Cities and counties are charged with the responsibility of developing not only communities in which people live and work, but also with protecting the health of the surrounding natural environment and agricultural lands.
To achieve balance between these core values, advocacy groups and government agencies alike have taken interest in understanding the available supply of land and the capacity for planned growth in their regions.
As California's population continues to grow, portions of the state are undergoing the process of urbanization. Although it might appear simple to determine what land is urban and what is not, different interpretations of "urban" can complicate discussions of farmland preservation, development patterns, placement of infrastructure and other issues.
Although there are many tactics used to control growth, ultimately, there is only one measure of importance in protecting farmland: efficient urban land use. In examining four communities in the Central Valley, we found large disparities in land use efficiency.