Sprawl in the Western United States: Do State Growth Management Programs Reduce Sprawl?
Sprawl is faulted for contributing to excessive commuting and transportation costs, raising the cost of providing infrastructure and other public services (Carruthers, 2002). With the advent of the environmental movement in the 1960’s, concern for the impact urban growth was having on the environment caused a surge of growth management legislation that eventually led to several states implementing state growth management programs (SGMP’s). While there have been several studies done on the effectiveness of SGMPs in containing sprawl, there have been no studies of state-growth management that focus solely on the Western States, states that have many characteristics in common such as the percentage of federal land and limited resources. Additionally, this study focuses on the period from 1990 to 2010, bringing the literature up-to-date for SGMP’s in the West. This article examines the effectiveness of SGMPs on containing urban sprawl in the Western United States where five of eleven states had implemented SGMPs by 2000. Several measures were taken to assess the effectiveness of SGMPs in containing sprawl. While several methods were attempted, statistical significance was found using a dummy variable which supports the belief that SGMPs do help to contain urban sprawl.