Custodians of Place provides a new theoretical framework that accounts for how different types of cities arrive at decisions about residential growth and economic development. Lewis and Neiman surveyed officials in hundreds of California cities of all sizes and socioeconomic characteristics to account for differences in local development policies. This book shows city governments at the center of the action in shaping their destinies, frequently acting as far-sighted trustees of their communities.
They explain how city governments often can insulate themselves for the better from short-term political pressures and craft policy that builds on past growth experiences and future vision. Findings also include how conditions on the ground—local commute times, housing affordability, composition of the local labor force—play an important role in determining the approach a city takes toward growth and land use. What types of cities tend to aggressively pursue industrial or retail firms? What types of cities tend to favor housing over business development? What motivates cities to try to slow residential growth? Custodians of Place answers these and many other questions.