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Publication Title

Environmental Management


Springer Verlag

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Berlin, Germany

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Abstract/ Summary

During the post-World War II era, the Mojave Desert Region of San Bernardino County, California, has experienced rapid levels of population growth. Over the past several decades, growth has accelerated, accompanied by significant shifts in ethnic composition, most notably from predominantly White non-Hispanic to Hispanic. This study explores the impacts of changing ethnicity on future development and the loss of open space by modeling ethnic propensities regarding family size and settlement preferences reflected by U.S. Census Bureau data. Demographic trends and land conversion data were obtained for seven Mojave Desert communities for the period between 1990 and 2001. Using a spatially explicit, logistic regression-based urban growth model, these data and trends were used to project community-specific future growth patterns from 2000 to 2020 under three future settlement scenarios: (1) an "historic" scenario reported in earlier research that uses a Mojave-wide average settlement density of 3.76 persons/ha; (2) an "existing" scenario based on community-specific settlement densities as of 2001; and (3) a "demographic futures" scenario based on community-specific settlement densities that explicitly model the Region's changing ethnicity. Results found that under the demographic futures scenario, by 2020 roughly 53% of within-community open space would remain, under the existing scenario only 40% would remain, and under the historic scenario model the communities would have what amounts to a deficit of open space. Differences in the loss of open space across the scenarios demonstrate the importance of considering demographic trends that are reflective of the residential needs and preferences of projected future populations.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Gomben, P.C., Lilieholm, R.J., & Gonzalez-Guillen, M.J. 2012. Impact of Demographic Trends on Future Development Patterns and the Loss of Open Space in the California Mojave Desert. Environmental Management 49(2):305-324.

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© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC




post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing with all author corrections and edits)



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In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.