Hotspots for Growth: Land Use Change and Priority Funding Area Policy in a Transitional County in the U.S.

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This paper uses a logit model to estimate whether and to what extent Maryland’s Priority Funding Area (PFA) program steers urban growth to locations inside targeted growth area boundaries of an ex-urban county in the outer suburbs of the Washington, D.C. region. The results of our model indicate that the size of an agricultural parcel, its distance from urban parcels, its proximity to highways, the quality of the land for agriculture, and the location in or outside of PFAs influence the probability an agricultural parcel will remain in agriculture or be converted to urban use. We find that some of the areas experiencing the greatest market pressure for development are located outside PFAs and, although Maryland’s incentive-based strategy reduces the likelihood a parcel outside a PFA will transition to urban use, this policy is not one hundred percent effective.