Date of Award


Document Type

Terminal Project

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)


City Planning & Real Estate Development

Committee Member

Dr. Caitlin Dyckman, Committee Chair

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 r evenues, 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 cle ar if citie s support using annexation in this way, and if so, whe n those uses are possible. Despite restrictive laws and r egulatory hurdles, South Carolina municipalities actively annex new land into thei r cities. Using a South Carolina policymakers survey, case studies of four South Carolina citie s and quantitative mixed-method triangulated research, this thesis explores South Carolina municipalities’ willingness to use annexation for societal and en vironmental good. This rese arch confirms that citie s can use annexation beyond traditional reasons of revenue, population, and land area growth. Citie s can use annexation for social and environmental justifications to improve communities and the lives of those who live there. However, as wi th many public policy questions, citie s must balance the public benefit of the annexation wi th the cost of implementation and service. This thesis identifies issues wi th annexation and makes recommendations for implementation and future research.