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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Scale effects and the determinants of parcel subdivision: A discrete -time hazard analysis
by Wilson, Bev, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009, 228; 3354526
Abstract (Summary)

Many of the theories that inform planning analysis and policy-making implicitly acknowledge the importance of space in the form and function of urban areas, but this understanding is highly abstract and in many ways, functions as a black box with limited transparency. This dissertation takes a closer look at the spatial relationships that help to shape urban form and in an effort to move beyond geographic determinism and allow for a more nuanced view of the drivers of residential development patterns. The primary research question asks which factors from existing theory and the literature help to explain the timing and location of land parcel subdivision events. This question is addressed through a combination of qualitative (limited survey) and quantitative (regression analysis) techniques, described in detail in a subsequent chapter.

Large-scale residential subdivisions represent an intense, localized change in land use and I hypothesize that these events exert a “priming effect” on subsequent land use decisions. I argue that this “priming effect” is detectable after controlling for covariates and a second research question asks if there is empirical evidence of scale-dependence. A third research question focuses on the spatial extent of this hypothesized “priming effect” and is examined by conducting a sensitivity analysis of the distance threshold used to derive the “priming effect” measure. The present research seeks to link the presence of large residential subdivisions to an elevated rate of residential development in the immediate vicinity. Detection of an effect provides further support for the importance of growth management policy and the influence of residential land developers on the evolution of intra-metropolitan urban form. The results of the study suggest that land availability and prices, demographic factors, accessibility, and the availability of infrastructure are the most important predictors of land parcel subdivision events. Strong evidence is found in support of the hypothesized "priming effect" and the implications for planning practice in terms of general growth management policy and the development review process are offered.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Song, Yan
Commitee: BenDor, Todd, Malizia, Emil, Rodriguez, Daniel, Voss, Paul, Waddell, Paul
School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department: City & Regional Planning
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Urban planning
Keywords: Charlotte, Growth management, Land conversion, North Carolina, Residential development, Spatial analysis
Publication Number: 3354526
ISBN: 978-1-109-11579-6
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