The Case For Statewide Planning

The success of Oregon's communities in stopping sprawl and preserving farmland demonstrate that its model of statewide and regional planning is worth replicating.

"In 1972, prompted by rapid immigration from California and other states, Oregon enacted one of the most comprehensive state wide planning laws in the country in an effort to curb sprawl."

"Though Oregon's population has grown by more than a million and a half people (more than the entire population of Montana) since the early 1970s, the state's sprawl has remained under reasonable control," as well as protected agricultural land and farmers.

"Not only does Oregon's state wide zoning keep farmland affordable, but it has not contributed to a significant rise in housing cost, in part, because the urban boundary is periodically adjusted to permit additional growth as needed. Though critics suggest that Oregon's strict zoning laws has lead to increased property costs, a comparison of housing prices in Oregon with comparatively located communities suggests otherwise. Eugene, where I used to live still has more affordable housing than say Missoula, Bozeman,Santa Fe, Boise, and many other growing communities with little or lax land use laws. And though Portland's housing prices have risen substantially, it is still the least expensive West Coast city to buy a home. Compared to Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, or LA, Portland's homes are relatively affordable. This is not surprising since lot price-the only thing affected by land use restrictions-- accounts for only 14 percent of the cost of a Portland home."

Full Story: The Oregon Example: Statewide Planning Works


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Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.