Planning expenditures and wealth

E. Talen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1990, local government in the State of Florida spent close to $125 000 000 on 'comprehensive planning'. The figures did not include public expenditures for physical infrastructure (i.e. capital improvements); instead, the expenditure was related to what, presumably, the typical local urban planner does - plan and regulate in an effort to make the human habitat a better place to live. This article explores the question of where these planning funds were expended in general, socioeconomic terms. Assessments of this sort are rare in planning. Contrary to what many may expect, the empirical investigation of the broader, macro-environment within which planning takes place has not been researched. The question I attempt to answer is: what are the associated characteristics of areas that spend more vs. less on planning? Is planning the domain of wealthy regions? Is there any evidence that local governments enlist 'comprehensive planning' in more depressed urban areas to the same degree that they utilise planning in wealthy areas? To make this assessment, planning expenditure in the State of Florida is looked at, correlating it with a few selected variables that serve to characteristirise the socioeconomic environment in which planning takes place, specifically housing value and race. To control for the effect of absolute differences in expenditures (i.e. based on differences in an area's ability to generate revenue), planning expenditure is measured as a percentage of total local government expenditure (as well as, for counties, expenditure per capita). The assessment is straightforward: the purpose is to describe (as opposed to explain) what types of areas planning dollars are being expended on. The goal, therefore, is not to uncover the complex mechanisms that lead to planning expenditure patterns - political leanings, dominant interest groups, the structure of government, extant planning culture, etc. Rather I simply want to document who (i.e., where) the beneficiaries of comprehensive planning are.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-352
Number of pages10
JournalPlanning Practice and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


Dive into the research topics of 'Planning expenditures and wealth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this