The Impact of Various land-use zoning and government restrictions on Environmental Sustainability in San Marcos, Texas




Szpakowski, Timothy

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The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the impact of various land-use zoning and restrictions through government regulations preserving green space to promote environmental sustainability in San Marcos, TX. Located in the I-35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio in Central Texas, this area has experienced tremendous population growth from 2010-2020 and is continuing to have exceptional growth. An Agent-Integrated Irregular Automate (AIIA) model is used combining the spatial benefits of irregular Cellular Automata (CA) while representing urban dynamics with Agent-Based Model (ABM) agents. This project modeled urban growth via AIIA to examine the impacts of government regulations of growth restrictions and multifamily housing on green space preservation and environmental sustainability. The reliability of the urban growth simulation is demonstrated by modelling historical data over 20 years (2000-2020) and comparing the results with the actual 2020 land-use map. In addition to an unrestricted scenario, three scenarios are simulated testing the impact of an urban growth boundary and various housing land-use zoning and regulations. Comparison analysis revealed that government regulations on residential housing preserved more green space than without them. However, the most regulated scenario with restrictions on both single-family and multifamily housing did not result in the largest amount of green space being preserved. A scenario with an urban growth boundary and no regulations on housing produced the best results when comparing the retention of green space. Potential explanations for these results include population demographics and model parameters affecting developer agents’ goal to maximize profits.



agent-based modelling, urban growth, environmental sustainability


Szpakowski, T. (2023). The impact of various land-use zoning and government restrictions on environmental sustainability in San Marcos, Texas. Masters of Applied Geography, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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