamily and mixed-use projects is strongest within many PFAs, these development types are also the most difficult to capitalize and bring to completion. When asked to elaborate, citizen opposition, land availability, economic return and infrastructure capacity were all frequently-cited constraints facing developers of these project types. Several respondents also pointed to a general lack of understanding among the public about mixed-use developments and their potentially beneficial community impacts.
  • Zoning and the adequacy of infrastructure are viewed as the most influential public policy tools. When asked, “Which of the following planning tools is the most important determinant of whether or not a development or redevelopment projects will be approved on a given parcel of land?” a parcel’s status vis-à-vis the PFA made little difference, according to the three groups interviewed. The most important determinants of development approval are the parcel’s zoning and the existence of adequate infrastructure. Policy advocates also point to the importance of local public support and political leadership.


Survey respondents identified a number of ways to improve development conditions in PFAs, ranging from limiting the length of APFO restrictions to reducing impact fees and lowering level of service requirements for certain types of infrastructure inside PFAs. Other recommendations included expediting the state agency review processes and lessening stormwater management and other environmental protection requirements for projects inside PFAs.

Based on the findings of this and previous studies, the HSG offers the following recommendations:

  • Require that PFAs be consistent with growth areas, incorporated into comprehensive plans and be reviewed as part of the comprehensive plan review process every ten years. Currently, PFAs are not required in comprehensive plans, which are reviewed every six years.
  • Require that PFAs contain sufficient development capacity for 20 years of residential, institutional, commercial, and industrial growth. Currently, PFA capacity criteria include only residential development.
  • Provide local governments with greater flexibility in constructing PFAs if they place greater restrictions on development outside PFAs. This recognizes that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to PFAs across the State and would provide local governments some flexibility on the size of PFAs if they restrict development outside PFAs.
  • Require local governments to include a housing element in their comprehensive plans that permits, but does not require, high density and mixed use development.
  • Establish minimum zoned density requirements that vary for urban, suburban, and rural PFA communities.
  • Enable local governments to reduce regulatory restrictions (e.g., road service standards, stormwater management and forest preservation requirements) inside PFAs, especially in transit station areas.
  • Limit development moratoria from adequate public facilities ordinances to four years. If moratoria cannot be lifted in four years, require local governments to increase development capacity elsewhere.
  • Target state infrastructure spending in areas within PFAs under adequate public facilities ordinances moratoria.
  • The State should work with local governments and other development stakeholders to further identify barriers to growth specific to the PFAs within each jurisdiction. Collectively they should work to identify options for overcoming these barriers.
  • The State should work with local governments to periodically conduct a statewide infrastructure needs assessment as well as a review of growth related capital funding approved and planned by the state and local governments.

 

[i] Knaap, Gerrit-Jan, and John W. Frece (2007). “Smart Growth in Maryland: Looking Forward and Looking Back.” Idaho Law Review 43, 445-473.
[ii] Sartori, Jason, Terry Moore, and Gerrit Knaap. Indicators of Smart Growth in Maryland. National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, January 2011.
[iii] Lewis, Rebecca, Gerrit-Jan Knaap, and Jungyul Sohn (2009). “Managing Growth With Priority Funding Areas: A Good Idea Whose Time Has Yet to Come.” Journal of the American Planning Association 75:4, 457-478.

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Arnab Chakraborty and Sabyasachee Mishra (2013)

Land Use and Transit Ridership Connections: Implications for State-level Planning Agencies

Land use and neighborhood characteristics have long been linked to transit ridership. Large-scale agencies, such as state departments of transportations, often make decisions that affect land use pattern and transit services. However, the interdependencies between them are seldom harnessed in decision-making. In this article, we develop and apply a transit ridership model based on land use and other neighborhood characteristics for an entire state. We then discuss its implications for regional and state-level decision-making. We chose the state of Maryland as our study area. Using a number of criteria, we subdivided the state into 1151 statewide modeling zones (SMZs) and, for each zone in the base year (2000), developed a set of variables, including developed land under different uses, population and employment densities, free-flow and congested speeds, current transport capacities, and accessibility to different transport modes. We estimated two sets of OLS-regression models for the base year data: one on the statewide SMZs dataset and other on subsets of urban, suburban and rural typologies. We find that characteristics of land use, transit accessibility, income, and density are strongly significant and robust for the statewide and urban areas datasets. We also find that determinants and their coefficients vary across urban, suburban and rural areas suggesting the need for finely tuned policy. Next we used a suite of econometric and land use models to generate two scenarios for the horizon year (2030) – business as usual and high-energy price – and estimated ridership changes between them. We use the resulting scenarios to show how demand could vary by parts of the state and demonstrate the framework’s value in large-scale decision-making.

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Jason Sartori, Terry Moore, and Gerrit Knaap (2011)

Indicators of Smart Growth in Maryland

Maryland is often referred to as the birthplace of smart growth, a movement in land use planning that contributed to what is now referred to as sustainability planning, sustainable development, and sustainable communities. Maryland adopted a Smart Growth Program in 1997 with the primary purposes being to use incentives to (1) direct growth into areas already developed and having public facilities, and (2) reduce the conversion of farm, forest, and resource land to urban uses.

The National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland was established in 2000 in large part because of Maryland’s leadership in the field of smart growth. Its mission is to provide research and leadership training on smart growth and related land use issues in Maryland and in metropolitan regions around the nation. Thus, a key focus of the Center’s research is Maryland’s Smart Growth Program: where is it effective, and how can it be improved?

This report provides some indicators (also called performance measures) that suggest answers to those questions. The term “suggest” is important: (1) there are many limitations of any assessment based on indicators, no matter how well developed, and (2) the indicator assessment reported here is only in its preliminary stages. Understanding the limitations of indicators is critical to interpreting their significance. Thus, Section 2 and Appendix B of this report discuss in some detail data, methods, and limitations.

Researchers and policymakers acknowledge those limitations, but that acknowledgement does not slack their desire for indicators that say something concrete about whether desired outcomes are being achieved, and at what cost in direct expenditures and spillover effects; and about directions for policy that would increase the desired outcomes, reduce the costs, or both. Sections 3 and 4 address those issues.

Section 3 reports indicators for six categories of issues. Population and employment growth drive development. That development is the immediate concern of the two thrusts of the Maryland Smart Growth Program: it puts pressure on the natural areas that the Program wants to protect, and it can occur in development patterns that not only eliminate and vitiate those natural areas, but also are inefficient from the perspective of providing transportation and other infrastructure and, ultimately housing (and other buildings). Some of the key findings:

  • Population. The population growth rate in Maryland approximately equals the national average. The indicators give no direct, rigorous, or even casual evidence that the Smart Growth Program either increased or decreased the amount or composition of population growth statewide.
  • Employment. Employment and other measures of economic activity have consistently grown over the last two decades in Maryland and all its regions. From 2000 to 2009, Maryland had the 13th highest annualized rate of job growth (1.0%) among the 50 states. Indicator data allow the conclusion that the Smart Growth Program did not stop economic growth, but they do not allow a conclusion about whether the Program increased or decreased that growth from what it would have been in the absence of the Program.
  • Transportation. For most measures of transportation performance that are standardized, Maryland looks like other states: VMT, congestion, and car ownership have risen consistently over time. Maryland has higher transit ridership than most states, some of which may be attributable to the Smart Growth Program but most of which is attributable to Maryland’s proximity to Washington, D.C. and its own historical investments in transit (especially in Baltimore and in suburban Maryland) that pre-date the Program.
  • Development patterns. Urban development continued in Maryland at densities lower than several comparison states from 1990 to 2000. Most of that growth has not been infill of urban areas: the predominant form of urban development in Maryland remains suburban. Three-fourths of the new single-family acres were developed outside PFAs since 1997. Indicators of Smart Growth in Maryland NCSGRE January 2011 Page 3 While this indicator has shown some improvement in recent years, the share of parcels developed outside PFAs continues to demonstrate an increase over time. Despite increases in density for the state as a whole (which is inevitable if there is any population growth), a substantial amount of Maryland’s new growth has been occurring in the exurban areas of the state. The share of population that lives within a half-mile of rail transit stations, however, has generally risen over time.
  • Housing. Although the single-family share of new housing construction has fallen recently, the single-family share of housing in Maryland is high for a highly urbanized state. Housing prices have inflated faster in Maryland than most other states the last few decades, clearly raising questions of affordability, which varies across the state.
  • Natural areas. The trends for acres of farm and forest land have been steadily downward in Maryland and the U.S. for a long time, but data suggest that rate of decline is decreasing. Maryland and its counties have protected well over 1.3 million acres of land. There is still, however, a substantial amount and percent of critical land that is not protected. Measures of air quality are mainly stable or improving, yet measures of water quality demonstrate poor conditions in watersheds across the state.

