Residential developers' location decision behavior in Polk County, Iowa

Kitayama, Dan
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The objective of this thesis was to determine the factors that affect residential developers' decision in locating residential development in Polk County, Iowa. Also, this study aims to show the relationship between the developers' characteristics and these factors. Since major land use decisions are often made by private sector, planners or public officials need to understand developers' location decision concerns and behaviors to improve their planning process and plan for growth management effectively. A review of related literature was conducted concerning historical overview of suburbanization and residential developers' location decision process and behavior. To determine the importance of factors that affect the residential developers' decision, a questionnaire was mailed to residential developers who are in residential development business in Polk County, Iowa. The questionnaire asked residential developers to rate the importance of thirty five location, cost, regulation, physical land suitability and marketability factors. General developer characteristics relating to experience in land development and firm organization and production were asked as well. The survey results indicated that the most important factor affecting the site location decision for residential developers in Polk County, Iowa was the availability of public sewer and water service. On the other hand, the least important factor was the rural character of the general area. Some relationships between developer characteristics and their location decision were also identified from this study. Study results indicated that public policy is a very important component for developers when deciding the location of a new residential development. Public policy has a strong influence to residential developers' location decision behavior, and planners or public officials would be able to manage the community's growth through public policies which showed strong importance in this survey. Suggestions to planners or public officials are discussed by using the results of this study.

Community and regional planning