Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)


City and Regional Planning

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Caitlin Dyckman

Committee Member

Dr. John Gaber

Committee Member

Dr. Dustin Read


Municipal annexation is a powerful tool for improving communities. United States cities historically use municipal annexation to increase tax revenues, grow populations, and increase land areas. However, attitudes about annexation are changing, and there is emerging interest in broadening annexation practices to advance a broader range of social and environmental benefits. For example, annexation can be used to improve blighted areas, control overdevelopment, protect environmentally sensitive areas and open spaces, and improve the lives of residents. It is not clear if cities support using annexation in this way, and if so, when those uses are possible.

Despite restrictive laws and regulatory hurdles, South Carolina municipalities actively annex new land into their cities. Using a South Carolina policymakers survey, case studies of four South Carolina cities, and quantitative mixed-method triangulated research, this thesis explores South Carolina municipalities’ willingness to use annexation for societal and environmental good.

This research confirms that cities can use annexation beyond traditional reasons of revenue, population, and land area growth. Cities can use annexation for social and environmental justifications to improve communities and the lives of those who live there. However, as with many public policy questions, cities must balance the public benefit of the annexation with the cost of implementation and service. This thesis identifies issues with annexation and makes recommendations for implementation and future research.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.