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Urban containment strategies have long been a central part of Florida's growth management system but literature advocating municipal adoption of an urban containment strategy has far outweighed rigorous analysis of Florida's primary tool seeking to promote contiguous urban development and fiscally efficient service provision, the urban service area (USA). This study examines the price effects of the USA boundary in Tallahassee, Florida by examining the impact of the USA boundary on area land markets. The findings suggest the establishment of the USA strategy is statistically associated with a price suppression effect on low-density land values, though the magnitude of the effect can be characterized as mild. However, the findings also suggest that the USA strategy is not influencing land values and development trends in the manner anticipated. The primary implications of the findings suggest that Tallahassee's system of incentives and disincentives to manage the location and timing of urban development through infrastructure phasing is not a strong enough carrot to influence the location of urban development. These findings have significant land planning implications for Tallahassee and Leon County, notably that sewer provisions may not be the growth shaper envisioned by program architects. The author demonstrates that great care needs to be taken when designing research seeking to identify the price effects of growth controls on area land markets, as the results are very sensitive to how variables are measured. The primary conclusion drawn from this research is that land planning agencies need to pay particular attention to how distinct land development regulations may work at cross-purposes and thus defeat some of the aims of comprehensively managed growth. Most importantly, communities must carefully consider the trade-offs involved when implementing urban containment programs, namely the perceived short vs. long-term impacts of land management programs, as well as the trade-offs between the fiscal efficiency gains and social equity implications of a USA strategy.
Growth Management, Urban Service Area (USA) Boundary
Date of Defense
February 21, 2003.
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.
Florida State University
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