San Mateo Infill Capacity Study


San Mateo County, California

Filling a critical gap in the planning and development field, HDR | Calthorpe has developed and pilot-tested a new methodology to analyze the infill and redevelopment capacity of urbanized land. This novel methodology, which uses GIS-based aerial analysis and rule-based parcel screening, builds upon and overcomes the deficiencies of previous efforts, which have been limited by their use of inaccurate and incomplete county assessor databases, and which have limited utility in predicting redevelopment or infill capacity over more than a very short time horizon.  

The HDR | Calthorpe methodology, which has been applied in the San Francisco Bay Area in highly urbanized San Mateo County, relies on a detailed, multi-layered study of the physical attributes of all parcels within a study area, with a focus on location, zoning, and the physical characteristics of a property or parcel. The analysis first looks at the maximum redevelopment potential to produce best-case or highest potential scenario for redevelopment, which can be used for initial planning and scenario development. Additional policy-based filters can be applied or tested in order to assess the potential under varying planning, policy, and economic conditions. Such an evaluation, combined with market-based analysis of housing demand by product type, produces a complete picture of the capacity of existing areas to accommodate new growth and fills a critical gap in local and regional planning efforts. 

The analysis of San Mateo County redevelopment potential has informed the development of county and regional scenarios in the Envision Bay Area planning process, as well as the development of the Bay Area’s state-mandated Sustainable Community Strategy (SCS). 

Project Summary



Regional and County Planning and Analysis


Estimate of infill and redevelopment capacity