Monitoring Local Land Markets

Zoning Practice — January 2008

By Gerrit Knaap, Elisabeth Dang, AICP


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Recent advances in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have allowed more local communities to analyze land-use patterns using recent and accurate data. Communities are able to use aerial photography, GIS layers, and links to parcel-based databases, such as a property appraiser's, to create detailed results. Such information can be a valuable tool to help communities implement smart growth policies, and ultimately prevent sprawl and inefficient use of public services.

Good land-use decisions can preserve land for future generations and provide a mix of uses that is convenient and valuable to the community as a whole. As communities devote more time, attention, and effort to managing the use of land, many are finding they lack the basic information they need to do solid long-range planning.

This issue of Zoning Practice explains how land supply monitoring can be used to protect open space, encourage redevelopment, and make the most of infrastructure investments.


Page Count
Date Published
Jan. 1, 2008
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American Planning Association

About the Authors

Gerrit Knaap
Gerrit-Jan Knaap is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Executive Director of the National Center for Smart Growth Research at the University of Maryland. Knaap earned his B.S. from Willamette University, his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, and received post-doctoral training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all in economics. Knaap’s research interests include the interactions between housing markets and policy, the economics and politics of land use planning, the efficacy of economic development instruments, and the impacts of environmental policy. On these subjects, Knaap has authored or coauthored over 65 articles in peer refereed journals, and coauthored or co-edited nine books. He received the Chester Rapkin award for the best paper published in Volume 10 of the Journal of Planning Education and Research, with Greg Lindsey, he received the 1998 best of ACSP award, and in 2006 he received the Outstanding Planner Award from the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association. Funding for his research has been provided by the National Science Foundation, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Town Creek foundation, and numerous other federal, state, and local government agencies. He currently serves on the State of Maryland’s Smart Growth Subcabinet, Sustainable Growth Commission, Governor’s Scientific Advisory Panel, and the Mitigation and Science workgroups of the Climate Commission.

Elisabeth Dang, AICP
Elisabeth Dang, AICP is the Chief Planner for the City of Orlando’s Comprehensive Planning Studio. She has served Orlando in various roles since 2004, and currently coordinates amendments to the City’s comprehensive plan to address long-range issues including water supply, smart growth, transportation improvements, energy efficiency, and preservation of open space. Elisabeth also assists developers obtaining land use approvals for large-scale projects such as Florida Hospital, Lake Nona/Medical City, and Creative Village. Prior to moving to Central Florida, Elisabeth worked as a researcher for the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education and as a consultant for ICF International in Fairfax, Virginia. Elisabeth has a master’s degree in Community Planning from the University of Maryland, and an undergraduate degree in Economics from Bryn Mawr College.