Land Use and Urban Planning

This section highlights some of the most helpful resources about Land Use and Urban Planning issues in KCResearch on the topics listed below. Many of the resources also aim to answer some of the questions that you might have. This guide will help answer questions like:

  • What is light rail transportation? How would the introduction of light rail affect Kansas City?
  • What is tax increment financing (TIF)? Are TIFs contributing to regional urban sprawl?
  • What services does the housing department of Kansas City offer for economically disadvantaged people?

Central Business Districts

Quality of Life Plan Update 2009-2014: Downtown KcK Community

This report was produced by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) of Greater Kansas City’s Neighborhoods Now Program. The report provides an overview of planning priorities for the downtown Kansas City community for the years 2009 through 2014. Crime and safety, physical redevelopment, and economic development are addressed.

Downtown Kansas City Major Investment Map

Created by the downtown Kansas City Council in 2009, this map of downtown Kansas City illustrates major investment projects by use and location. The map lists the categories of investment—office, convention center and hotel, arts, culture and entertainment, religious, mixed-use, manufacturing, healthcare, and parking and transportation—as well as the amount of capital invested in each project.

Greater Downtown Kansas City Plan

Generated by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the plan for greater downtown is a document that details a collective vision for the future of the greater downtown area of Kansas City. The plan covers everything from housing to transportation to education and how to best execute the goals outlined in the plan. Appendices cover how the city plans to integrate green building initiatives and involve the community. Overall, it is an excellent document for citizens to see what the city has planned for future development and how they intend to accomplish goals as a city.

Highways and Streets

State Transportation Improvement Program: Fiscal Year 2010-2013

This report from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KSDOT) reviews the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. Included are statewide public transit projects, federal lands highway program projects, and street and highway projects to be administered by the Kansas Department of Transportation for the fiscal years 2010 through 2013.

Key Facts About Missouri’s Surface Transportation System and Federal Funding

This 2011 fact sheet was produced by The Road Information Project (TRIP), a Washington, DC based nonprofit organization promoting policies designed to improve traffic conditions. The fact sheet includes an evaluation of the physical condition of Missouri’s extensive system of roads, highways, and bridges as well as a discussion of potential funding opportunities available for its improvement.


Kansas City, Missouri’s Consolidated Plan 2007-2011

This resource from the Housing Authority of Kansas City (HAKC) is a five year plan for public housing in Kansas City, Missouri that was submitted to the Housing and Urban Development department of the federal government in order to continue to receive funding for public housing. The plan assesses community needs and outlines efforts for the future to satisfy the needs of the community, including sections about Community Development Block Grants, the Home investment Partnership, Housing Opportunities for persons with AIDS, and the Emergency Shelter Grant.

Residential Construction Trends in America’s Metropolitan Regions

This 2010 report released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explores trends in residential construction in core metropolitan areas, including Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. The report outlines the EPA’s study of residential building permits in metropolitan regions from 1990 to 2008. The purpose of this study was to clarify if there has been a shift toward redevelopment, and in which regions the shift has been most significant.

A City Without Slums: Urban renewal, Public Housing, and Downtown revitalization in Kansas City, Missouri

In this 2001 paper urban sociologist, Kevin Gotham, takes an academic look at how public housing has developed in Kansas City in the decades following World War II. By exploring issues of race and class, Gotham provides a critical analysis of how urban development has linked with public housing by examining the long-term effects of each.

Public Transportation

Clean Commute: Alternative Transportation Guide for the Greater Kansas City Area

Produced by Bridging The Gap’s Clean Commute Program, this 2008 report details public transit options in the Kansas City Area. Included in the report are schedules, fares, routes, and other information of assistance to residents using the area’s two major public modes of transit: The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (The Metro) and The Johnson County Transit (The JO).

Kansas City Light Rail Video Simulation

This video made by the Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA) simulates a hypothetical light rail route for Kansas City. The transit route in the video — from Vivion Road and North Oak Trafficway to Bruce R. Watkins Roadway and 63rd Street — was the proposed route on the November 2008 ballot that voters did not approve. It has been included to demonstrate one of the many light rail propositions that Kansas Citians have seen in the last 20 years.

SmartMoves: Regional Transit Vision

Drafted by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), this 2008 document updates the Smart Moves Regional Transit Vision, metropolitan Kansas City’s plan for expanded and enhanced regional transit service, which was originally conceived in 2002. The objectives of the Smart Moves update are multifold: to develop a service framework to help coordinate local and regional transit planning efforts currently underway; to provide an opportunity to expand upon newly developed local strategies and studies; and to evaluate the possibilities of light rail and other transit technologies.

Urban Sprawl

TIF, Greenfields, and Sprawl: How an Incentive Created to Alleviate Slums Has Come to Subsidize Upscale Malls and New Urbanist Developments

This 2008 article by Greg LeRoy was published in the American Planning Association’s journal, Planning & Environmental Law. In the article, LeRoy explains the unintended, negative effects of economic development incentives — including tax increment financing — that were originally created to combat sprawl away from urban centers

To Sprawl or Not To Sprawl: A National Perspective for Kansas City

Published in 1998, this lecture was originally presented by Dr. Robert H. Freilich, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law in 1997. The lecture was presented as part of Charles N. Kimball Lecture Series sponsored by the Western Historical Manuscript Collection of Kansas City. In his lecture, Dr. Freilich provides an analysis of urban sprawl and other urban planning issues.

Landscape Effects of Urban Sprawl: Spatial and Temporal Analyses Using Remote Sensing Images and Landscape Metrics

This 2008 article by Wei Ji, Ph.D.—of the University of Missouri at Kansas City’s Department of Geosciences—presents a study of the landscape effects of urban sprawl within the metropolitan Kansas City area. Dr. Ji used remotely sensed data and landscape metrics to identify long-term trends and subtle patterns of urban land changes over the past three decades, enabling a comparison and characterization of regional urban sprawl.