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

James Cohen and Illana Preuss (2002)

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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.