chapter  1
Land Development and Metropolitan Reform
Pages 32

Development of land is the most obvious manifestation of the forces of metropolitanism. The impact of land development on important metropolitan functions has for many years been a major stimulus of initiatives for metro­politan reforms. The unsightliness and inefficiency of suburban sprawl, the poorly distributed burdens of rapid population growth concentrated in juris­dictions with inadequate fiscal resources, and the growing disparities in fi­nancial capacities among neighboring jurisdictions resulting from concentration of property values have provided major justifications for proposals for metro­politan governmental reforms. But metropolitan reforms aimed at supplying the infrastructure to serve development-port authorities, water and sewer districts, parks authorities and transportation agencies-not only serve devel­opment; they generate it as well, and not always deliberately. More recently the metropolitan reform movement has sought to influence the pattern and type of land development through planning or coordinative organizations. But strong political resistance to introducing general-purpose metropolitan government has reduced the movement to relying upon such politically in­offensive organizations as metropolitan planning commissions and voluntary councils of local governments to deal with the powerful political and eco­nomic forces at work in metropolitan land development.Other kinds of policy reforms have also sought to influence patterns of land development in metropolitan areas: redistributing interjurisdictional revenue can have a major impact, making possible more rational location *Chairman, Montgomery County Planning Board; Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.