Urban Growth Boundaries

The Three Sisters, snow-covered mountains in Central Oregon, are visible in the distance beyond a farm.

Draft Comprehensive Plan Published for Deschutes County, Oregon

Deschutes County is working on a new comprehensive plan that will chart land use for the Central Oregon county for the next 20 years.

September 13, 2023 - KTVZ

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

What Is Green Infrastructure?

Green infrastructure harnesses nature to the benefit of the built environment as well as human and animal life.

July 25, 2023 - James Brasuell


Op-Ed: Housing Solution Lies Within Urban Growth Boundary

Undoing Oregon’s urban growth boundaries won’t solve the state’s housing crisis, an opinion piece argues. Smart growth lies within existing cities.

December 5, 2022 - The Oregonian

Washington State

Snohomish County, Washington, Sets its Sights on Sprawl

Advocates say it’s unnecessary, but Snohomish County is preparing to expand its urban growth areas to allow for more low density residential development.

June 27, 2022 - The Urbanist

An aerial view of Mississauga, Ontario, with Lake Ontario in the background.

Nowhere to Build but Up

An old way of doing municipal business—generating development fees by opening farmland to development—is no longer paying dividends. Mississauga, Ontario serves as a cautionary tale for the bottom line of sprawl.

January 6, 2022 - The Globe and Mail

A street sign announcing the city of Vaughan.

Council Votes to Allow Development on the York Region's Greenbelt

The York Regional Council took a significant step toward allowing development on a large chunk of the area's greenbelt—a move opponents say will set a dangerous precedent.

November 7, 2021 - The Narwhal

Downtown Skyline

What Is Infill Development?

Billed as an alternative to urban sprawl, infill development encourages the development of underused or vacant land in existing urban areas to increase density and place new development near existing resources and infrastructure.

November 5, 2021 - Diana Ionescu

Ventura County

What Is an Urban Growth Boundary?

Some cities and regions limit the growth of sprawl by setting an urban growth boundary—a strict geographic limit on where real estate development can occur.

October 13, 2021 - James Brasuell

Washington State Capital

Housing and Land Use on Washington's Legislative Agenda

The Washington State legislature will consider a number of bills this session that would alter planning and development in a state grappling with population growth and rising housing costs.

February 4, 2021 - The Urbanist

Washington State

Evaluating the Washington Growth Management Act

The state law that set urban growth boundaries around the state is in its fourth decade as suburban sprawl expands urban growth boundaries around Washington.

February 4, 2020 - The Urbanist

King Neptune Statue

Saying 'No' to Development in Climate Risk Areas

Only a few places have managed to stem the tide of development in areas at risk to the effects (like wildfire and flooding) of climate change. Virginia Beach is an early test bed for what it takes to tell developers "no."

November 21, 2019 - The New York Times

Paradise, California

Poll: The Public Supports Development Limits in California's Wildfire Areas

An idea that is gaining support with the public as the state of California suffers through catastrophic fire season after catastrophic fire season is still a deeply difficult political proposition.

October 30, 2019 - Los Angeles Times

Orenco Station

What Made It Possible for Oregon to End Single-Family Zoning?

Factors beyond political chance played into Oregon's recent decision to legalize missing middle housing. One key point: the state was already halfway there.

July 14, 2019 - City Observatory


Saving Habitat: Just as Much for Humans as for Everything Else

Edward O. Wilson, famed for pressing for the conservation of half of the planet's land and oceans, recently turned 90 years old.

June 25, 2019 - National Geographic

Toronto from the CN Tower

Growth Plan Debate Heats Up in Toronto

The question of how and where to grow is causing controversy in Toronto. A recent op-ed picks a side.

February 27, 2019 - Toronto Sun

A History of State-Mandated Upzonings in the Pacific Northwest

Past examples of state and provincial governments preempting the land use authority of local governments present several lessons on how to do state-mandated upzoning effectively.

November 5, 2018 - Sightline Institute

Highway Expansion project

Miami-Dade Wants to Add 13 Miles to the Dolphin Expressway

The extended tollway would cut beyond the Urban Growth Boundary into the Everglades.

October 2, 2018 - Curbed Miami


Planning Director Susan Anderson Separates Fact from Fiction in Portland(ia)

Planetizen's "Planners Across America" series continues in the city that put many contemporary best planning practices on the map: Portland, Oregon.

September 26, 2017 - Josh Stephens

Brockworth in Gloucestershire

Op-Ed Pins Britain's Housing Crisis on its Green Belts

The green belts that hem in developed areas in Great Britain are set arbitrarily, according to this op-ed in The Guardian, and the boundaries have outlived their usefulness.

September 23, 2017 - The Guardian

Simi Valley

Urban Containment: Sometimes Bad, Sometimes Not So Much

Some commentators on urban containment treat the issue as all-or-nothing: either strict limits on suburban development are good public policy everywhere, or they are good public policy nowhere. Perhaps a more nuanced view is appropriate.

October 11, 2016 - Michael Lewyn

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Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.