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Working Paper No. 09-14

Modeling spillovers from development and conservation: A story of competing land uses
Megan Lawson
December 2009


While land protection is an increasingly popular means for communities to manage growth, its effectiveness is not well understood. Existing research has focused on the effect of land protection on development, overlooking its effect on future land protection. This paper fills an important gap in the literature on urban spatial structure by developing an empirical model of competing land uses to identify the feedback effects between land protection and development, using Boulder County, Colorado as a case study. I find that both protection and development are more likely to occur near protected parcels, but the increase in protection propensity is much greater than the increase in development propensity. The paper concludes with a simulation that incorporates endogenous land use to identify the parcels that were most likely to have been developed in the absence of land protection in Boulder County.