Modeling Effective Land Use Decisions for Urban Areas

EPA Grant Number: U915619
Title: Modeling Effective Land Use Decisions for Urban Areas
Investigators: McCoy, Althea L.
Institution: Clark Atlanta University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: August 1, 1999 through August 1, 2002
Project Amount: $80,606
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Social Sciences , Environmental Justice , Academic Fellowships


The continuation of poor land-use decisions will result in ecologically and economically fragile cities (and rural areas) that negatively affect the quality of life of residents. The objectives of this research project are to: (1) examine the process and factors affecting land-use decisions; and (2) determine how interested parties can more effectively protect scarce environmental resources and promote sustainable development.


The following questions will guide the research:

1. How are land-use decisions made in various urban areas? What factors are involved? Are these decisions driven by local public officials, urban planners, environmentalists, or powerful business interests? According to the theory of market externalities, land-use and development decisions are driven by business interests with public officials and environmentalists playing a secondary role. Pursuant to this theory, a particular developer decides if it will create a mixed business/residential development with "greenspace" and walking trails or build a strip mall with plenty of paved parking in the middle of a "greenfield."

2. What new scientific/technological practices or environmental principles could make it easier to produce more effective land-use decisions (smart growth, sustainable development, etc.)? To what degree are these principles/practices being utilized in urban areas? What, if any, specific resources do local governments and business interests need to implement innovative practices for protecting the environment?

3. What is a working definition of sustainable development? (The investigator is interested in formulating a definition that extends the goal of maintaining a certain level of a resource to increasing the availability of the resource for future generations). Because of the nature of this research project, it will be advantageous to utilize the case study method. Four to five representative urban areas will be selected (with varying sizes, populations, types of environmental problems, strength of economy, etc.).

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, sustainable development, innovative technology, public policy, decisionmaking, community-based., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Monitoring/Modeling, Social Science, model-based analysis, community-based approach, modeling, stakeholder input, urban areas, public outreach, ecological models

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000
  • 2001
  • Final