Urban growth boundaries are held up as one of the most effective tools for limiting sprawl. But do they actually work to constrain unplanned development? Three urban growth boundaries — in Portland, Oregon; King County, Washington; and Denver, Colorado — were examined in a session at the American Planning Association (APA) conference in Seattle. A few interesting points came out of the discussion: growth boundaries are flexible and constantly being renegotiated. When they succeed, it’s because there is widespread political support for limiting growth and directing it to urban centers. Redevelopment and infill development in the cores relieve pressure on the outer boundaries, and offering incentives to those outside the boundary to limit development can work.
Portland’s Bipartisan Boundary Holds
Ted Reid, a planner with Portland city government, explained how Oregon became the first state to adopt urban growth…
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