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Title:Examining the effectiveness of voluntary coordination among local governments: evidence from a regional land use planning process
Author(s):Allred, Dustin
Director of Research:Chakraborty, Arnab
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Chakraborty, Arnab
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Olshansky, Robert B.; Wilson, Bev; Wilson, David
Department / Program:Urban & Regional Planning
Discipline:Regional Planning
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Regional planning
Land use
Growth management
Abstract:Regional planning in a framework of voluntary governance has been portrayed as a way to address the fragmented development priorities of local jurisdictions. The Sacramento region’s Blueprint has been identified as an exemplar of this ‘New Regionalism’ but we know relatively little about how comprehensive regional land use plans like Blueprint influence the development priorities of local jurisdictions. I use Blueprint to investigate whether this ‘New Regionalism’ has lived up to its stated promise of achieving more sustainable patterns of regional development through collaborative and cooperative approaches to regional planning. I evaluate the effectiveness of the Blueprint implementation effort using a mix of methods – a spatial analysis of development activity as measured by residential building permits, and a comparative case study of several jurisdictions to find out in richer, more nuanced detail, what has happened at the local level as jurisdictions tried to align their development priorities with the region’s growth principles. Case study jurisdictions examined include Sacramento, Davis, Elk Grove and Sacramento County. Data was generated from interviews with planners, city officials, and stakeholders, along with an analysis of planning documentation and media accounts. The analysis shows that implementation has been selective and uneven, with the plan’s influence mediated by fiscal and legal constraints or opportunities, NIMBYism, local culture, existing urban form characteristics, and the ‘growth first’ mentality of some local leaders, the business community and developers. This suggests that voluntary governance arrangements may not be the optimal setting for achieving regional goals, particularly with regard to issues of affordable housing and the equity implications of regional growth. Nonetheless, Blueprint has inserted a regional awareness into the agendas of local planners, politicians, the development community, and the public. The results offer planners a window onto the different motivations and logics that shape local land use policy and provide a new understanding of the importance of regional processes like Blueprint in creating a space where alternative urban development paradigms can be argued and debated. Going forward, planners should consider alternatives to the broad based approach of voluntary governance, tailoring policy approaches to the political context of specific jurisdictions – allowing for flexibility through incentives in some places, while a more stringent regulatory approach is called for in others.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Dustin Allred
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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