Bluegrass Tomorrow releases report on nation's oldest Urban Service Boundary
One of the central principles of growing smarter is the containment of urban development in order to prevent sprawl and to provide logical and cost efficient services to urban areas. Advocates of smart growth point to urban service boundaries as key tools in achieving these goals. Unfortunately, many opponents of smart growth have undertaken a crusade against them. Many of these opponents continually refer to Portland, Oregon's urban boundary as the epitome of freedom-limiting, cost-increasing, choice-reducing planning. Yet urban growth boundaries are viable planning tools for growing communities. It is time to look to another, older, and more successful model of an urban boundary.
Lexington, Kentucky is home to the nation's first urban service boundary. The boundary was created in 1958 in order to provide for efficient planning of urban infrastructure to a rapidly growing community. The secondary goal of the boundary was to promote the preservation of the world famous Bluegrass Thoroughbred landscapes. As the boundary nears its 45th birthday, the history of this innovative planning tool offers many lessons for other communities.
For example, what impacts on housing affordability has the boundary had?
How much land has been preserved? What effect has the boundary had on the central city? How have other regional communities reacted to Lexington's boundary? How has the boundary helped guide infrastructure decisions? What have been the political consequences?
A new commentary by Bluegrass Tomorrow, Kentucky's oldest and most influential regional planning organization, explores these issues and others
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Posted March 1, 2002
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