Growth and Change in a Paradigmatic Region: Is it Sustainable? Does Planning Make a Difference?




Vaughan, James

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Over the years, geographers and planners have struggled with the patterns, dynamics, and consequences of urban growth and change. The Austin-San Antonio corridor in central Texas is, to modify Nijman's term, a paradigmatic region which clearly displays the fundamental features and trends of rapidly changing urban systems. Rural land at and beyond the urban fringe, within this and other urban regions, is undergoing rapid, sprawling growth. Sprawl impacts the use of resources, the environment, transportation systems, and the way money is spent and time allocated. This research examines change, whether the evolving patterns are sustainable, and the effects that comprehensive planning has on development in the Austin-San Antonio paradigmatic region. Austin has a long history of promoting sustainable development and Smart Growth, whereas the policy of San Antonio reflects almost the antithesis of this philosophy. Do the growth dynamics and the resulting morphology of these two urban systems reveal that "good" planning is effective, ineffective, or irrelevant? This research builds upon the literature confirming ecological planning as a way to achieve sustainable development, but not within the existing property rights regime. Geographers can lead the way in a restructuring of values which includes personal responsibility and recognition of the value of all aspects of the natural world, whether they have economic value or not.



sustainable development, urban land use, growth of cities and towns, right of property, human ecology


Vaughan, J. (2006). Growth and change in a paradigmatic region: Is it sustainable? Does planning make a difference? (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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