Do State Growth Management Regulations Reduce Sprawl?

Thirteen states in the United States have adopted state growth management legislation that aims to preserve environmentally sensitive areas, improve the quality of urban areas, and reduce urban sprawl. Although there is a considerable amount of literature describing such policies, there is very little that examines the effectiveness of such policies. The author researched the efficacy of state growth management laws in controlling urban sprawl by examining the change in urban densities in 49 states over a 15-year period. He found that growth-managed states generally experienced a lesser density decline than states without growth management. However, regression analysis revealed that state growth management programs did not have a statistically significant effect in checking sprawl. The author concludes with several suggestions for modifying state regulations to curb sprawl more effectively.