Publications - Western Lands and Communities
Planning for Climate Change in the West, 2010, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
State Trust Lands in the West, 2006, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Building a Framework for Sustainable Development, 2011, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Watering the Sun Corridor, 2011, Morrison Institute for Public Policy
Presentations - Western Lands and Communities
Exploring Ecosystems Services on State Trust Land in the West, 2012, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Conference
Local Land Use Planning and State Trust Land Management in the West, 2012, New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
Land Value Capture on State Trust Lands, 2011, Lincoln Institute's 6th Annual Land Policy Conference
Reshaping Development Patterns, 2011, Rocky Mountian Land Use Institute Conference
Western Lands and Communities (WLC) focuses on shaping growth, sustaining cities, protecting resources, and empowering communities in the Intermountain West. It addresses these challenges through applied research, tool development, exploring policy linkages between land and related natural resources, and engagement of policy makers. We regularly rely on demonstration projects to apply and test innovative approaches and focus on dissemination of the lessons learned through working papers, Policy Focus Reports, presentations, and engagement with policy and decision makers. The geographic scope of WLC is the Intermountain West, from the Sun Corridor megaregion in Arizona to Montana's Crown of the Continent. Partners since 2003, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Sonoran Institute established the joint venture to further their complementary and overlapping missions to shape the future of the Intermountain West by informing land use and related natural resources policy.
Western Lands and Communities efforts are organized into four major integrated areas:
- Urban Form and Smart Growth Research
- Visioning and Planning Tools
- State Trust Land Management
- Western Land, Water, Energy and Climate Policy Linkages
Urban Form and Smart Growth Research: Reshaping Development Patterns
Rapid population growth and development activity, as well as the recent economic downturn, have impacted quality of life, fiscal health of cities and towns, regional economies, sustainability, and ecosystem health throughout the Intermountain West. This program area focuses on research related to smart growth planning and policies that will lead to more sustainable urban form patterns in the West. Western Lands and Communities will continue the multi-year Reshaping Development Patterns effort initiated during FY10 to identify and address key land ownership, market, planning and fiscal consequences of excess development entitlements and best practices to address the challenges these raise for local communities, landowners, the real estate industry, and urban growth patterns. The goals of this project are:
- Fully understand the nature and extent of these entitlements;
- Partner with local communities on several place based demonstration projects;
- Examine potential future markets; and
- Document the best practices and lessons learned by communities throughout the West.
WLC will produce a Policy Focus Report from this work in 2013.
Planners and community leaders need affordable and accessible tools and resources that highlight best practices to envision and manage the future of their communities. This program area works to develop tools and applications that will promote smart growth and improve sustainability and urban form in western communities. Western Lands and Communities will continue the development and application of planning tools for conservation priority setting, creating growth projections, and community visioning and scenario development. We are also facilitating a network of tool developers, users, and funders that is creating open source products to expand access to these important tools. WLC will produce a Policy Focus Report on Open Source Tools in 2012. Additionally, our Sustainable Communities Online Toolkit information exchange (SCOTie) went live on July 1, 2011. We are actively incorporating new partners and content into this online searchable database of best practices. Visit the site at www.scotie.org or www.successfulcommunities.org.
State trust land management, the principal focus area of Western Lands and Communities first four years, remains significant due to the extensive state trust land holdings and their importance for sustainable resource use and urban form patterns throughout the Intermountain West. In addition, many of the lessons learned from demonstration projects and research efforts conducted on state trust land are more generally applicable to other public and private lands throughout the intermountain west. Early WLC research resulted in a seminal Policy Focus Report, State Trust Lands in the West: Fiduciary Duty in a Changing Landscape. Current areas of focus include research on ecosystem services markets and frameworks, economic analysis of the "contributory value" of preserved lands to adjacent lands, and solar energy development on public lands. This work will be disseminated through ongoing working papers and a forthcoming Policy Focus Report in 2014 on Conservation Strategies for State Trust Lands. WLC also works with the Western State Land Commissioners Association to advance innovative practices regarding the planning, disposition, and management of state trust lands throughout the West.
