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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Linear programming model for land resource allocation in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Gardner, Andrew George

Abstract

The expanding population in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, has been accompanied by a commensurate increase in the pressure of demand for land. In recent years attention has been focused on the competition for the regional land resources by agricultural and urban interests. Coincident with this conflict, public concern has been expressed over market allocation of agricultural land to urban uses. In this respect reference has often been made by the public, to the benefits of planning regional land allocation. To date no quantitative economic examination of this trend in land resource allocation has been undertaken. This thesis is an attempt to show how a mathematical technique - linear programming, - can be used to analyse and evaluate such land allocation problems. The linear programming model optimizes a system based on a conceptual framework in which the stated objective is the allocation of land to its "highest and best use". Economic, highest and best use of land is shown to exist when the activity bidding the highest price for the resource is allocated the site. Utilizing Lower Mainland Regional Planning Board land inventories and population projections, and Vancouver Real Estate Board price data, the specifications of the linear programming model were formulated such that the allocation of land uses results in the maximization of the aggregate value of the regional land base. The model was used to analyse the allocation of land in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia for four time periods: 1966-1971, 1966-1976, 1966-1981 and 1966-1986. In each case, the pattern of land use associated with the maximum aggregate land value as determined by the model, shows from an economic standpoint, the most efficient possible use of land in the whole region. The plans derived are normative in that they show the pattern of land use development which should be followed to achieve optimum land allocation. The model, apart from being normative, also appears positive in that it shows the actual present day trend of continuing urban expansion onto rural land. The positive aspects of the model were attributed to the mechanism by which the real estate market operates, and it was hypothesised that by being to some extent positive, the model could be used for predictive purposes. This specific model appears limited in its applicability on account of certain problems of specification and data availability, but the methodology is considered to be a significant advance on present land use planning concepts which lack explicit economic criteria and objectives applicable to land resource development.

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