Spatial Heterogeneity, Accessibility, and Zoning: An Empirical Investigation of Leapfrog Development
65 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2015
Date Written: April 21, 2014
We investigate whether residential development patterns from a rapidly growing exurban area are consistent with the urban economic model’s predictions of leapfrog and infill development. Using historical data on subdivision development from 1960-2005 in the Baltimore, Maryland region, we develop a new, subdivision-specific measure of leapfrog development based on accessibility via the metropolitan road network. We find that early growth patterns do not conform to the predictions of the urban economic model, but that later patterns do. Although accessibility is significant, our results indicate that spatial differences in zoning rather than transportation costs were the primary determinant of these patterns. The findings suggest a different spatial growth process in exurban areas — one in which down zoning and other commonly used growth control policies introduce large and systematic spatial variations in the returns to land development that are relatively more important than transportation costs in the evolution of these residential development patterns.
Keywords: Urban spatial structure, Zoning, Sprawl, Landscape metrics
JEL Classification: R14, R12, R52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation