Stanford University
Critical Habitat
Bay Area Conservation and Development

This study examines larger, regional land-use questions that affect the Bay Area and the increasingly suburbanized Central Valley, using a local case study of land conservation and urban development in Silicon Valley from World War II to the present.

This project will use GIS to create a counterfactual map, using a regression-based simulation model to examine a "what if" proposition-- what would have happened to currently preserved lands in the Silicon Valley had they been developed. Our hypothesis is that development in these preserved acres would have occurred slowly and at a low density, if at all. This contradicts the widely asserted proposition that conservation contributed to a scarcity of housing in the Silicon Valley and contributed to the explosion of growth in the Central Valley. More broadly, this research documents the importance of understanding and continuing to use a variety of conservation strategies to create a livable metropolitan landscape in conjunction with infill development and sustainable transportation policies.

Please see our publication:

"Bay Area Conservation and Development" by Carrie Denning and Jon Christensen.
Spatial History