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Spatial impacts of locally enacted growth controls: the San Francisco Bay Region in the 1980s


  • Q Shen


In this paper the regionwide, spatial consequences of locally enacted growth controls are examined on the basis of a case study of the San Francisco Bay Region. A quasi-experimental methodology is employed. An ex post projection of population distribution among the region's cities in 1990 is generated by means of a model that represents the before growth control urban structure. A comparison is then made between the projected distribution and the actual distribution depicted by the 1990 census data. The differences, indexed as percentage projection errors, provide an empirical basis for assessing the impacts of local growth-control policies. Statistical analyses of the projection errors indicate that the local policies have caused a major redistribution of population growth from growth-controlled cities to the rest of the region. Geographic information systems-based spatial analyses of the projection errors suggest that the spatial process of growth control is driven primarily by NIMBYism. The main conclusions are that: (1) the existing decentralized system of growth management has created a spatial pattern of urban development that has undesirable economic and distributional effects; and (2) a carefully developed coordinated regional system of growth management is preferable because many critical growth problems can be addressed appropriately only at the regional or metropolitan level.

Suggested Citation

  • Q Shen, 1996. "Spatial impacts of locally enacted growth controls: the San Francisco Bay Region in the 1980s," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 23(1), pages 61-91, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:23:y:1996:i:1:p:61-91

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. John I. Carruthers, 2012. "Land use regulation and regional form: a spatial mismatch?," Chapters,in: Networks, Space and Competitiveness, chapter 8, pages 181-204 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. 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.
    4. Jae Kim & Geoffrey Hewings, 2013. "Land use regulation and intraregional population–employment interaction," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 51(3), pages 671-693, December.

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