Development Sprawl in Texas




Jeffers, Rachael

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McGrew Public Policy Award Winner. This study is a preliminary assessment of the effect development sprawl (low-density development occurring outside city boundaries) has on Texas city governments. Specifically, the purpose of the research study is to explore Texas city managers' assessments of (1) the effects of development sprawl on city finance and service provision, (2) the relationship between development sprawl and city annexation, and (3) the relationship between development sprawl and their impressions of regional governance. To satisfy the research purposes, a survey instrument was developed from the conceptual framework (working hypotheses). The surveys were administered to the most complete existing list of city managers in Texas (540). A correlation analysis of the survey data presented three major findings regarding city managers' assessments: (1) the higher the level of development sprawl outside city boundaries, the less adequate transportation systems are within the city; (2) the higher the level of development growth outside city boundaries, the more frequently cities annex that growth; and (3) the higher the level of development sprawl outside a city's boundaries, the more likely the city's manager supports regional transportation planning. Study results highlight the importance of preserving city annexation authority, which captures sprawling tax bases, and suggest an enhanced role for regional transportation planning efforts. The results also provide some support for the state to reassess its role in development control efforts due to sprawl's pervasiveness in the state.


An Applied Research Project Submitted to the Department of Political Science, Texas State University-San Marcos, in Partial Fulfillment for the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Public Administration, Summer 2003.


development sprawl, Texas, low-density, city governments, city managers, city finance, city annexation, Public Administration


Jeffers, R. (2003). Development sprawl in Texas. Masters of Public Administration, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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