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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The fiscal implications of land use decisions : an analysis of three municipal expenditure-revenue analyses undertaken in Greater Vancouver Schlagintweit, Elizabeth


This thesis explores the theory and practice of incorporating a financial perspective into land use planning. Although it is well known that land use changes have definite consequences on municipal finances, there is little empirical information to guide municipal planners in analyzing and understanding the fiscal consequences of their decisions. In this thesis the role of municipal expenditure-revenue analysis in land use planning is analyzed. Municipal expenditure-revenue analysis represents a methodology used to quantify the net cost to a municipal government of providing services to specified land use categories. The nature and historical development of municipal expenditure-revenue analysis is described, and criteria for the evaluation of such analyses are developed. On the basis of these criteria, three municipal expenditure-revenue studies, undertaken in metropolitan Vancouver, are analyzed and evaluated in order to highlight current field practice and key issues in this area of analysis. The evaluation of the three case studies illustrates that despite considerable efforts on behalf of the analysts involved, the results of the studies have little direct application in planning and policy formulation. All three studies were found to have shortcomings which place in question the reliability and validity of the results. Despite these shortcomings, it is concluded that the process of undertaking expenditure-revenue analysis is valuable in that it provides an explicit framework in which planners and other municipal officials can consider the financial implications of land use decisions. On the basis of the analysis and evaluation undertaken in this thesis five recommendations are developed which will help analysts to improve the reliability of both the process and results of future expenditure-revenue analysis. This, in turn, will increase the potential of the direct application of these studies' results in planning and policy formulation. The recommendations made in the concluding chapter of this thesis are listed below: (1 ) Municipal expenditure-revenue analysis should be undertaken under objective circumstances; (2) The resources available to municipal expenditure-revenue studies should allow a thorough and in-depth analysis of the expenditure and revenue associated with the specified land use categories;' (3) The study methodology should combine the range of approaches discussed in Chapter 2 of this thesis; (4) Municipal expenditure-revenue analysis should be computerized; and (5) All aspects of an expenditure-revenue analysis should be clearly documented.

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