If the indicators here are leaning in any direction, it is that Maryland has not made substantial progress toward improving its performance in many of the areas pertaining to smart growth. There are, however, reasons to qualify a direct conclusion like that one:

  • Without the kind of research design that goes well beyond the reporting of indicators into statistical controls for multiple explanatory variables, there is no solid way to rebut the hypothesis that what the Maryland Smart Growth Program did was to prevent many indicators from getting much worse than they are.
  • Things take time. Many changes in technology, social attitudes, prices, and the built environment occur slowly. Indicators of Smart Growth in Maryland NCSGRE January 2011 Page 4
  • If it is too early to expect to see much by way of results (e.g., changes to trends) then perhaps indicators of outcomes should be supplemented by indicators of inputs: of efforts made to stimulate future change (i.e., the number and strength of policies to change the patterns and effects of growth).

Related Resource

Indicators of Smart Growth in Maryland: Appendices

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Arnab Chakraborty and Sabyasachee Mishra (2011)

A Case for Increased State Role in Transit Planning: Analyzing Land Use and Transit Ridership Connections Using Scenarios

Land use and neighborhood characteristics have long been linked to transit ridership. Large-scale agencies, such as state departments of transportations, often make decisions that affect land use pattern and transit services. However, the interdependencies between them are seldom harnessed in decision-making. In this article, we develop and apply a transit ridership model based on land use and other neighborhood characteristics for an entire state. We then discuss its implications for regional and state-level decision-making. We chose the state of Maryland as our study area. Using a number of criteria, we subdivided the state into 1151 statewide modeling zones (SMZs) and, for each zone in the base year (2000), developed a set of variables, including developed land under different uses, population and employment densities, free-flow and congested speeds, current transport capacities, and accessibility to different transport modes. We estimated two sets of OLS-regression models for the base year data: one on the statewide SMZs dataset and other on subsets of urban, suburban and rural typologies. We find that characteristics of land use, transit accessibility, income, and density are strongly significant and robust for the statewide and urban areas datasets. We also find that determinants and their coefficients vary across urban, suburban and rural areas suggesting the need for finely tuned policy. Next we used a suite of econometric and land use models to generate two scenarios for the horizon year (2030) – business as usual and high-energy price – and estimated ridership changes between them. We use the resulting scenarios to show how demand could vary by parts of the state and demonstrate the framework’s value in large-scale decision-making.

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Sabyasachee Mishra, Xin Ye, Fred Ducca, and Gerrit Knaap (2011)

A Functional Integrated Land Use-Transportation Model for Analyzing Transportation Impacts in the Maryland-Washington D.C. Region

The Maryland-Washington, DC region has been experiencing significant land-use changes and changes in local and regional travel patterns due to increasing growth and sprawl. The region’s highway and transit networks regularly experience severe congestion levels. Before proceeding with plans to build new transportation infrastructure to address this expanding demand for travel, a critical question is how future land use will affect the regional transportation system. This article investigates how an integrated land-use and transportation model can address this question. A base year and two horizon-year land use-transport scenarios are analyzed. The horizon-year scenarios are: (1) business as usual (BAU) and (2) high gasoline prices (HGP). The scenarios developed through the land-use model are derived from a three-stage top-down approach: (a) at the state level, (b) at the county level, and (c) at the statewide modeling zone (SMZ) level that reflects economic impacts on the region. The transportation model, the Maryland Statewide Transport Model (MSTM), is an integrated land use-transportation model, capable of reflecting development and travel patterns in the region. The model includes all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Delaware, and portions of southern Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, New Jersey, and West Virginia. The neighboring states are included to reflect the entering, exiting, and through trips in the region. The MSTM is a four-step travel-demand model with input provided by the alternative land-use scenarios, designed to produce link-level assignment results for four daily time periods, nineteen trip purposes, and eleven modes of travel. This article presents preliminary results of the land use-transportation model. The long-distance passenger and commodity-travel models are at the development stage and are not included in the results. The analyses of the land use-transport scenarios reveal insights to the region’s travel patterns in terms of the congestion level and the shift of travel as per land-use changes. The model is a useful tool for analyzing future land-use and transportation impacts in the region. 

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Chengri Ding and Xingshuo Zhao

Assessing Urban Spatial Growth Patterns in China during Rapid Urbanization

The enormous success of the Chinese economy has caused remarkable urban spatial expansion, resulting in new urban forms and reshaped city profiles. This article assesses emerging urban spatial forms that are prevalent and sizable enough to have a substantial impact on transportation, the environment, and urban sustainability. Special economic zones (SEZs), university towns, central business districts (CBDs), and mixed land development in terms of urban agglomeration, transportation, and land use externality are examined. It is concluded that efficient gains would be significant if SEZs are integrated with each other as well as with the city proper, university towns are developed to accommodate no more than a couple of colleges, and CBDs are concentrated with high-value activities. It is further concluded that mixed land use may not be an appropriate policy instrument to promote smart growth in Chinese cities because of the high degree of existing mixed land-use patterns.
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Chengri Ding and Erik Lichtenburg

Land and Urban Economic Growth in China

Land to accommodate urban development in China is provided through requisitions by government officials, suggesting that land availability may be a constraint on urban economic growth.  An econometric model of urban GDP growth suggests that land has constrained economic growth in coastal areas but not elsewhere.  Elasticities calculated from the estimated coefficients indicate that land availability has a larger proportional impact on economic growth than domestic and foreign investment, labor supply, and government spending.  The estimated parameters provide evidence about arbitrage opportunities created by discrepancies between urban land value and compensation for requisitioned rural land, suggesting rural unrest associated with conversion of farmland to urban uses may have some economic roots.

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Robert Nelson (2010)

Community Associations at Middle Age: A New Bankruptcy Law and Other Proposals

Community associations represent a major American shift toward collective private
ownership of housing, following in the path of the rise of the private business corporation 100 years ago. The laws overseeing the chartering, organizing, governing, and other aspects of business corporation workings have been significantly revised many times. It has been a case of gaining experience with corporate forms of business ownership and then responding to the problems and opportunities as they have been discovered by businessmen, researchers, and other observers. As more and more community associations now reach middle age, it is time in this area of collective property ownership as well for a full retrospective assessment and new state laws and other institutional initiatives in response to the problems and opportunities as they are identified.

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Bernadette Hanlon, Marie Howland, and Michael McGuire (2010)

Hotspots for Growth: Land Use Change and Priority Funding Area Policy in a Transitional County in the U.S.

This paper uses a logit model to estimate whether and to what extent Maryland’s Priority Funding Area (PFA) program steers urban growth to locations inside targeted growth area boundaries of an ex-urban county in the outer suburbs of the Washington, D.C. region. The results of our model indicate that the size of an agricultural parcel, its distance from urban parcels, its proximity to highways, the quality of the land for agriculture, and the location in or outside of PFAs influence the probability an agricultural parcel will remain in agriculture or be converted to urban use. We find that some of the areas experiencing the greatest market pressure for development are located outside PFAs and, although Maryland’s incentive-based strategy reduces the likelihood a parcel outside a PFA will transition to urban use, this policy is not one hundred percent effective.

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Steven A. Gabriel, Jose A. Faria, and Glenn E. Moglen (2010)

A Multiobjective Optimization Approach to Smart Growth in Land Development

In this paper we describe a multiobjective optimization model of "Smart Growth" applied to land development in Montgomery County, Maryland. The term "Smart Growth" is generally meant to describe those land development strategies which do not result in urban sprawl, however the term is somewhat open to interpretation. The multiobjective aspects arise when considering the conflicting interests of the various stakeholders involved: the government planner, the environmentalist, the conservationist, and the land developer. We present a formulation, which employs linear and convex quadratic objective functions for the stakeholders that are subject to polyhedral and binary constraints. As such, the resulting optimization problems are convex, quadratic mixed integer programs which are known to be NP-complete (Mansini and Speranza, 1999). We report numerical results with this model and present these results using a geographic information system (GIS).

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Robert Nelson (2009)

The Puzzle of Local Double Taxation: Why Do Private Community Associations Exist?

Private community associations have spread quickly in many parts of the United States, even though their members must pay both association dues and local taxes for similar services. Not only do private community associations offer several advantages over traditional governance structures, but local governments often encourage developers to establish them.

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Nikhil Kaza, Gerrit Knaap, and Kelly Clifton (2009)

Economic Scenarios and Development Patterns in the Baltimore‐Washington Region

This paper illustrates the use of scenarios in land use, environmental and transportation planning in and around the State of Maryland. Different assumptions about futures result in different patterns of growth with differential impacts on particular sectors of the economy. Such different patterns require formulation of contingent plans as well as robust plans. In this paper, we illustrate the quantitative modelling methodology of loosely linked economic demographic, transportation and other impact assessment models in constructing two scenarios; one of which represented the best possible guess about the continuation of the future and other involving rapid changes to energy prices and Federal spending. We illustrate the spatial development outcomes and the transportation and environmental plans that are necessary to deal with these different outcomes. Further, we illustrate that different planned actions have different efficacies in different futures and thus multiple futures should be carefully considered. Finally, we illustrate the notions of contingent plans and robust plans.

