First Advisor

Lisa K. Bates

Date of Publication

Summer 9-9-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Industrial sites -- Law and legislation, Protected areas -- Government policy, Zoning, Industrial sites -- Political aspects, Urban land use



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 136 pages)


In the face of growing economic inequality and population growth, several large cities in the US have started to proactively protect vital industrial lands from conversion to non-industrial uses. These new policies signal a potentially dramatic shift in both land-use and economic development practices.

In the first essay of this dissertation I present a typology of existing industrial land protective policies after reviewing the comprehensive plans and zoning codes of the United States' fifty largest cities. I identify 11 cities with protective policies and highlight the variance of these policies by offering a simple two part typology based upon a city's use of increased usage restrictions or greater process requirements for conversion of protected parcels.

The second essay presents results of a survey I administered to planners exploring the varied ways that planners understand the pressures facing industrial land in their cities and the political contexts they operate within regarding industrial land policy in their respective cities. I find that planners are generally supportive of industrial land protective policies but are ambivalent about the long term viability of industrial labor in cities and face political pressure to convert industrial land to non-industrial uses.

The final essay presents an evaluation of protective land policies. I estimate a propensity score model measuring the change in manufacturing and broader "industrial" employment a the census tract level between 2009 and 2015 using LEHD LODES workplace association data. I estimate the propensity score model using a gradient boosted model and ultimately find a null effect of protective policies on manufacturing and "industrial" job growth.


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Persistent Identifier

Included in

Urban Studies Commons