Emily Talen

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Regional Research Institute

Document Number



Regional Research Institute


Recently, planning theorists have stressed the need to understand more fully the realities of planning, fueled by the fact that the planning community has little empirical knowledge about its effects. There currently exist very few studies which attempt to quantitatively assess the broader socioeconomic corollaries of planning activity. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate one approach to understanding these corollaries by attempting to link planning activity (the "input") with various community or countrywide characteristics (the "output"). The paper uses exploratory data analysis to investigate the relationship between planning expenditure, as a measure of planning activity, and a variety of socioeconomic and other variables which can, in some way, be related to planning activity. While these relationships do not prove anything about cause and effect, they are a useful first step in attempting to decipher the ultimate effects of planning. Using planning expenditure data for Florida cities and counties, it was found that at the city level planning expenditure was associated with low densities and low average travel to work times.At the county level, it was found that mid-size, mid-density, fast-growing counties exhibited strong positive correlations between planning expenditure and housing value, rent, and multiple-family housing. Unlike at the city level, low-density housing was not positively correlated with county level planning expenditure.