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Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3975-3990; doi:10.3390/su6063975
Article

Densification without Growth Management? Evidence from Local Land Development and Housing Trends in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

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Received: 14 April 2014; in revised form: 5 June 2014 / Accepted: 17 June 2014 / Published: 20 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Density and Sustainability)
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Abstract: In urban America, land development and residential real estate have passed through a number of different phases during the post-WWII era. In contemporary discourse on urban sustainability, attention is often expressed in terms of intensity of land development, lot sizes, and square-footage of housing units. In this paper, we reconstruct the land development trajectory of a rapidly growing southern city in the United States and assess whether this trajectory has experienced any reversal in the face of socio-economic transformations that have occurred over the past decade or so. Starting with current land and real estate property records, we reconstitute the urban map of Charlotte using World War II as a starting point. Results highlight a decline in the average single family lot size over the past decade, while the average home size has consistently grown, suggesting that the city of Charlotte and its county have witnessed a densification trend along a path towards greater land development. This analysis both helps situate Charlotte with respect to other U.S. urban regions, and provides support for potential land-use policies, especially densification, when a balance between urban development, environment preservation, energy savings, and the achievement of quality of life for current and future generations are concerned.
Keywords: densification; land development trends; new urbanism; Charlotte; North Carolina densification; land development trends; new urbanism; Charlotte; North Carolina
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Delmelle, E.C.; Zhou, Y.; Thill, J.-C. Densification without Growth Management? Evidence from Local Land Development and Housing Trends in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Sustainability 2014, 6, 3975-3990.

AMA Style

Delmelle EC, Zhou Y, Thill J-C. Densification without Growth Management? Evidence from Local Land Development and Housing Trends in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Sustainability. 2014; 6(6):3975-3990.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Delmelle, Elizabeth C.; Zhou, Yuhong; Thill, Jean-Claude. 2014. "Densification without Growth Management? Evidence from Local Land Development and Housing Trends in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA." Sustainability 6, no. 6: 3975-3990.


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