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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Urban Growth in California: Projecting Growth in California (2000-2050) Under Six Alternative Policy Scenarios and Assessing Impacts to Future Dispersal Corridors, Fire Threats, and Climate-Sensitive Agriculture


This paper documents the development of land use models that represent different urban growth policy scenarios for California, a contribution to the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Climate Vulnerability and Assessment Project of 2010–2011. The research team produced six UPlan model runs that portray the following policies as footprint scenarios to 2050: Business as Usual, Smart Growth, Fire Adaptation, Infill, Conservation of Projected Connectivity for Plant Movement under Climate Change, and Conservation of Vulnerable Agricultural Lands. This paper compares the outputs from these six scenarios on outputs from three other PIER vulnerability studies: biodiversity, fire return interval, and agricultural sensitivity. While not directly targeting any conservation or agricultural objective, the Infill scenario preserved more open space for other use than any of the other scenarios. The results suggest that combining Infill objectives with other open space goals will produce better conservation goals for those objectives than merely directing growth away from landscape elements of conservation interest.

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