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Rebecca Lewis, Gerrit Knaap, and Jungyul Sohn (2009)

Managing Growth With Priority Funding Areas: A Good Idea Whose Time Has Yet to Come

Problem: In 1997, the State of Maryland adopted a bold new approach to growth management based on a novel instrument: priority funding areas (PFAs). PFAs contain growth by directing state spending to areas designated by local governments and reviewed by the state government. Despite widespread acclaim and subsequent imitation, little is known about whether PFAs effectively contain urban growth.

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to evaluate the adoption, implementation, and performance of PFAs in Maryland in order to provide planners and policymakers with insights into their efficacy as instruments for managing growth.

Methods: First, we describe the statutory definition and mandated role of PFAs in state funding. Then, we describe the process used to create PFAs, the resulting pattern of targeted growth areas, the relationship between PFAs and local comprehensive plans, and the extent to which PFAs altered state spending. Finally, we examine the effects of PFAs on residential development patterns.

Results and conclusions: We find that PFAs have fallen short of expectations. The criteria used to establish PFAs produced boundary configurations that vary widely and are in many cases not ideally suited to managing urban growth. Ten years after their official designation, PFAs are not well integrated in land use decision making processes in many local jurisdictions. Finally, state agencies have not altered budgetary systems to monitor and guide the spatial allocation of funds and there is little evidence that after 10 years they have had any effect on development patterns.

Takeaway for practice: Targeting state funds to promote compact growth is a conceptually sound approach to urban growth containment, as land is less likely to be developed if it is not served by public infrastructure. But, as with other planning tools, the key is effective implementation. If states want to contain growth by targeting state spending, they must change budgeting processes to ensure that funds are spent appropriately and that the level of state spending is large enough to make a difference.

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Erik Lichtenburg and Chengri Ding

Local Officials as Land Developers: Urban Land Expansion in China

We investigate conceptually and empirically the role of economic incentives in the primary land allocation in China in recent years.  A theoretical analysis demonstrates how recent fiscal and governance reforms give rise to land conversion decisions and long run urban spatial sizes that respond to economic incentives even though the allocation of land between urban and rural uses is determined administratively.  An econometric investigation of China’s coastal provinces finds that changes in urban area are increasing in the value of urban land and budgetary government revenues and decreasing in the value of agricultural land, results consistent with the theoretical analysis. 

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Chengri Ding

Policy and Planning Challenges to Promote Efficient Urban Spatial Development During Rapid Transformation in China

This paper investigates the linkage between emerging urban spatial development and institutional arrangements in China. Emerging spatial patterns, which are prevalent and sizable so that any impacts will be substantial, include dispersed employment concentration, fragmented land development, over-scaled land development, leapfrogging development, and whack-a-mole development. From the institutional aspects, these patterns are associated with decentralization, fiscal incentives for local government, land regulations, and fragmented planning system. It is concluded that these emerging spatial patterns significantly affect long term city sustainable growth and comprehensive reforms are needed to promote efficient urban spatial forms. It is further concluded that labor division between planning and markets should be reshaped in determining urban spatial growth by shifting planning to focus on zoning that provides sufficient development room in a long term and making markets to decide the timing of land development.

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Robert Nelson (2008)

Community Associations: Decentralizing Local Government Privately

The system of local government in the United States in being transformed by the rise of the private community association. Local government in the pubic sector is increasingly limited to large county and municipal governments--also sometimes large special districts--that assume responsibilities of a regional and metropolitan scope. The regulation of land to protect neighborhood environmental quality, and the delivery of small-scale services, is increasingly the responsibility of a private government. Previous studies have described these new patterns of governance, but little literatuer is available to understand the full reasons for such changes. This chapter offers several hypotheses relating to the magnitude of transaction costs under alternative forms of land tenure.

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Nikhil Kaza, Gerrit Knaap, and Douglas Meade (2008)

Exploring Alternative Futures Using a Spatially Explicit Econometric Model

This paper illustrates the application of various forecasting methodologies in constructing multiple scenarios for the state of Maryland using Long term Inter Industry Forecasting Tool that tracks inter-industry outputs at a macro scale, and State Employment Model that disaggregates these outputs to the states. We then use accessibility, land availability and observed relationships of employment categories to distribute employment at a county level. In this paper, we identify the possible advantages and pitfalls of using large scale economic models to drive employment forecasts at the county level. This framework allows for simulating the implications of macroeconomic scenarios such as changes in exchange rates and unemployment levels, as well as local land use and transportation policies on local employment and demographics. In particular, we focus on two scenarios as test cases both of which involve very different ideas about how future might unfold and their effects on land use and transportation policy prescriptions. One of the scenarios involves, among others, rises in health care spending over the next few years and the other involves increases in energy prices. As will be shown, they have different spatial effects and suggest different policy actions on the part of various governments.

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Shih-Kung Lai, C. Ding, Po-Chun Tsai, I-Chih Lan, Minsheng Xue, Ching-Pin Chiu, Li-Guo Wang

A game-theoretic approach to urban land development in China

The property rights approach to urban development has recently been proposed in the planning literature to explain how urban systems self-organize spatially and institutionally. The land-tenure system is one of the key factors affecting land use and thus urban development. It is not clear, however, how such a factor affects the process of urban development. This research aims to provide reasonable explanations as to how the land-tenure system in China in general affects urban development, by building game-theoretic models which include plans as a manifestation of information and property rights as a manifestation of land-use rights. Viewing regulated development as a collective good, the model is based on the prisoner’s dilemma game, where the local government regulates and the developer makes development decisions. Preliminary results show that land rights in the transitional economy of China are of paramount importance and must be clearly specified in order to make the land development process efficient at reducing transaction costs.
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Qing Shen, Chao Liu, Joe Liao, Feng Zhang, Chris Dorney (2007)

Changing Urban Growth Patterns in a Pro-Smart Growth State: The Case of Maryland, 1973-2002

This paper presents a study of recent urban growth patterns in the state of Maryland, which is known as a leader in the current smart growth movement. Five research questions are addressed in this study. First, what have been the trends in urban growth and land use in Maryland for the past 30 years? Second, to what extent have recent urban development patterns in Maryland matched the typical characterization of sprawl? Third, how have the intensity of urban land uses and the physical forms of urban growth in this state varied among its counties? Fourth, have the smart growth initiatives, especially the “Smart Growth Area Act,” significantly affected urban development patterns? Fifth, does the effectiveness of smart growth initiatives vary significantly across local jurisdictions? To answer these research questions, we measure, analyze, and model urban development patterns in Maryland using land use and land cover (LULC) and demographic data for 1973, 1992, 1997, 2000, and 2002. By calculating several important indicators of urban development patterns, we find that for the past three decades population densities have continued to decrease for the state as a whole. However, this trend has slowed since 1997, when the state implemented the smart growth programs. The land conversion rate has somewhat decreased, which indicates that smart growth initiatives have helped, in a limited way, curtail the growing demand for urban land and residential space. Further, we find that the patterns of urban growth and land use have generally become slightly less fragmented and more continuous since 1997. Additionally, we find significant variations in urban development patterns among local jurisdictions. In general, higher densities, higher levels of compactness, and lower levels of fragmentation are observed in the more urbanized counties. Moreover, by estimating a series of logit models of land conversion, we find that Maryland’s “Smart Growth Area Act” has generally increased the probability of land use change from non-urban to urban for areas designated as “Priority Funding Areas.” The effectiveness of this program, however, varies significantly across the counties. We discuss the implications of these findings and identify the directions for future research. 

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Gerrit Knaap and John Frece (2007)

Smart Growth in Maryland: Looking Forward and Looking Back

Spring of 2007 will mark the 10th anniversary of the passage of Maryland’s Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Initiative; an effort designed to discourage sprawl development, foster more compact communities, protect the best remaining farms and open space in the state, and save taxpayers from the growing cost of providing services and infrastructure to serve far-flung development. Almost before its various provisions took effect in 1997 and 1998, the Maryland initiative generated interest and acclaim across the country. It received numerous awards and became the principal legacy of the program’s primary architect, former Governor Parris N. Glen- dening. Governors in other states, such as New Jersey, Colorado and Massachusetts, instituted their own “smart growth” proposals, often modeled after portions of the Maryland program. Even the popularity and wide usage of the now omnipresent phrase “smart growth” can be attributed in large part to the Maryland program.

