Growth model helps leaders plan

By Debbie Dalhouse

Coastal community leaders are facing unprecedented population growth from new residents moving to the state. A team from Clemson’s Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs has developed a growth projection model to help policy decision makers.

Leaders in the three-county Charleston area were shocked when the team, led by Jeff Allen, projected that urban land area could expand by more than tenfold. At the current rate, the Charleston urban “footprint” would grow from 70 square miles in 1973 to 868 square miles in 2030.

“Clemson’s Charleston region growth model captured, for the first time in a visual way, the rapid change that is happening along the coast in terms of population and urban growth,” says Rick DeVoe, executive director of the Sea Grant Consortium. “Decision makers can use these projections to plan for growth and adjust their policies.”

The growth model was expanded to include the entire eight-county coastal region with funding provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also is being applied to other regions of the state. 

For more information: Jeff Allen, 864-656-0228, or