Jungyul Sohn

Smart Growth, Housing Markets, and Development Trends in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor

Authors: Gerrit Knaap, Jungyul Sohn, John W. Frece and Elisabeth Holler (2003)
Synopsis: Maryland is a dense and rapidly growing state. For this and other reasons, Maryland has been a national leader in a movement known as smart growth. Smart growth has many objectives, but concentrating urban growth in well defined areas while protecting rural land from development are perhaps its primary goals. Though public support for smart growth continues to rise, so do concerns that policies used to promote smart growth could have adverse effects on land and housing markets. To evaluate these concerns, this study provides information on housing markets and development trends in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.The study finds that housing demand in the nation and in Maryland is strong, as revealed by rising prices and homeownership rates as well as by falling vacancy rates and housing-to-jobs ratios. In general, the housing market in Maryland exhibits trends similar to those in comparable jurisdictions, such as neighboring Virginia. The performance of specific housing markets in Maryland, however, varies widely, with strong growth in the suburbs, variable growth in rural areas and persistent weakness in Baltimore City. Further, in the Baltimore and Washington suburbs, housing prices are rising rapidly while housing starts remain sluggish. Though this study does not prove that housing markets and development trends in Maryland have been adversely affected by land use policies, there is evidence to suggest that state and local constraints on development are contributing to problems of housing affordability and deflecting growth to outlying areas. The result could be more, not less, urban sprawl. Moreover, neither the state government nor most local governments in Maryland currently have adequate policies in place to monitor or address this problem. While the Maryland Smart Growth initiative has been successful in protecting natural areas and agricultural lands from development, it has not had similar success in assuring a steady, future supply of affordable housing. Local governments, meanwhile, appear to have little incentive to address this problem.To address this problem the state needs to assure that local governments address development capacity and housing affordability issues. This does not mean it should eliminate or immediately expand Priority Funding Areas. It does mean that the state should require local governments to include housing elements in their comprehensive plans, provide periodic estimates of housing and employment capacity, and develop modern and publicly accessible data on the location and capacity of developable land. Local governments must be active and willing participants in this process and the Maryland Department of Planning should provide whatever technical assistance may be needed.


Information Technology in the 1990s: More Footloose or More Location-bound?

Authors: Jungyul Sohn (2002)
Synopsis: This paper examines if information technology has worked towards dispersion or concentration of economic activities in two steps of analysis. The first analysis using locational Gini coefficient and Moran’s I focuses on distribution of the urban area as a whole and finds that dispersion was prominent over the years. The second analysis using Gi* statistic as the dependent variable in the regression model, however, shows that the technology has induced more concentration rather than dispersion at an intrametropolitan scale, reflecting that there is a discrepancy in the results of the two analyses depending on the spatial scale of the analysis.


Managing Growth With Priority Funding Areas: A Good Idea Whose Time Has Yet to Come

Authors: Rebecca Lewis, Gerrit Knaap, and Jungyul Sohn (2009)
Synopsis: Problem: In 1997, the State of Maryland adopted a bold new approach to growth management based on a novel instrument: priority funding areas (PFAs). PFAs contain growth by directing state spending to areas designated by local governments and reviewed by the state government. Despite widespread acclaim and subsequent imitation, little is known about whether PFAs effectively contain urban growth.


Does Job Creation Tax Credit Program in Maryland Induce Spatial Employment Growth or Redistribution?

Authors: Jungyul Sohn and Gerrit Knaap (2002)
Synopsis: The Job Creation Tax Credit (JCTC) program is one of the five major Smart Growth Programs initiated by the State of Maryland in 1996 and amended in 1997.  Like other tax credit programs it is intended to create jobs, but it is also a place-based policy in the sense that eligibility is limited to jobs created in Priority Funding Areas (PFAs). This paper examines whether the JCTC program has furthered the goals of smart growth by concentrating job growth within well defined regions of the state. Towards this end, both the number and the relative share of employment inside and outside of the PFAs are compared using three econometric models. The empirical analysis examines employment in five economic sectors ((1) primary, (2) manufacturing, (3) transportation, communication and utilities (T.C.U.), (4) finance, insurance and real estate (F.I.R.E.) and (5) services) over the years (1994 to 1998) using ZIP Code data. The result shows that jobs in the T.C.U. and services industries have responded to the state incentive program while three other sectors have not; the distribution of jobs in the primary sector have grown counter to the state incentive policy and jobs in manufacturing and F.I.R.E. have been unaffected by the program.


Characterising urban sprawl on a local scale with accessibility measures

Authors: Sohn, Jungyul, Songhyun Choi, Rebecca Lewis, and Gerrit Knaap
Synopsis: Although measuring sprawl based on morphology is conceptually simple and easy to implement, it is of limited use for deriving implications for urban planning. However, measuring sprawl based on accessibility enables us to observe the impact of development and establish a customized place-based policy by examining the spatial variation within the region. This study aims to develop and operationalize accessibility-based sprawl indicators. For this purpose, it employs two accessibility based sprawl indicator categories and develops their measures: accessibilities to urban functions and open space. From the case study, the findings reveal that the accessibility-based sprawl index shows a clear difference from the morphology-based ones, suggesting that the judgment on sprawl may be wrong if it is purely based on morphology.