But, what has been the effect of Maryland’s Smart Growth pro- gram? Looking at it some ten years later, has it worked? Did it accomplish what it was designed to do? What have been the strengths and weaknesses of the Maryland approach, and how can lessons from the Maryland experience be used to offer a new set of policymakers in Maryland, as well as elsewhere in the nation, practical suggestions on how to make smart growth smarter?

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Gerrit Knaap and Rebecca Lewis (2007)

State Agency Spending Under Maryland’s Smart Growth Areas Act: Who’s Tracking, Who’s Spending, How Much, and Where?

In 1997, the Maryland General Assembly enacted the Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation initiative, an attempt by state government to use the state budget to concentrate urban development in certain areas. The primary vehicle for this approach was embodied in the Smart Growth Areas Act, which required that all “growth-related” funding by state agencies occur in locally designated “Priority Funding Areas” (PFAs) that met certain state criteria. The intent of the Act was to restrict state spending so it became easier for local governments and private developers to concentrate urban development within the PFAs, while at the same time, discourage development outside PFAs.

Data recently released by the Maryland Department of Planning, however, reveal that the Act is not having its intended effect. Although approximately three-fourths of all residential permits issued from 1990 to 2004 were for development inside PFAs, approximately three- fourths of the land developed for residential use over the same period was developed outside PFAs. Furthermore, the share of permits issued for residential development outside PFAs has risen from approximately 28.6 percent in 1998 to 31.6 percent in 2004, while the share of acres developed for residential use outside PFAs has risen from 76.7 percent in 1998 to 77.2 percent in 2004.1 These data suggest that the Smart Growth Areas Act has not concentrated growth inside PFAs as intended.

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Antonio M. Bento (2006)

The Effects of Moratoria on Residential Development: Evidence from Harford, Howard, and Montgomery Counties

During the last decade, the state of Maryland was one of the fastest growing states in the United States. In response, the state has implemented an aggressive “smart growth” initiative. One of the most popular smart growth policies, adopted by several counties in the state of Maryland, is an Adequate Public Facility Ordinance (APFOs). An APFO is a spatially delineated land use control that aims to prevent development from occurring in areas where certain public services are overcrowded. An example of an APFO is a standard on elementary school capacity which limits the amount of new development at the school district level. Despite their extensive use, very little is known about the effects of these policies.

The purpose of this report is to answer the following three questions:

  1. What is the direct impact of an AFPO? That is, when a policy area is under moratoria, what is the resulting growth of new residential stock and how does that compare with policy areas that do not have moratoria?
  2. What is the overall impact of the policy? In other words, does the policy reduce total new development in the county or does it simply re-direct growth from one policy area to another?
  3.  How much of the areas under moratorium overlap with Priority funding areas, in other words, are county land use policies in conflict with State smart growth priorities?
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Gerrit Knaap (2006)

A Requiem for Smart Growth?

Presented at “Planning Reform in the New Century,” Washington University Law School, St. Louis, Mo, December, 2004

In the days following the 2004 presidential election there was much consternation in Democratic circles. George Bush won again; the Republicans picked up seats in the House and Senate; and the Republican majority seemed to have grown in depth and strength. Pundits and progressives were already wondering--could the Democrats ever recapture the hearts of an American public now apparently obsessed with security, morality, and personal charm.

Among academic and professional planners there was similar concern. Although John Kerry had never been a champion of smart growth, it was clear that the prospects for smarter growth were far greater in an administration headed by Kerry than one headed by Bush. Smart growth had not fully disappeared in the federal agenda in the first Bush administration, but the momentum had clearly waned. Further, the discussion in the planning chat-rooms and list serves focused on the blue and red maps, which made clear that Republicans dominated not only the central and southern states but also the rural and suburban areas of most every state in the union. The subject line of one long conversation on the PLANET list serve was “sprawling Republicans” which conveyed the alarm: the new American majority was deeply rooted in urban sprawl.

In the wake of these political events, it is reasonable to ask: can smart growth survive another term of President Bush? If so, what must be done to regain the momentum and capture the favor of an ever-growing conservative majority? In this period of national reflection, therefore, I consider the state of smart growth and its prospects for the near- term future. I start with a brief history of its evolution, continue with an examination of recent trends, and follow with an assessment of whether smart growth will change those trends. I conclude with recommendations for how smart growth might adapt to the new political realities.

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The National Center for Smart Growth (2006)

Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances in Maryland: Inappropriate Use, Inconsistent Standards, and Unintended Consequences

The purpose of this study is to examine the implementation and effects of APFOs and the relationship between APFOs and Maryland’s Smart Growth policy. Thirteen counties and 12 incorporated municipalities in Maryland have enacted ordinances designed to assure that infrastructure necessary to support proposed new development is built concurrently with, or prior to, that new development. These Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances, or APFOs as they are commonly called, are designed to assure that public schools, roads, sewers, water for fire fighting, police and rescue response times and/or other infrastructure or services are “adequate” to support proposed new development. APFOs are timing devices that can be a useful tool for managing urban growth. When properly used, they can help ensure that needed facilities and services are available for new development and can signal to planners and elected officials what types of infrastructure, in which particular growth areas, are in need of additional capital improvement spending. They are intended to provide the rationale for prioritizing infrastructure investment decisions. As of April 2005, 13 counties and 12 municipalities had implemented APFO ordinances. In terms of categories of services included in the 12 county APFOs, all cover schools and roads. While two counties limit their APFOs to those two service categories, nine others include water and sewage capacity; three include water for fire suppression in rural areas, two include police/fire/rescue services; and one includes recreation. Not only do categories of services included in the APFOs vary, but so do a) the standards used to gauge adequacy, and b) the approaches taken by the counties when a development proposal is judged as leading to service or facility inadequacy. Moreover, APFO standards in a given jurisdiction can and do change over time as local elected officials respond to the concerns of constituents, other stakeholders and changing public policy objectives.

This study finds that APFOs in Maryland are often poorly linked to capital improvement plans, and moratoria can last for indefinite periods of time. Further, the consequences of APFOs in Maryland are often unintended and their effects frequently contrary to the broader land use policies of the state. In many counties that employ APFOs, they have become the dominant planning tool rather than just one of many tools a county might use to manage its growth.

When roads, schools or other infrastructure are judged to be insufficient to meet the standards established within APFOs, the result is often a moratorium on building until the infrastructure is ready to come on line. Often, the only way these moratoria can only be lifted is through the payment of impact fees by developers. These fees are, in turn, passed through to new home buyers. While this practice is justified by some observers as being consistent with the “benefit standard” (i.e., those who benefit from a particular service or facility should be the ones to pay for it), it ignores the benefits that accrue to the community from new development. Another perspective is that it places a disproportionate burden for the cost of new infrastructure on new home buyers. Under the latter perspective, if new development is consistent with a jurisdiction’s comprehensive plan, then it is appropriate for the funding for needed services and services be borne by the jurisdiction as a whole.

The study also finds that APFOs are applied in ways that often deflect development away from the very areas designated for growth in county comprehensive plans to rural areas never intended for growth, to neighboring counties, or even to adjacent states. An analysis of the effects of APFOs on housing in Harford, Howard, and Montgomery counties found that over a three-year period, APFOs deflected as much as 10 percent of the new home development that otherwise would have been built within the PFAs of those counties. It is likely that the cumulative effect is that the amount of housing available in those counties is reduced, housing prices are inflated, and the growth simply moves elsewhere.

APFO consistency with a local comprehensive plan is possible only if adequate funding is allocated to provide necessary infrastructure in the plan’s designated areas. That, however, is often not the case. In short, APFOs appear to be fueling the same pattern of development the state’s Smart Growth policy is intended to curtail. This result appears to be at odds with both the intent underlying the enactment of local Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances and the land use goals of the state.

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John Frece (2006)

Today's Vision, Tomorrow's Reality: Summary Report of the Reality Check Plus Growth Visioning Exercises

"Reality Check Plus” was the name given to a series of growth visioning exercises that were held in four different regions in Maryland in late spring 2006. The events were designed to help elected officials, government leaders, business executives, civic organizations, environmentalists and everyday Marylanders become more aware of the level and pace of growth that is projected to come to Maryland by 2030 – and to ask them think about the potential challenges and consequences Marylanders will face as a result of such dramatic change. It also was designed to encourage citizens and elected officials to think about ways to address growth issues on a regional or even statewide basis.

