Managing Growth and Workforce Housing in Edge Counties

June 22, 2002

Funding: Fannie Mae Foundation

Summary: Researcher(s) completed detailed interviews with the primary policy officials responsible for growth management and affordable workforce housing in 37 of the fastest growing counties, including county managers, county executives, and chief county planners. Conversations with these officials show that much of their work continues to occur within planning tools and laws developed before rapid growth began, and that this situation increases their work load and reduces their capacity to respond in a comprehensive and strategic manner. These rapidly growing areas – with an onslaught of governance, fiscal and commercial decisions on land use – overtake the available community resources able to be devoted to handling growth and ensuring adequate housing supply. While factors such as sufficient amounts of developable land clearly deflate the immediate magnitude of growth and housing problems, the few counties with cohesive urban management plans better deploy resources and prepare for their fast-growth future.