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The Influence of Local Urban Containment Policies and Statewide Growth Management on the Size of United States Urban Areas


  • Robert W. Wassmer


In an attempt to slow the consumption of urban land for a given population, and the negative outcomes thought by some to be generated by such sprawl, regulations in the form of (i) the local imposition of urban containment policies that restrict or prohibit the amount and/or the type of urban settlement beyond a certain line and (ii) the statewide enactment of mandatory growth management requirements for all local governments have been enacted in the United States. This paper describes a regression-based analysis that finds that different forms of these policies are achieving their desired goal of shrinking the square mile size of an urban area. A comparison of the influence of the various forms of urban containment and growth management policies with other "natural evolution,""flight from blight," and "fiscalization of land use" factors that also influence the square mile size of an urban area is made, and policy implications are offered. Copyright Blackwell Publishers, 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Robert W. Wassmer, 2006. "The Influence of Local Urban Containment Policies and Statewide Growth Management on the Size of United States Urban Areas," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 25-65.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:46:y:2006:i:1:p:25-65

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Helen F. Ladd, 1998. "local government tax and land use policies in the united states," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1332.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kurt Paulsen, 2013. "The Effects of Growth Management on the Spatial Extent of Urban Development, Revisited," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 89(2), pages 193-210.
    2. Gianni GUASTELLA & Stefano PAREGLIO, 2015. "Does Cbd Theory Survive The Test Of Small Cities? City-Size And Sprawl In Italy," Regional Science Inquiry, Hellenic Association of Regional Scientists, vol. 0(2), pages 11-21, December.
    3. Miriam Hortas-Rico, 2015. "Sprawl, Blight, And The Role Of Urban Containment Policies: Evidence From U.S. Cities," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 298-323, March.
    4. Gianni Guastella & Stefano Pareglio & Paolo Sckokai, 2017. "A Spatial Econometric Analysis of Land Use Efficiency in Large and Small Municipalities," Working Papers 2017.03, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. Robert W. Wassmer, 2008. "Causes of Urban Sprawl in the United States: Auto reliance as compared to natural evolution, flight from blight, and local revenue reliance," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 536-555.
    6. Dempsey, Judith A. & Plantinga, Andrew J., 2013. "How well do urban growth boundaries contain development? Results for Oregon using a difference-in-difference estimator," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 996-1007.
    7. Keith R. Ihlanfeldt, 2009. "Does Comprehensive Land-Use Planning Improve Cities?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 85(1), pages 74-86.
    8. repec:bla:revurb:v:29:y:2017:i:2:p:89-102 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Paulsen, Kurt, 2012. "Yet even more evidence on the spatial size of cities: Urban spatial expansion in the US, 1980–2000," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 561-568.
    10. Boarnet, Marlon G. & McLaughlin, Ralph B. & Carruthers, John I., 2011. "Does state growth management change the pattern of urban growth? Evidence from Florida," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 236-252, May.
    11. Barry Kew & Brian D. Lee, 2013. "Measuring Sprawl across the Urban Rural Continuum Using an Amalgamated Sprawl Index," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(5), pages 1-23, April.
    12. Brueckner, Jan K. & Sridhar, Kala Seetharam, 2012. "Measuring welfare gains from relaxation of land-use restrictions: The case of India's building-height limits," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1061-1067.
    13. Wassmer, Robert W., 2016. "Further empirical evidence on residential property taxation and the occurrence of urban sprawl," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 73-85.

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