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Abstract

The potential effectiveness and citizen acceptance of emerging regional and state land use planning programs in New England is examined. To be successful, these programs must find acceptance within a system of historically home-rule, town-based land use governance. This article investigates the interplay between regionalism and parochialism, discusses emerging strategies, and reports on a telephone survey of over three hundred Cape Cod residents that examined local opinion regarding the proposed creation of a regional land use regulatory commission. These citizens were queried about the perceived consequences of greater-than-local land use planning. Although local parochialism was found to be a strongly held attitude, regionalism support was substantial (76 percent in favor), because two perceptions overshadowed local biases — awareness of the regional impact of development and perceived utility of regional land use management. The negative image of a regional government preempting local control was largely overshadowed by the anticipated tangible benefits of regionalism. The transferability of Cape Cod regionalism to other New England areas is discussed.

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