Local Government's Ability To Manage Growth in a Metropolitan Context

by Daniel J. Alesch

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Summarizes the RAND Urban Policy Study research on the problems associated with growth in San Jose-Santa Clara County, California. The urban development system there has generally provided satisfactory housing for most of the rapidly growing population, reasonably convenient shopping, and less conveniently located employment centers. It has also resulted in urban sprawl, lack of focus, communities segregated by age, income, and ethnicity, the bulldozing of fertile orchards, and the bypassing of about half San Jose's urban area, which remains vacant in a leapfrog pattern. It is widely believed that this pattern results in high public costs for services on the urban fringes and is generated by existing institutional arrangements inadvertently established by state action. Many local governments in the county have policies in contradiction to each other, with no institutional means for agreeing on a growth policy. Some progress is being made toward areawide control; its success remains to be seen.

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