Approaches to residential development have clear effects on the surrounding environments, including those on habitat protection, water quality, transportation and congestion costs, and loss of public open space. Ecological subdivision designs (ESDs) are a means to mitigate some of the most negative effects of low-density dispersed land-use patterns, yet there is not widespread adoption of these alternative approaches to subdivision development. In this paper we attempt to improve understanding of how developers make decisions over development designs and what influences those decisions. Using an agent-based model of residential-housing and land markets, the effects of different developer-decision frameworks on development designs and land use are assessed. The importance of uncertainty in the outcome of new designs, such as ESDs, and the effect of that uncertainty on the cost of credit are possible explanations for the prevalence of conventional, low-density development types, and may be impeding adoption of ESDs.
Read the full article in Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design.