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Annexation and Growth in the Desert
Norwood, Steve W
Aitken, StuartFarley, KathleenRyan, Sherry
ix, 84 pages : illustrations (some colored), maps.
The goal of my study is to investigate the effects of the administrative procedures and underlying political and economic forces on the process of municipal annexation in Arizona. Annexations play a key role in growth and land use planning. Theoretical insights are drawn from the economic and political theories by geographers and planners including Molotch, Logan, Esparaza and Rusk, and municipal policy makers. These perspectives provide background and data for understanding the impacts on the case study areas. Gila Bend and Buckeye are chosen as the case study areas because Phoenix metropolitan growth is shifting towards southwestern Maricopa County. The geography in the case study areas is changing by the rapid conversion of farmlands into residential developments. I introduce annexation as a growth management tool, comparing smart growth and sprawl, and the impact of limited water resources in arid environments. Methodologically, I researched annexation first-hand by proposing municipal annexation of about 7000 acres of land into Gila Bend. Empirical and qualitative data document this research. My study of the history of annexation in Arizona is part of my methodology. I emphasize the use of maps and photographs for improved spatial visualization. Research and literature suggest that municipal annexation is profit-driven by underlying economic and political forces. The economic drivers of annexation are municipalities, developers and stakeholders. Farmers usually oppose annexation, because they want to preserve their rural way of life. Many environmentalists seek to limit growth and annexation. Annexation is a very political issue and city officials ultimately control its success or failure. The sustainability of water resources in the desert for residential and/or farming uses is argued. The effects of annexation are seen in leapfrogged development and exclusionary zoning policies. The pros and cons of annexation are compared, and annexation laws are introduced.
Arts and Letters
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2014
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