Planner's Estimating Guide

Projecting Land-Use and Facility Needs

By Arthur Nelson, FAICP

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The United States faces enormous changes in the next 25 years. Arthur C. (Chris) Nelson starts this book with a few projections: The population will grow by one-third to 375 million. We will need 60 million new housing units to house these people. There will be 60 percent more jobs, requiring 50 billion additional square feet of nonresidential space. The bottom line is that half of all development in 2030 will have been built since 2000. Nelson estimates the cost of new construction alone to be at least $20 trillion.

This book gives planning practitioners a powerful tool to help decide where to put this new development. It does not advocate one development scenario over another, but it revolutionizes the job of estimating land-use and facility needs.

Planner's Estimating Guide offers easy-to-use formulas and worksheets that are formatted in an Excel workbook on CD-ROM and carefully explained in the text. They make it easy to figure future requirements for countless scenarios. The workbook and text deal with a 20-year planning horizon for a fictitious county, but both the time projection and scale are entirely adaptable to myriad local circumstances.

The program allows you to gather a first impression of future land-use needs, and revise it to reflect local limitations. For example, if the landscape in question won't support the land-use estimations, change the assumptions in the workbook to devise new estimates. The workbook shows the implications of growth based on standard assumptions; you can change the assumptions as needed to reflect local conditions — including public input — to see how outcomes change.

Use the workbook as a model for testing local sensitivities with respect to land supply constraints and changes in policy assumptions. The results won't tell you what to do, but will reveal the numerical implications of different scenarios. The book is written principally for practitioners, and also for planning students as a primary or supplementary text.

Used creatively, the powerful tools in Planner's Estimating Guide will help you determine the numerical implications of an almost infinite number of future circumstances that may affect your community.

Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
July 2, 2004
APA Planners Press

Table of Contents

1. The challenge ahead
Overview • Yukon County • Data needs and use • Tables • Organization • Role in the planning process • Role of professional judgement

2. Data, trends, and baseline conditions
Overview • Population and employment data • Land-use data • Changing land-use patterns • Workbook baseline tables

3. Residential land-use needs
Overview • Inventorying residential land uses and analyzing trends • Estimating occupied units and residents • Estimating residential units and acres lost • Estimating residential units needed • Estimating residential land-use needs

4. Employment land-use needs
Overview • Step 1:determine gross square feet of building space per worker • Step 2:determine net and gross acres needed for employment-based land uses • Summary observations • Appendix

5. Functional population adjustments for public facilities
Overview • Summary observations

6. Public facility space and land-use needs
Overview • Public safety facilities • General government administration, community center, recreation center, and library facilities • Major community centers • Parks and recreational facilities • Private land-extensive land uses • Miscellaneous support facilites • Religious facilities • Synthesis of public facility space and land-use needs

7. Educational facility space and land-use needs
Overview • Public educational facility space and land-use needs • Public elementary and secondary educational facility space needs • Private educational facility land-use needs • Summary observations

8. Water and wastewater utility land-use needs
Overview • Summary observations

9. Summary land-use needs and market factor adjustment
Overview • Summary observations

10. Capital facility cost implications

11. Estimating land-use and facility needs of unanticipated development
Overview • Basic impact coefficients • Economic base residential change coefficient • Employment change coefficients • Household and employment capture • Example of change in 100 acres of residential development, 6-8 units per net acre • Example of change in 100 acres of office park development • Mixed land-use development impact • Collateral facility and land-use impacts • Summary discussion

12 The canvas beckons


"At last, an easily accessible, easy-to-use, easy-to-adapt tool for estimating land-use and facility needs associated with urban growth! Planners will find Chris Nelson's Planner's Estimating Guide an invaluable resource for use in all phases of the planning process. The accompanying CD with spreadsheets is particularly welcome."

—Raymond J. Burby, FAICP
Professor of City and Regional Planning and Director
Department of City and Regional Planning
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"This brilliantly crafted work on quantitative methods for estimating future land-use and facility needs links lucid text with the enormous computational power of the included CD-ROM. Chris Nelson's book and programs will enable every community, large and small, to have the most sophisticated data assembly and analytical capability. Planner's Estimating Guide is the ultimate power tool for planning. Land planning will be better for it."

—Dwight H. Merriam, FAICP
Robinson & Cole, LLP

"How many times have you said, 'I just need a rough estimate — somebody must have done this work and developed some rules of thumb?' If you've said it once, and spent several hours searching without success, consider adding Chris Nelson's Planner's Estimating Guide to your library.

"Nelson's academic work has always had a practical focus. He has worked as a planner and knows the problems practicing planners face. In Planner's Estimating Guide he turns his years of experience into understandable, defensible, and useable numbers for many of the issues that long-run land-use planning must address. He provides more than a look-up table: he describes why the estimates are relevant and how they are derived, and in doing so provides insights into the purposes and practice of land use planning."

—Terry Moore, FAICP
Vice President, ECONorthwest

"This book shows the range of Chris Nelson's planning mastery from the global to the local scale. It provides powerful information for a planner who wants to do things right."

—Myron Orfield
Associate Professor of Law
Director of the Institute on Race and Poverty
University of Minnesota Law School

"Projecting land-use and facility needs is often a complex and frustrating process. Chris Nelson comes to your aid with reliable statistics and sensible forecasting methods. His explanations are models of clarity and reason. He performs a real service for all planners."

—Douglas R. Porter, FAICP
President, The Growth Management Institute

"Planners are constantly confronted with æwhat if' questions in both long-range planning and in development review. What if our community's population doubles in twenty years? What are the implications for land use and public facility needs? What if a new industrial development creates 500 new jobs? What will be the impact of that? Our ability to answer such questions is central to our mission. Chris Nelson's Planner's Estimating Guide provides planners with powerful tools to answer these critical questions. For years to come, planners will be indebted to Nelson for his outstanding contribution to professional practice for the practical reason that they will increase their effectiveness."

—Frank S. So, FAICP
Former Executive Director, American Planning Association

"Planner's Estimating Guide belongs on every land-use and facility planner's bookshelf. It will quickly prove its worth and join the ranks among the most influential practitioner volumes, such as Kaiser, Godschalk, and Chapin's Urban Land Use Planning and De Chiara and Koppelman's Time Saver Standards for Site Planning. This book is indispensable in comprehensive planning processes and provides rules-of-thumb that are difficult for practicing planners to determine on their own."

—Jerry Weitz, AICP
Practicing Planner