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The National Center for Smart Growth (2005)

Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances in Maryland: An Analysis of their Implementation and Effects on Residential Development in the Baltimore Metropo

This report examines the relationship between local APFOs and Smart Growth implementation in Maryland. The overall purpose of the study is to determine whether, the degree to which, and reasons why, APFOs complement or frustrate development in Maryland’s Priority Funding Areas. This report addresses the issue through case studies of six (6) of the 13 counties in Maryland that have implemented APFOs. The six counties are located in north central Maryland, and include Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Queen Anne’s. The case studies involved a) analysis of each jurisdiction’s APFO and its impact fee or excise tax policies (if any), and the APFO’s relationship to the local comprehensive plan; and b) interviews with county planners and with building industry professionals familiar with the county’s APFO.

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The National Center for Smart Growth (2005)

Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances in Maryland: An Analysis of their Implementation and Effects on Residential Development in the Washington Metrop

This report examines the relationship between local APFOs and Smart Growth implementation in Maryland. The overall purpose of the study is to determine whether, the degree to which, and reasons why, APFOs complement or frustrate development in Maryland’s Priority Funding Areas. This report addresses that issue through case studies of six (6) of the 13 counties in Maryland that have implemented APFOs. The six counties include Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s. The case studies involved a) analysis of each jurisdiction’s APFO and its impact fee or excise tax policies (if any), and the APFO’s relationship to the local comprehensive plan; and b) interviews with county planners and with building industry professionals familiar with the county’s APFO.

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Reid Ewing (2005)

Can the Physical Environment Determine Physical Activity Levels?

Can the physical environment determine physical activity levels? Does your place of residence affect your level of physical activity and ultimately your weight and health? There is relatively strong evidence of association between compact development patterns and use of active travel modes such as walking and transit. There is weaker evidence of linkage between compact development, overall physical activity, and downstream weight and health effects.

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Reid Ewing, Otto Clemente, Susan Handy, et al. (2005)

Identifying and Measuring Urban Design Qualities Related to Walkability

In active living research, measures used to characterize the built environment have been mostly gross qualities such as neighborhood density and park access. This project has developed operational definitions and measurement protocols for subtler urban design qualities believed to be related to walkability. METHODS:  Methods included: 1) recruiting an expert panel; 2) shooting video clips of streetscapes; 3) rating urban design qualities of streetscapes by the expert panel; 4) measuring physical features of streetscapes from the video clips; 5) testing inter-rater reliability of physical measurements and urban design quality ratings; 6) statistically analyzing relationships between physical features and urban design quality ratings, 7) selecting of qualities for operationalization, and 8) developing of operational definitions and measurement protocols for urban design qualities based on statistical relationships. RESULTS:  Operational definitions and measurement protocols were developed for five of nine urban design qualities: imageability, visual enclosure, human scale, transparency, and complexity. CONCLUSIONS:   A field survey instrument has been developed, tested in the field, and further refined for use in active living research.

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Reid Ewing and Richard J. Kuzmyak (2005)

Comparing Forecasting Methods: Expert Land Use Panel vs. Simple Land use Allocation Model

An Expert Land Use Panel was used to forecast the land use impacts of a major highway project in the Washington, DC area, the Inter-County Connector. What makes this panel noteworthy is the fact that a subgroup of panelists, convinced that the accessibility impacts of the highway were not being adequately considered by the majority, developed a simple land use allocation model which they then used to produce independent forecasts. This allows us to compare more intuitive and ad hoc forecasts based only on expert opinion with those based on a formal land use allocation model. At least in this case, the two differed sufficiently to suggest that the two processes are not mere substitutes for one another. This prompts us to recommend that subsequent panels be fed accessibility data early in the process to inform their intuitive judgments, and that simple land use allocation models be considered as a complement to expert opinion.

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Claire A. Jantz, Scott J. Goetz, Patrick A. Jantz, and Brian Melchior (2005)

Resource Land Loss and Forest Vulnerability in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The contemporary pattern of urban development in industrialized countries is increasingly taking the form of low density, decentralized residential and commercial development. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which is located within the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, dispersed development patterns have been linked to habitat fragmentation and declining water quality. Our objectives were to document how this urbanization process has expanded throughout the watershed and to explore how lands comprising the natural resource base, particularly forests, have been replaced by a matrix of the built environment.

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Gerrit Knaap and Yan Song (2005)

The Fruits of Growth Management in the Sunshine State: An Examination of Urban Form in Orange County, Florida

The state of Florida is nationally recognized as a leader in urban growth management. In 1972, Florida’s legislature passed a host of statutes aimed at addressing the increasingly apparent strains on the natural environment caused by then uncontrolled development. The Florida Environmental Land and Water Management Act of 1972 was based on the American Law Institute Model Land Development Code, and created a new regulatory process for “developments of regional impact” (DRIs) in those jurisdictions with local land use controls (FLA. STAT. §§ 380.06, 380.012 et seq.). It also provided for designation of environmentally sensitive “areas of critical state concern,” which entailed stringent state oversight of development (FLA. STAT. § 380.05). Other legislation passed that year include the Florida Water Resources Act of 1972, which created regional water management districts, and the Land Conservation Act of 1972, which authorized the Governor and Cabinet to buy environmentally endangered lands and land for outdoor recreational use (FLA. STAT. §§ 373.013 et seq., 259.01 et seq.).

Specifically related to land use planning, the Florida State Comprehensive Planning Act of 1972 required the Governor to prepare a State Comprehensive Plan, which would articulate goals and policies to guide Florida’s future growth following enactment by the legislature (FLA. STAT. § 186.001 et seq.)

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Gerrit Knaap and Yan Song (2005)

The Transportation-Land Use Policy Connection

In this paper, we explore the transportation-land use policy connection. More specifically, we consider the question: can land use policy be used to alter transportation behavior? The answer is of some importance. If the answer is yes, then there is hope that land use policies can be designed and implemented that will bring some relief to the gridlock and complex transportation problems facing US metropolitan areas. This is the underlying assumption behind most smart growth policy reforms. If the answer is no, then land use policy may still be important, but is not likely to play an important role in resolving transportation issues.

We proceed as follows. First we offer a schematic that identifies necessary conditions for land use policy to play a role in addressing transportation issues. Specially,we argue that for land use policy to play an effective role, three conditions must hold.  First, land use must be able to alter transportation behavior. Second, transportation infrastructure must not fully determine land use. Third, the condition on which we consider most extensively, land use policy must significantly and constructively affect land use. After presenting the schematic, we consider the evidence on each of these conditions. Based on our review of the evidence, we conclude that land use policy can play an effective role in addressing transportation issues, but that the role is likely to be small, often counter productive, and most effective at the neighborhood scale.

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Erik Lichtenberg and Chengri Ding (2005)

Assessing Farmland Protection Policy in China

The government of China has had pronounced concerns about its ability to continue feeding a growing population since the mid-1990s, when Lester Brown (1995) predicted that China would soon need to resort to grain imports on a scale massive enough to cause severe disruptions in world markets. Like Lester Brown, the government of China targeted conversion of farmland to industrial and residential uses, especially in the most productive agricultural regions, as the chief threat to the nation’s continued capacity to produce adequate levels of staple cereals. According to official government statistics, China lost over 14.5 million hectares of arable land between 1979 and 1995. While those losses were partially counterbalanced by the addition of 10.1 million hectares of arable land from reclamation activity, that additional arable land was lower in quality and located in areas with less favorable climatic conditions, suggesting that the loss of agricultural production capacity exceeded the net loss of arable land (Ash and Edmonds 1998). Farmland land losses on such a scale could well be significant for China: Even though it has a territory roughly equal in area to that of the United States, only about a third of that land area can be utilized productively for agriculture.

The government of China responded to these food security concerns by introducing a number of measures aimed at protecting farmland, especially farmland with the greatest production potential. Nevertheless, land planted to the staple cereal crops wheat and rice has continued to fall, as has the amount of “cultivated” land. For example, yields and sown area of wheat and rice, the principal staple food grains, peaked in 1997 and has fallen steadily since (Economic Research Service).

This paper assesses the performance of China’s farmland protection policies in light of its food security goals. We begin with a description of those policies. We then examine the extent to which those policies address actual losses in food production capacity. Next, we consider whether farmland protection is the most efficient—or even a necessary—means of meeting China’s food security goals. Finally, we discuss inefficiencies in farmland conversion, examine previously unrecognized causes of excessive land conversion and unintended consequences of China’s farmland protection policies, and discuss implications for future policy development.

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James Cohen (2004)

Water Supply as a Factor in Local Growth Management Planning in the U.S.: A Review of Current Practice, and Implications for Maryland

In February of 2002, as aquifers, streams and reservoirs in many parts of Maryland reached record lows, 72 members of the state's General Assembly signed a letter to the then-Governor Parris Glendening requesting the creation of a special commission to investigate ways of stemming the decline of water supplies. A year later, Governor Robert Ehrlich signed an executive order creating a Water Resource Management Advisory Committee. Among other activities, that committee is directed to review ongoing scientific research on climate change and its regional impacts on water sources; assess the adequacy of current governmental laws, policies, regulations, resources, regulatory enforcement and monitoring programs directed to water resource management, development, conservation and protection in the State; and make recommendations for the actions needed (and the associated costs and funding alternatives) to ensure that the State’s water resources are used “in a manner consistent with their long-term sustainable use and protection.”

