The Influence of Local Political Coalitions on the Effectiveness of Urban Containment Policies: Empirical Evidence from Six U.S. States
Mayere, Severine (author)
Stiftel, Bruce (professor directing dissertation)
Audirac, Ivonne (committee member)
Chapin, Timothy (committee member)
Feiock, Richard (outside committee member)
Department of Urban and Regional Planning (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
Urban containment policies have gained importance over the past decades in the American land-use policy landscape. Urban containment programs aim at containing urban growth and at protecting farmlands, open spaces and environmentally sensitive areas, by geographically shaping growth patterns. However, their effectiveness, defined as the ability of such programs to reach their intended outcomes and change the existing patterns of development, still remain a source of debate. In many cases, it appears that local governments are likely to be influenced by the local political demand in the way land-use policies are adopted and implemented. Often they are reluctant to counter the prevailing patterns of development and frustrate local interest groups or coalitions. Following a regime theory approach, this research argues that the effectiveness of urban containment programs is influenced both directly and indirectly by local coalition politics. Previous studies do not clearly demonstrate the influence of local coalitions on the implementation of such programs, although the literature emphasizes the existence of such links, at least theoretically. Effectiveness is measured through questions concerning the effectiveness of the land-use management system in reaching fourteen goals associated with urban containment, further reduced to three main effectiveness components: accommodating, containing and restricting growth. Effectiveness is influenced by the extent to which local planning and local decision-making is dominated by coalitions that impose their views about growth and support or not the adoption and implementation of specific policies, based on the goals these coalitions seek to achieve. Three main hypotheses are derived from the conceptual framework regarding coalition politics. The first hypothesis states that the regime in place will directly influence the adoption of urban containment programs. The second hypothesis states that policies will be most effective in reaching urban containment goals when the local coalition reflects a broad-based consensus in favor of growth management. The third hypothesis refers to the regime in place having an indirect influence on the effectiveness of policies in reaching containment goals through the adoption of urban containment policies The hypotheses and other causal relationships are examined through a path analysis employing original survey data and secondary data, including views of planning directors from 242 local jurisdictions in six states. The analysis attempts to isolate the effects of coalition politics on the adoption and implementation of containment policies, controlling for the intergovernmental context, the mobilization potential and the multi-facets of the containment programs. The results of the path analysis support the expectation that local coalitions directly and indirectly influence the effectiveness of containment goals. Adoption of urban containment programs is positively influenced by the existence of a local coalition reflecting broad-based consensus in favor of growth management. As coalitions move toward a pro-growth management stance, and become more broad-based, the adoption of policies aiming at containing growth, preserving environmentally sensitive areas and managing rural growth is increased. The effectiveness of urban containment goals is positively influenced by the local coalition reflects a broad-based consensus in favor of growth management. The jurisdictions where the dominant coalition is a broad-based coalition in favor of growth management therefore experience a greater success in containing urban growth and reducing urban sprawl, in protecting agricultural and open spaces, and in protecting environmentally sensitive areas. The findings also support the expectation that the effectiveness of containment goals is indirectly affected by the local coalition in place through its influence on containment policies. The findings support this expectation for the effectiveness of accommodating and containing urban growth.
Coalition Politics, Politics Of Growth Management, Regime Theory, Urban Containment, Growth Management
October 20, 2006.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Bruce Stiftel, Professor Directing Dissertation; Ivonne Audirac, Committee Member; Timothy Chapin, Committee Member; Richard Feiock, Outside Committee Member.
Florida State University
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