Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Urban and Public Affairs

Committee Chair

Savitch, Harold V.

Author's Keywords

Sprawl; Equine landscapes; Growth management; Growth machine theory; Urban growth boundaries; Lexington; KY


Land use--Government policy; Land use--Planning; Cities and towns--Growth--Political aspects; Horse industry--Government policy


This dissertation is a comparative analysis of the effectiveness of land development growth management programs at two communities that are thoroughbred horse centers - Ocala/Marion County, Florida and Lexington/Fayette County, Kentucky. The study period was 1970 to 2010. Marion County has had a state-mandated growth management program in place since 1985 and Fayette County has had an urban growth boundary since 1957. The agricultural use of the thoroughbred horse industry was selected because it is known to be highly sensitive to sprawl-type development and the long-term economic strength of each location is dependent upon a strong thoroughbred industry as it contributes more than $3 billion dollars a year to Florida and has a $2.4 billion economic impact on Fayette County, Kentucky. The study evaluated the spatial extent of population growth using the US Census of Population. Using GIS, sprawl was quantified in several ways: through density gradients' regression analysis, and through measurement of the linear miles of built streets per square mile in each county. Fayette County was found to have sprawled less during the study period. The next step involved investigation into the political culture to ascertain why stricter growth controls were implemented in one locale and not the other. Political culture, defined as the attitudes, values, beliefs, and orientations that individuals within a society hold regarding their political system. Following Ingelhart (1990), political culture is operationalized through analysis of educational attainment and income levels. The role of the growth machine (Molotch, 1976) was also explored. In Florida, growth machine elites included developers and retirees, largely due to the economic model of retirement/second home development and tourism that has grown the Florida economy since the 1960s. Through participant-observer analysis, it is determined that the growth machine in Lexington seems to be the thoroughbred industry, which maximizes its interests through controlling the incursion of incompatible land uses onto the thoroughbred farms. Therefore, the growth machine may not always be interested in more development. In this case study, it is demonstrated that the growth machine is anti-development, in order to maximize its own profits.