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High rugosity cities: The geographic, economic and regulatory pathology of America’s most non-concentric urban areas

Brinkley, Catherine
Land use policy 2018 v.73 pp. 215-224
agricultural land, case studies, cities, direct marketing, farms, land use, markets, multivariate analysis, planning, population growth, urban areas, urban development, vigor
The guiding theory in urban development largely views non-concentric urban form as undesirable and even pathologic for poor land-use planning, with negative consequences for peri-urban farmland. As a result, the dominant planning discourse calls for concentric urban areas, thereby minimizing the urban interface. Yet, the urban interface is known to be important to housing markets, particularly where farmland amenities are valued. This research argues that increased rugosity, or greater urban interface exposure, is vital to both urban and agricultural markets. Findings from 30 case study counties and spatial multivariate analysis demonstrate that an increased urban interface is associated with large populations, high rates of population growth, high demand in the housing market, and significant historic peri-urban farm holdings involved in direct-marketing. High rugosity urban areas are associated with the sustained vigor of both urban and agricultural land-uses.