Theory, Methods and Public Policy
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Gary Paul Green, Steven C. Deller and David D. Marcouiller
Chapter 14: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Land-Use Planning Policies in Rapidly Growing High-Amenity Communities in the Rocky Mountain States
14. Evaluating the eﬀectiveness of land-use planning policies in rapidly growing high-amenity communities in the Rocky Mountain states Michael D. Smith and Lisa M. Spadoni INTRODUCTION Since the 1960s the United States has experienced a reverse trend in migration. During most of the twentieth century, people migrated from rural areas to urban centers, searching for greater economic and employment opportunities (Long and Nucci 1998). Starting in the 1960s, people began moving back to rural areas (Johnson 1998). This turnaround migration has been fueled in part by a desire for natural amenities (outdoor recreation, open space, scenery) and a greater sense of community. Counties with amenitydriven recreation economies were the fastest growing types of rural counties in the 1990s (Johnson 1998). The turnaround migration phenomenon has been especially intense in the Rocky Mountain West region with highamenity rural communities having the highest growth rate of all counties during the early 1990s (Shumway and Davis 1996). The growth in amenity-rich rural counties causes a rapid restructuring away from resource extraction economies to tourism-based consumptive economies where land use and the consequences of growth become issues of debate and controversy (Smith and Krannich 2000). Rural in-migration to high-amenity communities increases the demand for housing and supporting development and also often leads to a substantial decrease in open space, scenic vistas and recreational opportunities, as well as degrading air and water quality (Ringholz 1996). As the population of rural communities continues to grow, new development threatens to degrade the very attributes that originally...
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