Land use and policy, water resources, and energy production are highly interrelated and critical to a sustainable economy for the Intermountain West. The highly variable climate of the West and potential for impacts due to global climate change greatly impact our land and natural resources, and highlight the need to address the interaction between land policy and natural resources. Water resources and electric utility infrastructure are two key issues that necessitate megaregional level coordination and likely provide the best way to introduce climate change challenges into the dialogue in western states. Our 2010 Policy Focus Report, Planning for Climate Change in the West, highlighted the role of local governments in addressing climate change challenges and implementing effective policies. Our current work is focused on developing best practices for integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation into land, water, and energy policy; and advancing development of renewable energy; and engaging a broader civic dialogue on water policy.
Alternative Futures considered five alternative scenarios for growth and development and generated maps and anaylsis using Fregonese Associates' Envision Tomorrow scenario toolkit. Projected population growth 2010-2035 of 16,882 persons was distributed in each scenario.
- Scenario 1 - Existing General Plans
- Scenario 2 - Jobs/Housing Balance
- Scenario 3 - Conservation and Compact Development
- Scenario 4 - Rural Living Emphasis
- Scenario 5 - Base and Park Mission Protection
Scenario 1 utilized existing general plans and the associated zoning from those plans to distribute growth across the region. General plan designations from three jurisdictions with planning authority were used: the County of San Bernardino (includes the communities of Joshua Tree, Morongo Valley, and Landers); the Town of Yucca Valley; and the City of Twentynine Palms. In this scenario, growth is directed to the areas currently zoned for the type of growth reflected by the development type assigned, in roughly the proportions of existing development. Click map below for larger image.
Scenario 2 employed recent California Employment Development Department jobs mix numbers to simulate a jobs/housing balance in the Morongo Basin that resembles the California profile. This scenario directs growth and development in a manner that distributes employment to mirror the state's distribution, while directing adequate housing for employees in locations near the workplaces. Growth is directed by locating development types that provide the desired job mix in locations where housing development tended to exist (infill and in existing communities), including an emphasis on mixed use development. Click map below for larger image.
Scenario 3 used initial results from Craighead Institute's Wild Planner, conservation science results from the SC Wildlands linkage design studies, and the existing planning boundaries of the four largest communities in the Morongo Basin (unincorporated Morongo Valley and Joshua Tree, and the incorporated communities of Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms) to direct growth. In this scenario, growth is directed both to infill and existing developments in established communities, as well as some growth in rural living areas that did not overlap with: SC Wildlands linkage design areas; parcels ranked as a High Priority for Wildlife Habitat & Connectivity in the Morongo Basin Conservation Priority Analysis; or the areas defined as "not yet impacted" by the initial Wild Planner analysis. Click map below for larger image.
Scenario 4 acknowledged the desires on the part of many who move to the desert to experience their own "piece of the desert", by directing residential growth to the previously described areas zoned Rural Living in the basin. In part, the existing development pattern throughout the basin is a legacy of the Small Tract Act of 1938. This scenario continues that pattern, with some consideration of keeping the wildlife linkage designs intact, as backyard wildlife is one of the community treasures that local residents have said they value. In this scenario, the focus of residential growth is directed primarily to areas zoned rural living of the city, town and county, while respecting the general locations of the SC Wildlands linkage design areas. Click map below for larger image.
Scenario 5 made direct use of the Morongo Basin Conservation Priority Setting (CPS) project results summarized in Morongo Basin Conservation Priorities Report: A strategy for preserving conservation values, specifically targeting growth to protect and enhance the missions of the local Marine base and national park. Development under this scenario is generally directed away from those parcels ranked as "high priority" for these two conservation values—Park Mission and Base Mission. As with all the scenarios, this one is approached as a balanced and realistic alternative to growth and development in the basin that puts an emphasis on mission protection, while modeling growth using all of the development types that were part of the Envision Tomorrow analysis. Click map below for larger image.
Potential Development Impact of Scenarios on Wildlife
|Badger||Bighorn Sheep||Bobcat||Desert Tortoise||Mountain Lion||Mule Deer||Pacific Kangaroo Rat|
|Full Build Out||8.1||10.3||13.4||51.5||10.8||14.6||23.7|
Numbers represent percent loss of habitat