The size and shape of Phoenix's urban fringe

Patricia Gober, Elizabeth K. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Annual changes in the amount and location of residential fringe development in metropolitan Phoenix are tracked from 1990 to 1998 using local records of housing completions. New development covered a wide geographic area in 1990 but became more geographically concentrated with time. Metropolitan Phoenix is organized into five belts: (1) an outer rural zone, (2) an area of pioneer settlement where the construction of single-family housing began in 1990, (3) a peak zone of intensive development, (4) a zone of infill, and (5) a built-up area where little new construction occurs. Multiple-family housing construction occurs primarily in the infill zone. Between 1995 and 1998, new home construction moved outward at the pace of almost one-half mile per year to an average distance of 18.94 miles from the metropolitan center. Planners can use information about the size, shape, type, and timing of urban fringe development to anticipate infrastructure and service needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-390
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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