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