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University of Maryland shares NSF grant to study urban development impact
Date:1/19/2011

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland will share part of a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study the relationships of land use, climate and ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay region. The multidisciplinary project merges social science, natural science, and engineering disciplines to investigate the complex dynamics between water and the built urban environment.

The University of Maryland's Charles Towe - an assistant professor of agriculture and natural resource economics - is a team member of the social science component of the project. Towe will use the grant to reconstruct the Baltimore area's land development over the past 30 years and study the mechanisms driving land conversion in Maryland.

"We make location decisions based on the availability of land or water. Policies are influenced by these factors," Towe says. "We're attempting to say something about this messy dynamic."

MODELING FUTURE DEVELOPMENT

The way cities and suburbs develop is determined by links between homebuyers and developers. Homebuyers choose where to live based on budget considerations and location amenities, such as driving access to urban centers, school districts, or environmental characteristics. Developers respond to costs and returns, determined by factors such as the availability of sewer and water lines, or the stringency of zoning and land use regulations. The patterns and timing of urban development depend on how homebuyers, developers and regulators interact in the marketplace.

Using historical data, the social science team aims to simulate Maryland land conversion by deconstructing homebuyer preferences for location amenities, which generate housing demand, and identifying factors that affect developer building decisions, which determine housing supply. By understanding the dynamics that led to past land conversions from farms and forests to urban and suburban uses, these researchers can dev
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Contact: David Ottalini
dottalin@umd.edu
301-405-4076
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert

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