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Shengling Chang, Ping Sung, and Aimee LaMontagne (2004)

Can City Lifestyle be a Catalyst for Smart Suburban Change?: A Comparative Investigation into How Asian and Latino Immigrants’ Prior Urban Experiences

The research investigates how Asian and Latino immigrants’ prior urban experiences can inform the future planning and growth of suburban communities in Maryland. The investigation of Maryland immigrants’ various built environment (dwelling, landscape, neighborhood, transportation mode) preferences will result in a set of ecologically appropriate and culturally sensitive design guidelines that will help shape the future of the rapidly growing suburban communities.

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Kelly J. Clifton, Gary Davies, William G. Allen, and Noah Radford (2004)

Pedestrian Flow Modeling for Prototypical Maryland Cities

Pedestrian safety is emerging as a major area of concern for MPO's and planning agencies. Typically, pedestrian safety has been analyzed by either examining the absolute number of pedestrian crashes at a location, or computing an exposure rate from the number of crashes and the traffic volume. A more desirable measure would be an exposure rate based on the pedestrian volume, but it has not proven feasible to obtain pedestrian flow volumes on a widearea basis to support this analysis. This report describes a pedestrian flow modeling process that was developed under the sponsorship of the Maryland DOT and the University of Maryland National Center for Smart Growth. The process provides micro-scale daily pedestrian flows on all sidewalks and crosswalks in a substantial coverage area. Two test cases were analyzed: an urban scenario comprising about 10 square miles of downtown Baltimore, and a suburban scenario comprising about 15 square miles of Langley Park in Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties.

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James Cohen and Gerrit Knaap (2004)

Planning and Development Control at the County Level in the United States: Lessons from Montgomery County, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia

This report provides an overview of planning and development control at the county level in the United States based on a case-study analysis of two counties in the Washington, DC metropolitan area: Montgomery County, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia. The intent is not to provide an in-depth analysis of the differences between these two counties but instead to demonstrate general principles and procedures of county planning in the United States.

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Richard Etlin (2004)

The Future of Tysons Corner: A Fifteen-Point Blueprint for the New “Downtown” of Northern Virginia

Joel Garreau's book "Edge City" made Tysons Corner synonymous with auto-centric sprawl, yet the Tysons Corner Comprehensive Plan aims to transform the area into a pedestrian- and transit-friendly downtown for Fairfax, Virginia. This report by Distinguished University of Maryland Professor, Richard Etlin, proposes 15 recommendations to improve upon the comprehensive plan and realize a new vision for development in Tysons Corner.

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Reid Ewing (2003)

Building Environment to Promote Health

Editorial published in the "Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health" on the future of collaboration between public health and urban planning professionals.

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Jayanthi Rajamani, Chandra R. Bhat, Susan Handy, Gerritt Knaap, and Yan Song (2003)

Assessing the impact of urban form measures in nonwork trip mode choice after controlling for demographic and level-of-service effects

The relationship between travel behavior and the local built environment continues to be a contentious issue, despite several research efforts in the area. The current paper investigates the significance and explanatory power of a variety of urban form measures on nonwork activity travel mode choice. The travel data used for analysis is the 1995 Portland Metropolitan Activity Survey conducted by Portland Metro. The database on the local built environment was developed by Song (2002) and includes a more extensive set of variables than previous studies that have examined the relationship between travel behavior and the local built environment using the Portland data. A multinomial logit mode choice model results indicate that higher residential densities and mixed-uses promote walking behavior for nonwork activities.

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Reid Ewing (2003)

Travel and Environmental Implications of School Siting

Travel and Environmental Implications of School Siting, released by the EPA on October 8, 2003, is the first study to empirically examine the relationship between school locations, the built environment around schools, how kids get to school, and the impact on air emissions of those travel choices. Over the next few decades, communities making decisions about the construction and renovation of thousands of schools will be challenged to meet multiple goals -- educational, fiscal, and environmental. The study finds that:

School proximity to students matters. Students with shorter walk and bike times to school are more likely to walk or bike.

The built environment influences travel choices. Students traveling through pedestrian-friendly environments are more likely to walk or bike.

Because of travel behavior differences, school location has an impact on air emissions. Centrally located schools that can be reached by walking and bicycling result in reduced air emissions from driving.

More data collection and research are needed to add further to the understanding of these effects. Specifically, improved data about both school travel and the built environment as well as new modeling techniques can build on these results.

For some time, there has been a trend toward construction of big schools and requirements for large sites. Guidelines, recommendations, and standards that encourage or require building large schools on new campuses or discourage renovation are embedded in a variety of state and local regulations, laws and funding formulas. This study provides important information about the effect of school location on how children get to school. It shows that school siting and design can affect choices of walking, biking, or driving. In turn, these changes in travel choices could affect traffic congestion, air pollution, and school transportation budgets.

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Reid Ewing, Tom Schmid, Richard Killingsworth, et al. (2003)

Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Physical Activity, Obesity, and Morbidity

Purpose. To determine the relationship between urban sprawl, health, and health-related behaviors.

Design. Cross-sectional analysis using hierarchical modeling to relate characteristics of individuals and places to levels of physical activity, obesity, body mass index (BMI), hypertension, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.

Setting. U.S. counties (448) and metropolitan areas (83).

Subjects. Adults (n 5 206,992) from pooled 1998, 1999, and 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

Measures. Sprawl indices, derived with principal components analysis from census and other data, served as independent variables. Self-reported behavior and health status from BRFSS served as dependent variables.

Results. After controlling for demographic and behavioral covariates, the county sprawl index had small but significant associations with minutes walked (p 5 .004), obesity (p , .001), BMI (p 5 .005), and hypertension (p 5 .018). Residents of sprawling counties were likely to walk less during leisure time, weigh more, and have greater prevalence of hypertension than residents of compact counties. At the metropolitan level, sprawl was similarly associated with minutes walked (p 5 .04) but not with the other variables.

Conclusion. This ecologic study reveals that urban form could be significantly associated with some forms of physical activity and some health outcomes. More research is needed to refine measures of urban form, improve measures of physical activity, and control for other individual and environmental influences on physical activity, obesity, and related health outcomes. (Am J Health Promot 2003;18[1]:47–57.)

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Reid Ewing and Barbara McCann (2003)

Measuring the Health Effects of Sprawl: A National Analysis of Physical Activity, Obesity and Chronic Disease

The findings presented here are from the article, Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Physical Activity, Obesity and Morbidity, by Reid Ewing, Tom Schmid, Richard Killingsworth, Amy Zlot, and Stephen Raudenbush, published in the September 2003 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion. This report is intended to make this important piece of research more accessible to the general public. In addition to presenting research findings, this report summarizes recent research done by others on the links between the way we’ve built our communities, physical activity, and health. It also includes recommendations for change and resources for those interested in further exploration of this topic.

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Gerrit Knaap, Jungyul Sohn, John W. Frece and Elisabeth Holler (2003)

Smart Growth, Housing Markets, and Development Trends in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor

Maryland is a dense and rapidly growing state. For this and other reasons, Maryland has been a national leader in a movement known as smart growth. Smart growth has many objectives, but concentrating urban growth in well defined areas while protecting rural land from development are perhaps its primary goals. Though public support for smart growth continues to rise, so do concerns that policies used to promote smart growth could have adverse effects on land and housing markets. To evaluate these concerns, this study provides information on housing markets and development trends in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

The study finds that housing demand in the nation and in Maryland is strong, as revealed by rising prices and homeownership rates as well as by falling vacancy rates and housing-to-jobs ratios. In general, the housing market in Maryland exhibits trends similar to those in comparable jurisdictions, such as neighboring Virginia. The performance of specific housing markets in Maryland, however, varies widely, with strong growth in the suburbs, variable growth in rural areas and persistent weakness in Baltimore City. Further, in the Baltimore and Washington suburbs, housing prices are rising rapidly while housing starts remain sluggish.

Though this study does not prove that housing markets and development trends in Maryland have been adversely affected by land use policies, there is evidence to suggest that state and local constraints on development are contributing to problems of housing affordability and deflecting growth to outlying areas. The result could be more, not less, urban sprawl. Moreover, neither the state government nor most local governments in Maryland currently have adequate policies in place to monitor or address this problem. While the Maryland Smart Growth initiative has been successful in protecting natural areas and agricultural lands from development, it has not had similar success in assuring a steady, future supply of affordable housing. Local governments, meanwhile, appear to have little incentive to address this problem.

