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Low-Density Urbanization and Critical Habitats. Steven Guerry UP206a Winter 2011. Objective. Highlight specific urbanized areas within Southern California where projected low-density growth is most likely to threaten critical habitats. Metrics.

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Highlight specific urbanized areas within Southern California where projected low-density growth is most likely to threaten critical habitats.

  • Urbanization and Growth (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Areas categorized as “urbanized” in 2000
  • Population Density in 2000
  • Projected Total Population Growth for 2010 and 2015
  • Low-Density (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Percentage of housing composed of detached single-unit structures
  • Critical Habitats (U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife)
  • Areas the Endangered Species Act deems “(I) essential to the conservation of the species and (II) which may require special management considerations or protection” for species classified as “Endangered” or “Threatened”.
aggregate 1
Aggregate #1


  • Total Population of Census Tract multiplied by percentage of housing categorized as “occupied structure with 1 unit detached”
aggregate 2 growth 2010 2015
Aggregate #2: Growth 2010 - 2015

Projecting Low-density Growth

  • Based on Census estimates for 2010 and 2015
  • Total Population Increase multiplied by percentage increase of “occupied structure with 1 unit detached”
  • Exclusion: Census tracts that underwent (a) negative population growth AND (b) percentage of low-density housing decreased
greatest future threats to critical habitats
Greatest Future Threats to Critical Habitats


  • within 1-mile buffer of Critical Habitats
  • Located on land designated as urbanized by the 2000 census
  • Located within the top two quantiles as determined by Aggregate #2 (Total Population Growth multiplied by percentage growth of low-density housing)
  • Inset
  • Aggregating attribute fields
  • Attribute sub-selections
    • Urban areas map was created by selecting areas classified as “urban” (U) from a map featuring both urban and rural areas.
  • Boundary sub-set selections
    • Urban areas map further trimmed to only include urbanization within five miles of critical habitats.
  • Buffering
  • Geoprocessing
    • Dissolved all Census Tracts in CA into a 10-county “Southern California” region
    • Upper two quantiles from aggregate #2 clipped by urban areas
potential themes for future analysis within threatened areas
Potential Themes for Future Analysis Within Threatened Areas
  • Zoning
  • Average household income
  • Commuting distance to work and number of residents who work in surrounding area
  • Land Value
  • Resource consumption (energy and water)