Land use management conflicts : when multiple jurisdictions employ incomparable land use data
Elliott, Mary A.
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Land use planning maps are being created for overlapping areas by various levels of the land use management hierarchy. This hierarchical nature creates an environment of conflict in which rival municipalities on one level are competing for resources and control with other planning jurisdictions at the same or other sub-state levels. Resolution of these conflicts becomes difficult because the plans themselves are created independently by each jurisdiction and often are legal instruments. The conflicts are apparent upon inspection of five important map elements: plan purpose, taxonomy, spatial and temporal resolutions, and minimum mapping unit. Geographic information system (GIS) technology permitted the examination of land use planning maps created by more than 24 members of the hierarchy, including a set of case studies. The case studies are comprised of the three dominant land use planning levels of municipality, county and region. The analysis revealed that expected patterns did exist in four of the five identified key cartographic elements. It also quantified the extent of planning conflicts among the case studies in a selected test area. Building on the predictable nature of these map elements, a standardized, basic taxonomy was presented. Implementation of a common taxonomy was perceived by X the author as crucial to the creation of maps that at once depict the full range of land use/land cover activities of their individual jurisdictions yet are also compatible with other planning maps at and between levels of the hierarchy. Achievement of this type of compatibility between frequently adversarial jurisdictions could significantly facilitate discussion and resolution of conflicts. Further studies are needed to verify or challenge the apparent patterns of four key map elements and to resolve the nature of the fifth element. It would also be instructive to determine if the findings of this study are replicable in other locations in the nation and if longitudinal studies suggest a steady relationship between the elements over time.