To address this problem the state needs to assure that local governments address development capacity and housing affordability issues. This does not mean it should eliminate or immediately expand Priority Funding Areas. It does mean that the state should require local governments to include housing elements in their comprehensive plans, provide periodic estimates of housing and employment capacity, and develop modern and publicly accessible data on the location and capacity of developable land. Local governments must be active and willing participants in this process and the Maryland Department of Planning should provide whatever technical assistance may be needed.

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Glenn Moglen, Steven Gabriel, and Jose Faria (2003)

A Framework for Quantitative Smart Growth in Land Development

Increasing awareness about the problems brought on by urban sprawl has led to proactive measures to guide future development. Such efforts have largely been grouped under the term, Smart Growth. Although not widely recognized as such, the smart in Smart Growth implies an optimization of some quantity or objective while undertaking new forms of urban development. To illustrate a formal, quantitative framework for Smart Growth, this study develops definitions of optimal development from the perspectives of four different types of stakeholders: a government planner, a land developer, a hydrologist, and a conservationist subject to certain developmental constraints. Four different objective functions are posed that are consistent with each of these stakeholders’ perspectives. We illustrate the differences in consequences on future development given these different objective functions in a stylized representation for Montgomery County, Maryland. Solutions to Smart Growth from the individual perspectives vary considerably. Trade-off tables are presented which illustrate the consequences experienced by each stakeholder depending on the viewpoint that has been optimized. Although couched in the context of an illustrative example, this study emphasizes the need to apply rigorous, quantitative tools in a meaningful framework to address Smart Growth. The result is a tool that a range of parties can use to plan future development in ways that are environmentally and fiscally responsible and economically viable.

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Jungyul Sohn and Gerrit Knaap (2002)

Does Job Creation Tax Credit Program in Maryland Induce Spatial Employment Growth or Redistribution?

The Job Creation Tax Credit (JCTC) program is one of the five major Smart Growth Programs initiated by the State of Maryland in 1996 and amended in 1997.  Like other tax credit programs it is intended to create jobs, but it is also a place-based policy in the sense that eligibility is limited to jobs created in Priority Funding Areas (PFAs). This paper examines whether the JCTC program has furthered the goals of smart growth by concentrating job growth within well defined regions of the state. Towards this end, both the number and the relative share of employment inside and outside of the PFAs are compared using three econometric models. The empirical analysis examines employment in five economic sectors ((1) primary, (2) manufacturing, (3) transportation, communication and utilities (T.C.U.), (4) finance, insurance and real estate (F.I.R.E.) and (5) services) over the years (1994 to 1998) using ZIP Code data. The result shows that jobs in the T.C.U. and services industries have responded to the state incentive program while three other sectors have not; the distribution of jobs in the primary sector have grown counter to the state incentive policy and jobs in manufacturing and F.I.R.E. have been unaffected by the program.

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James Cohen and Illana Preuss (2002)

An Analysis of Social Equity Issues in the Montgomery County (MD) Transfer of Development Rights Program

Transfer of development rights (TDR) programs increasingly are being utilized as land preservation tools in local jurisdictions' growth management strategies. Issues of social justice are embedded in TDR implementation. This article develops a framework for analyzing social equity issues in TDR programs, and applies the framework to the program in Montgomery County, Maryland. While the Montgomery County program has gained a national reputation for protecting large areas of farmland, the social equity analysis finds several shortcomings with that program's design and operation. Recommendations are offered for improving the effectiveness and equity of the program, and these suggestions have implications for other TDR programs.

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Jungyul Sohn (2002)

Information Technology in the 1990s: More Footloose or More Location-bound?

This paper examines if information technology has worked towards dispersion or concentration of economic activities in two steps of analysis. The first analysis using locational Gini coefficient and Moran’s I focuses on distribution of the urban area as a whole and finds that dispersion was prominent over the years. The second analysis using Gi* statistic as the dependent variable in the regression model, however, shows that the technology has induced more concentration rather than dispersion at an intrametropolitan scale, reflecting that there is a discrepancy in the results of the two analyses depending on the spatial scale of the analysis.

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Gerrit Knaap (2002)

An Inquiry into the Promise and Prospects of Smart Growth

Prepared for Presentation at the International Workshop on Urban Growth Management: New Approaches to Land Management for Sustainable Urban Regions University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, 29-31 October 2001

Smart growth is a term rising rapidly in use and ambiguity. The origin of the term is uncertain, though some credit Harriet Tregoning, former Director of the Development, Community and Environmental Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and now the smart growth Czar in the cabinet of Maryland’s Governor Glendening. Even if fiction, this story has a certain allure, since the USEPA and the State of Maryland have done much to make smart growth an agenda item of many states, local governments, and interest groups. Despite its popularity, however, the concept of smart growth remains ephemeral. Much has been written about smart growth in the popular press and newsletters of advocacy organizations, both pro and con, but little has been written about it in the academic literature (early contributions include Burchell et al. 2000, Downs 2001, and Nelson 2001). As the newly appointed Director of Research for the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland, it will be my job to do just that -- not just with papers of my own, but with papers written by scholars with a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. This paper, therefore, represents a first step towards that end. But my goals for this paper are more ambitious; they include the articulation of an agenda for research on smart growth. This is a formidable task, since the ambiguity of the term leaves little in the realm of land use to eliminate as beyond the scope of the subject. To narrow my scope, therefore, I ignore all discussions about what constitutes urban sprawl and whether sprawl, however defined, is good or bad. Instead, I focus my analysis on smart growth policies adopted by the State of Maryland.

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Gerrit Knaap (2002)

Talking Smart in the United States

As in many countries around the world, concerns about contemporary urban development patterns and their effects on the natural and social environment are high and rising in the United States. Though these concerns are not new, the recent period of sustained economic growth has led to both rapid urban expansion and falling relative concerns about other problems like crime, unemployment, and government deficits. Urban sprawl is now a major public policy issue (U.S. Office of Technology Assessment 1995, U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) 1999, GAO 2000).

How to address -- even define -- the problem, however, remains unresolved and contentious. Some view urban sprawl as a major threat to environmental quality, fiscal stability, and human health. Those with this point of view support policy reforms sometimes called smart growth, new urbanism, and sustainable development (Ewing 1997, Smart Growth Network 2002). To others, sprawl is simply the result of increases in population, rising real incomes, and the expression of consumer demands (Brueckner 1999). To those with this point of view, there is little evidence that urban sprawl has adverse social or environmental consequences or warrants a policy response (Gordon and Richardson 1997, Urban Futures 2002). In a nation rich in land resources and steeped in traditions of private property rights, this view is not easily dismissed.

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Lori Lynch and Sabrina Lovell (2002)

Hedonic Price Analysis of Easement Payments in Agricultural Land Preservation Programs

More than 110 state and local governments have implemented agricultural land preservation programs to permanently preserve farmland. Assigning a value to the development rights to determine the cost of acquiring an easement on farm properties is difficult and can be costly. Data was collected on 409 preservation transactions from three Maryland counties and supplemented with farm-level spatial data via GIS. A hedonic price analysis is conducted to determine the marginal return to different farm characteristics using a spatial econometric model to correct for spatial correlation. Parcel characteristics such as distance to city and town, number of acres, prime soils and current land-use explain 80 percent of the variation in easement values. As expected, characteristics perform least well in explaining easement values in transfer of development right programs. This information can help formulate policy decisions and selection criteria to maximize the preservation of the agricultural economy and/or maximize public preferences. A supply curve is constructed using simulations that determine nonparticipant parcels’ easement values. To preserve the remaining eligible acres in the three counties, $167 million would be needed. This method can support programs choosing to use a point system rather than the more costly and difficult-to-apply standard appraisal methods.

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Robert Nelson (2002)

Local Government as Private Property

Critics of private community associations often argue that they represent an undesirable combination of “private” and “governmental” powers. They suggest that the significant differences between a suburban municipality and a private community association should be reduced. The private status of a community association, for example, should not be allowed to shelter it from free speech and other constitutional requirements normally applied to local municipalities. Voting rights in private community associations perhaps should be newly extended to renters.

In this paper, I suggest the opposite tack. Instead of requiring private community associations to conform to the legal requirements and social expectations of a municipality, I propose to liberate the municipality to function in the manner of a private business. Local government in America will continue to evolve towards a new form of collective private property – and this will be a good thing.

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Robert Nelson (2002)

The Rise of Private Neighborhood Associations: A Constitutional Revolution in Local Government

A revival of the neighborhood is seen by many commentators as a key element in a wider effort to reenergize the intermediate institutions of American society. The weakening of these institutions is blamed for a decline in trust, public spirit, and generally an erosion of civic values in the United States in recent decades. The rise of the private neighborhood follows in the wake of the rise of the corporate form of business ownership of property in the late nineteenth century, both representing fundamental turns away from individual ownership of private property and towards new collective forms of private ownership. Indeed, the rise of private neighborhood associations represents the most important property right development in the United States since the rise of the modern business corporation. 

