Density Matters: the Effects of Urban Growth Boundaries on Florida Urban Densities

Topics: Urban studies and planning, Urban planning, Urban area Pages: 18 (5103 words) Published: May 23, 2013
Density Matters: The Effects of Urban Growth Boundaries on Florida Urban Densities Prepared by
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Executive Summary
Urban growth boundaries (UGB) are a growth management tool adopted from early English land use traditions to categorize land use. UGB’s are boundaries that clearly delineate the limit of the urban density growth permitted and supported by the issuing municipality. Florida instituted the Growth Management Act in 1985, mandating local comprehensive planning and recommending cities implement urban service areas, motivating many cities to go a step further and clearly outline the limit of growth. This study seeks to identify the effectiveness of UGB’s on compact development in urbanized cities within the state of Florida. There are 38 cities in Florida with populations greater than 50,000 people, or which are urbanized areas. The study will collect data and organize case studies on eight cities with urban growth boundaries of the 38 possible cities. The data, both through secondary data analysis and survey research, will measure the impact of the urban growth boundary to impact key compact development factors. Since compact development is described as growth up instead of out, indicators of an increase in compact development include use of infrastructure, mass transportation capacity, undeveloped land, building standards, and zoning densities. The surveys will measure the administrative perception of the impact or effectiveness by gauging the same indicators from an administrative point of view. The collection of data will then be analyzed using SPSS or a similar social science statistical analysis program to determine any significance between the changes among cities. The expected results will outline the cities’ perceptions on the UGB as well as the quantitative changes that occurred over the measured time period. The quasi-experimental time-lapse design faces internal validity issues because of the political nature of the policy. External validity within the study is questioned because of the diverse sample population and the small sample size. The heterogeneous nature of the sample slightly counters the small sample size but nevertheless the results will not be generalizable to the entire population. Still, the case study design is the best method for analysis because it will allow the researchers to highlight any statistically significant factors as well as any frequently occurring tendencies among case study cities.

Ethical considerations for the research include the condition of anonymity among survey respondents. The level of political influence asserted with the municipal administration may affect the survey responses if the respondents are not satisfied with the level of anonymity. Further research options that merit further evaluation include the influence of supplementary growth management tools and a UGB within a city and the influence of other growth management policies minus the implementation of the UGB.

Density Matters: The effects of urban growth boundaries on Florida urban densities Introduction
The urban growth boundary is a popular growth management tool that was implemented in the United States as early as the 1950’s. Widely used in the United States today, over 100 cities and counties have implemented a form of the urban growth boundary in order to limit sprawl, preserve government resources, and conserve open space and natural resources. Florida implemented the Growth Management Act of 1985 and mandated that cities and counties create comprehensive plans to guide local planning of future growth and resources. Since 1985, all cities and counties have implemented comprehensive plans and in turn, a few cities have implemented urban growth boundaries as a growth management tool. In order to determine the effectiveness of urban growth boundaries as a growth management policy, this study will evaluate urbanized cities with...
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