October 1994 // Volume 32 // Number 3 // Tools of the Trade // 3TOT2

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Resources for Growth Management Programming

During the booming period of the 1980s, local officials asked for help with problems stemming from rapid growth and change. Growth management has emerged as a concept to seek a responsible "fit" between development and the infrastructure needed to support the impacts of that development. This four volume report was compiled to provide a comprehensive, current review of growth management issues and information. Extension educators can use this information directly in their programming to facilitate decision-making by local elected officials.

Charles R. Blinn
Associate Professor
Extension Specialist and Research Associate
Department of Forest Resources
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota
Internet address: cblinn@mercury.forestry.umn.edu

Elizabeth E. Templin
County Extension Educator
Community Resources
Minnesota Extension Service
Stillwater, Minnesota
Internet address: etemplin@mes.umn.edu

Jane H. Stevenson
Former Program Director
Public Policy
Minnesota Extension Service
St. Paul, Minnesota

Rapid growth and decline in communities cause a variety of stresses on local governments as well as the social structure of the community. The challenge to local governments is to manage growth so that local services and infrastructure can be provided at reasonable costs. Local elected officials must ensure that the means employed to manage the growth are compatible with the values and attitudes of the citizens within the community. However, those local elected officials (a) may not serve full-time in that capacity, (b) may vary in their occupation, educational backgrounds, and understanding of the issue, (c) may not have technical assistance available through paid professional planning staff, and (d) may not have time to compile and review or have access to available materials.

The term "growth management" has been defined as being "a conscious government program intended to influence the rate, amount, type, location, and/or quality of future development within a local jurisdiction" (Godschalk, Brower, McBennett & Vestal, 1979). Growth management is neither pro-growth nor anti-growth. Instead, it seeks a responsible "fit" between development and infrastructure needed to support the impacts of development, including such things as roads, schools, water, sewer, drainage, solid waste, and parks and recreation (DeGrove, 1992). Extension's role in growth management is to "...encourage creative thought and provide information vital to maturing of the community planning process" (Fowler, 1991).

There is a great deal of published information on the topic of growth management. However, much of the information is not easy to retrieve and is in scholarly journals that are not easy to understand. In 1991, the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, funded a project to compile information to assist state and local authorities in planning and managing growth and development while preserving community character. It resulted in production of the four-volume report "Managing Community Growth and Change," which is available through the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the National Technical Information Service, US Department of Commerce. The volumes are:

Volume I. Managing Growth and Change (Einsweiler & Miness, 1992);

Volume II. Academic and Professional Literature on Growth and Growth Management: A Bibliography (Miness, Einsweiler & Jacobs, 1992);

Volume III. Educational Materials on Growth Management: A Bibliography (Templin, 1992); and

Volume IV. Federal Data Sources and State Activities in Growth Management (Stevenson, 1992).

These four volumes, as overviewed in this paper, will be useful to local elected officials, professional planners, and Extension educators addressing this issue.

Volume I

This volume presents aids to understanding growth and growth management in urban, suburban, and rural settings through conceptual frameworks and case studies that link pressing issues to appropriate techniques. Some of the issues discussed include: (a) urban uses moving into agriculture and forest areas, (b) traffic, (c) fiscal stress on local government, (d) shortage of affordable housing, and (e) water pollution. For each issue, there is a discussion of the purposes of intervention, tools or techniques for accomplishing the desired task, and an evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of those tools.

Volume II

This bibliography organizes and presents the most useful or classic economic, political, and social science writings from the academic and professional literature. The scope of the review is limited primarily to books, articles, and bibliographies published since the mid-1980s. This date limit was set, in part, because the literature of the 1970s and early 1980s is covered by existing bibliographies that are referenced in the piece. It includes more than 500 books and articles and 30 bibliographies. Summaries or annotations are provided for many of the sources. Two indices are provided to access sources relevant to a particular subject or interest: the first is a keyword index that is keyed to titles, publication information, summaries, and subject headings; the second is a subject index which is based on Library of Congress headings.

Volume III

This bibliography provides a list of educational materials available to help local officials understand growth issues and the implications of growth. It also helps them interpret data available for formulating policies to manage growth and change. It is organized under the following headings:

  1. Influencing Growth (policy options and explanations of policy alternatives and tools).

  2. Mitigating the Effects of Growth (materials that can aid communities in coping with the changes resulting from growth).

  3. Community Development Guides ("how to" manuals dealing with basic local government and economic development planning).

  4. Videos and Slides (case studies demonstrating real-world problems and solutions).

Items which are mostly from the mid-1980s and early 1990s are listed by topic under each heading. Annotations summarizing the content of the material are provided for the more than 200 citations. Because materials cited in this bibliography are generally not available in most community libraries, information about how to obtain each piece is provided.

Volume IV

This directory identifies the types of information and data that are available from nine federal agencies--the Department of Agriculture, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Interior, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Transportation. This information and data might be useful to help local officials and planners make informed decisions about local development. For each source, information that is provided includes the types of data maintained, specialists' names and telephone numbers, and means and costs of accessing the data. While the directory is not meant to be comprehensive, it can serve as a useful starting point for the local data user. It also contains information on state data needs and activities in growth management.

The information summarized in the four volumes provides Extension educators with a comprehensive, current review of growth management issues and information. Individuals can use the information directly in their programming to facilitate decision-making by elected officials within their jurisdiction.


DeGrove, J. M. (1992). Planning and growth management in the United States. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Einsweiler, R. C., & Miness, D. A. (1992). Managing growth and change in urban, suburban, and rural settings, Volume I of managing community growth and change. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Fowler, R. E. (1991). Challenges to Cooperative Extension in urbanized settings. Proceedings of the National Rural Studies Committee Fourth Annual Meeting, 75-78.

Godschalk, D. R., Brower, D. J., McBennett, L. D., & Vestal, B. A. (1979). Constitutional issues of growth management. Washington, DC: Planners Press.

Miness, D. A., Einsweiler, R. C., & Jacobs, H. M. (1992). Bibliography of academic and professional literature on growth and growth management, Volume II of managing community growth and change. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Stevenson, J. H. (1992). Directory of federal data sources and overview of state data needs and activities in growth management, Volume IV of managing community growth and change. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Templin, E. E. (1992). Bibliography of educational materials for local officials on growth management, Volume III of managing community growth and change. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Author Notes

This contribution was supported by the College of Natural Resources and the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station under Project MN 42-40, the Minnesota Extension Service, and the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. Contributed as Paper No. 20,673 of the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.