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James Cohen (1999)

Using a Studio Course for Provision of Smart Growth Technical Assistance: The University of Maryland’s 1999 Community Planning Studio in Perryville, M

As a faculty member in the University of Maryland’s Urban Studies and Planning Program, in early 1999 I decided to have my summer, community planning studio course focus on the challenges facing one of Maryland’s smaller jurisdictions at it attempted to comply with its planning mandates and grow in a manner consistent with the state’s Smart Growth program. The resulting 2 summer studio course, entitled “What’s Smart Growth for Perryville?”, proved to be a rich learning experience for the students and a valuable resource for the town. This chapter focuses on how the 1999 summer studio course provided smart-growth related technical assistance to the Town of Perryville. It will provide a brief profile of the studio course and of Perryville; discuss how the students approached the study; summarize the major findings and recommendations of the final studio report; critically analyze the degree to which the report has since been utilized by the town; highlight the students’ reactions to the studio experience; and discuss the lessons learned from the studio and the studio’s potential transferability.

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Deborah Young and Carolyn Voorhees

Personal, Social, and Environmental Correlates of Physical Activity in Urban African-American Women

Background:
African-American women are at risk of chronic diseases for which regular physical activity can provide benefits. This group, however, remains predominantly sedentary. Little research has been undertaken to elucidate the multiple factors that influence their physical activity levels. This study was designed to determine associations among personal, social environmental, and physical environmental factors with physical activity level in urban African-American women.

Methods:
The Women and Physical Activity Survey, an interviewer-administered survey consisting of demographic, personal, and social and physical environmental factors, was given to 234 African-American women living in Baltimore, Maryland. Physical activity level was determined from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. Women were divided into three groups: meeting current recommendations for moderate or vigorous physical activity, insufficiently active, and inactive. Comparisons were made between the group of women that met recommendations versus women who did not, and women who reported any activity versus women who were inactive.

Results:
Twenty-one percent (48) of women met recommendations for physical activity, 61% (143) were insufficiently active, and 18% (43) were inactive. Women who had a partner or who had no children were less likely to engage in some physical activity. Inactive women were more likely than women who participated in some physical activity to know people who exercised.Women who belonged to community groups were more likely to be inactive than women who met current recommendations for physical activity. Women with fewer social roles were more likely to meet current recommendations. Physical environment factors were not associated with physical activity level.

Conclusions:
Further exploration is needed to determine how personal and social environmental and physical environmental factors relate to physical activity in African-American women.

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Carolyn Voorhees and Deborah Young

Personal, Social, and Physical Environmental Correlates of Physical Activity Levels in Urban Latinas

Background:
Nationwide, Hispanic women report low levels of physical activity and bear excess health risk associated with inactivity. This study investigated the relationship between physical activity levels and sociodemographic, social environmental, and physical environmental factors.

Design:
A cross-sectional, community-based convenience sample of 285 Hispanic/Latino women completed a face-to-face survey administered in Spanish.

Main Outcome Measures:
The following categories of physical activity were used in analyses: “meets current national recommendations,” which includes women who reported engaging in moderate activity at least 5 days per week for at least 30 minutes or who engaged in vigorous activity at least 3 days per week for at least 20 minutes; “insufficiently active” for women not meeting moderate or vigorous objectives; and “inactive” for women who report no moderate or vigorous physical activity.

Results:
The majority of women (46%) were aged 20 to 29 years, 48% have less than or equal to a high school education, 72% are employed, 43% speak Spanish, and 76% are from Central or South America. A total of 37% of the women met physical activity recommendations, 23% were inactive, and 40% were insufficiently active. Personal and physical environmental factors were not statistically significant correlates of activity level comparison groups; however, most indicated trends in the hypothesized direction. Social environmental factors that showed statistically significant relationships with various physical activity comparison groups included the following: Women were significantly less likely to be active if they reported knowing people who exercise (odds ratio [OR]0.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.23–0.76), reported that there are people in the neighborhood who exercise (adjusted OR0.19; 95% CI, 0.09–0.42), belonged to community groups (OR0.32; 95% CI, 0.15–0.69), or attended religious services (OR0.41; 95% CI, 0.41–0.72).

Conclusion: Social environmental factors appeared to be the most important factors related to physical activity in this group of Latino women. Physical environment and personal factors, although not statistically significant, showed trends in expected directions and should be explored further.

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Yan Song and Gerrit Knaap

Internally Connected, No Commercial, With a Touch of Open Space: The Neighborhoods of New Homes in the Portland Metropolitan Area

For many years, neighborhoods have been classified as either “suburban” or “traditional.” But new homes today are built in many different types of neighborhoods with many different design features. In this paper, we develop a quantitative method for classifying the neighborhoods of new homes in the Portland metropolitan area. We proceed in three steps.  First we measure urban form attributes of neighborhoods around newly developed homes.  We then use factor analysis to identify a small set of factors that capture essential differences in urban form. Finally we use cluster analysis on these factor scores to identify distinctly different neighborhood types. Applying these methods to neighborhoods around new single family homes in the metropolitan Portland, Oregon, we are able to identify eight factors of urban form and six neighborhood types. We then show that most new single family homes in metropolitan Portland are built in new suburban neighborhoods but a substantial portion is occurring in traditional urban neighborhoods. 

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Lori Lynch and Sabrina Lovell

Local Land Markets and Agricultural Preservation Programs

Local and state governmental entities have implemented transfer of development rights (TDR) and purchase of development rights or purchase of agricultural conservation easements (PDR/PACE) programs to permanently preserve farmland throughout the United States (AFT (American Farmland Trust) 2001a; AFT, 2001b; AFT, 2001c). In each of these programs, the sale of development rights results in an easement attached to the title of the land which restricts the current and all future owners from converting the parcel to residential, commercial, or industrial uses. The value of the land in alternative uses affects an owner’s willingness to participate in these programs as well as the program costs. Thus, information on the value that the private market places on parcel characteristics is important in determining participation behavior and payment levels. In addition, knowledge of the marginal contributions of different parcel characteristics to both private market prices and easement values can help program administrators decide which easement purchases can maximize society’s benefit at the lowest cost.

Lynch and Lovell (2002) found that the agricultural land preservation programs in three Maryland counties (Calvert, Howard and Carroll counties) paid higher per acre easement values for farmland close to the nearest employment center, smaller farms, and farms with a high percent of prime soils, and paid lower values for farms with a high percent of cropland. The importance of certain land characteristics on the easement values was affected by the type of agricultural preservation program (TDR or PDR/PACE) that had enrolled the farm. In an analysis of whether or not the easement restrictions affected the preserved parcels’ market price, Nickerson and Lynch (2001) examined private market sales prices for 200 farmland parcels in the same Maryland counties (Howard, Carroll, and Calvert). They found that the private market paid higher prices per acre for farmland close to the nearest employment center, smaller farms, non-forested parcels, and those parcels in Calvert and Howard counties. They found that prime soils were not important in determining the parcel price in the private market. Comparing the results of these two studies, we find both similarities and differences in the effect of different characteristics on easement values and private market prices for agricultural land.

This chapter explores these similarities and differences by investigating whether the private land market pays similar values for parcel characteristics or whether the preservation programs design payment schemes that are not market-driven. Analyzing a spatially explicit dataset of 2,592 arm’s-length transactions, we also correct for possible spatial correlation that might occur due to the proximity of the observations to one another. We also include parcels that are no longer in an agricultural use. By examining the local market for land, we can determine if the easement value indicated by the supply curve of eligible land to be preserved based on the easement programs’ payments is comparable to the prices received by recently sold local land.

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Rebecca Lewis and Gerrit-Jan Knaap (2012)

Targeting Spending for Land Conservation: An Evaluation of Maryland's Rural Legacy Program

In 1997, Maryland burst into the national spotlight with a package of legislation collectively referred to as smart growth. At its core, the innovative Maryland approach relied on directing state investments in urban infrastructure to Priority Funding Areas while directing state investments in land preservation to rural legacy areas. This article examines the performance of Rural Legacy Areas. Although smart growth in Maryland and the performance of Priority Funding Areas have received considerable attention at the national level, there have been few analyses of the performance of the Rural Legacy Program.

Lewis and Knaap find that the performance of Rural Legacy Areas has been mixed. The level of state funding has varied tremendously, and few areas have received consistent funding over time. In areas where the state has targeted high levels of funding for several years, however, development in Rural Legacy Areas has been tempered. Overall the share of development in Rural Legacy Areas measured in parcels has increased slightly, but the share of development measured in acres has decreased slightly.

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