A Smart Growth Report Card: The methodology
10/26/2008 2:31 AM
10/26/2008 2:33 AM
Growth patterns — good or bad — are products of city and county government policies and practices. To understand how the San Joaquin Valley is growing, it’s helpful to take a hard look at these policies.
The Modesto Bee, assisted by planning experts, drafted a survey to assess and rank those planning policies. Questions were tailored to reflect realities in the San Joaquin Valley. The survey incorporates widely accepted smart-growth principles and reflects specific goals pinpointed in the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley’s strategic action proposal.
The 55 multiple-choice questions for cities are grouped in nine sections: Public outreach (seven questions), development (five), fees (six), transportation & infrastructure (eight), design (eight), amenities (six), affordability (seven), agriculture & open space (four) and economic development (four.)
The 40 multiple choice questions for counties are grouped by public outreach (five questions), development (four), fees (seven), agriculture (11), wildlife & resources (four), transportation (five) and economic development (four.)
The questions evaluate planning policies, not on-the-ground realities. The exception is amenities, which gauges public leisure and educational spaces such as museums, libraries and plazas.
A public policy class at California State University, Stanislaus, staffed phone banks and polled 68 planning heads across the eight-county valley from October 2007 through January 2008. Planners were then given several opportunities to refine and reform their answers. Scores are presented as percentages.
-- Michael R. Shea
Editor's Choice Videos
Join the Discussion
The Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.