Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

Document Type



This study explores the factors associated with the implementation of land use planning policies and tools among the parishes (counties) of Louisiana. There is an absence of statutory standards, strict guidelines, and other external drivers for planning in Louisiana and the extent to which local governments regulate land use varies widely among local jurisdictions. The purpose of this study is to provide an empirical model of intrinsic factors that might explain why some parishes have decided to intervene in land use by adopting a high number of planning policies and tools, and why others have failed to adopt few, if any. A planning score derived from the number of land use planning policies and tools that have been formally adopted is tested against variables for socio-economic, environmental pressure, and government administration conditions using an Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Multivariate Analysis. The empirical evidence indicates that the adoption of planning policies and tools is least associated with non-metropolitan parishes with police jury forms of government. Results also indicate that high median housing value is the factor most associated with a high planning score even after accounting for metro areas, where land values are proportionately higher. There is also a strong positive association between the planning score and the amount of surface water within a jurisdiction. These findings, and the fact that no relationship between planning and population, growth, or education was found, advances the theory that the impetus for planning at the local level in Louisiana is based on the protection of property and property values rather than growth. This theory suggests that a focus on floodplain protection and mitigation, water resource conservation and preservation, and water-dependent recreation and tourism could be the best method for encouraging planning policy adoption by local governments.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Michael W. Wascom