Spatial and Temporal Dynamics: Residential Development Process



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A lack of empirical evidence to understand neighborhood and residential development processes within neighborhoods has challenged urban planners? ability to influence the course of future land development. The main objectives of this study were to examine neighborhood and residential development patterns and investigate dynamic processes in northwest Harris County, Texas, along the U.S. Highway 290 transportation corridor from 1945 to 2006. Researchers have identified different patterns of land development: leapfrog, contagion and infill development. However, because of the fuzziness in neighborhood and residential development patterns, the nominal classifications of development patterns are limited in their potential to characterize development patterns both on neighborhood and parcel levels; their applications for development processes and its impacts are even more limited. This study presents a quantitative approach for measuring development patterns by characterizing neighborhood development patterns as a function of spatial distance and temporal lapse time from the closest existing neighborhood to new neighborhood(s). The analysis in this study was based on disaggregated parcel data provided by the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) real estate and property records. The quantitative measures of neighborhood development patterns and processes within each pattern of neighborhood were derived by aggregating parcel level data into neighborhood level. This study developed the Long-term Trend of Development Model (LTDM) to classify neighborhood and residential development patterns based on spatial distance and temporal lapse time from existing neighborhoods to new neighborhood(s) each year to examine development processes. Regression analysis was used to identify the relationship between neighborhood patterns and residential development processes. This study found that development patterns can be measured quantitatively with spatial and temporal relationships between prior and new development at the neighborhood level. Empirical evidence supported the hypothesis that leapfrog neighborhood development triggers neighborhood development, contagion follows leapfrog neighborhood quickly, and infill follows contagion after a lapsed time. Residential development patterns in each pattern of neighborhood showed discrete development processes. Age of neighborhood can be used to predict development pressures and growth. In this process, physical and social infrastructure is involved, therefore, development process is best observed on the neighborhood level.