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Growth management, in the United States, is a set of techniques used by the government to ensure that as the population grows that there are services available to meet their demands. These are not necessarily only government services. Other demands such as the protection of natural spaces, sufficient and affordable housing, delivery of utilities, preservation of buildings and places of historical value, and sufficient places for the conduct of business are also considered.
Types of growth management
One technique is the imposition of impact fees. Impact fees are imposed to charge the owners of newly developed properties for the "impact" the new development will have on the community. Fees can be used for such things as transportation improvements, new parks, and expansion of schools. Impact fees are not used to maintain existing facilities, but instead, are used to create new facilities in proportion to the number of new developments in the area.
Another technique is the application of zoning to reduce the cost of service delivery. Zoning can be used to reduce the area affected by urbanization, allowing the same number of people to live and work in a smaller area, allowing governmental services to be delivered more efficiently. For example, fire protection and emergency medical response services are less expensive to provide in compact areas than in areas where the population is more spread out. This results in lower expenditures for the same level of service, which saves taxpayer dollars. The efficiencies gained can also result in benefits to the private sector. For example, grocery stores and pizza delivery businesses can serve only a limited area. If more customers are located within their service delivery area, the cost of delivering their services is decreased.
Preventing suburban densities from affecting a large area also has the effect of providing open spaces so that people who wish to live in a rural setting can do so without urbanization threatening their lifestyle.
Jurisdictions throughout the United States have experimented with local growth management measures designed to limit the growth of residential or commercial development within their jurisdiction or to shift them to areas with less development. Glickfeld and Levine conducted two major studies of growth management measures in virtually all California cities and counties in 1988 and 1992. The first study inquired about 18 different types of growth management measures. The vast majority of the jurisdictions had adopted one or more growth management measures to affect residential, commercial or new development. These varied from requiring adequate service levels as a condition for receiving approval to construct residential or commercial developments to measures that reduced permitted residential density to measures that restricted the height of buildings or the floor area ratio on a given parcel. Typically, jurisdictions near the Pacific coastline had more restrictions than those in the interior of the state.
The second study showed that over the four year period between the two surveys the cumulative effect of growth-management legislation showed no relationship to permitted construction values for California as a whole when controlling for population growth and interest rates.
However, a followup study showed that the measures helped displace new construction from the metropolitan areas to the interiors of the state with low income and minority populations being particularly impacted. That is, the measures did not affect overall construction levels in California but did affect where new construction was built.
The application of growth management techniques is often governed by the development of a comprehensive plan. The plan can be used to measure the impact that new growth will have on the community and define the method by which that impact is mitigated. Several states have adopted state measures to govern local growth management ordinances. Pioneers in statewide United States growth management were Oregon, which established Urban Growth Boundaries in the 1970s and Florida which passed the Growth Management Act in 1985.
- M Glickfeld & N Levine (1992). Regional Growth...Local Reaction: The Enactment and Effects of Local Growth Control and Management Measures in California. The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, MA. February. https://www.amazon.com/Regional-Growth-Local-Reaction-Management/dp/1558441190
- N Levine, M Glickfeld & W Fulton (1996) Home Rule: Local Growth Control...Regional Consequences. Report to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Southern California Association of Governments. Los Angeles. April.
- N Levine (1999). “The effects of local growth management on regional housing production and population redistribution in California”. Urban Studies, 1999. 36 12, 2047-2068. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1080/0042098992539">http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1080/0042098992539
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-08. Retrieved 2014-10-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)