Urban growth boundary

Urban growth boundary

"'Unreferenced|date=August 2006

An urban growth boundary, or UGB, is a regional boundary, set in an attempt to control urban sprawl by allowing the area inside the boundary for higher density urban development and the area outside for lower density development.

An urban growth boundary circumscribes an entire urbanized area and is used by local governments as a guide to zoning and land use decisions. If the area affected by the boundary includes multiple jurisdictions a special urban planning agency may be created by the state or regional government to manage the boundary. In a rural context, the terms town boundary, village curtilage or village envelope may be used to apply the same constraining principles. Some jurisdictions refer to the area within an urban growth boundary as an urban growth area, or UGA. While the names are different, the concept is the same. Another term used is urban service area.

UGBs and housing prices

Urban growth boundaries have come under an increasing amount of scrutiny in the past 10 years as housing prices have substantially risen, especially on the West Coast of the USA. [http://www.philadelphiafed.org/files/br/br_q4-2006-2_boom_bubble.pdf] By limiting the supply of developable land, critics argue, UGBs increase demand and therefore the price of existing developable and already-developed land. As a result, they theorize, housing on that land becomes more expensive. In Portland, Oregon, for example, the housing boom of the past four years drove the growth-management authority to substantially increase the UGB in 2004. While some point to affordability for this action, in reality it was in response to Oregon State law [http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/197.html] . By law, Metro, the regional government, is required to maintain a 20-year supply of land within the boundary. Even with the addition of several thousand acres housing prices continued to rise at record-matching paces. Supporters of UGBs point out that Portland's housing market is still more affordable than other West Coast cities, and housing prices have increased across the country.

Places with urban growth boundaries

United States

The U.S. states of Oregon, Washington and Tennessee require cities to establish urban growth boundaries. California requires each county to have a Local Agency Formation Commission, which sets urban growth boundaries for each city and town in the county. However, in states such as Tennessee the boundaries are not used to control growth but rather to define long-term city boundaries. States such as Texas use the delineation of Extra Territorial Jurisdictional boundaries to map out future city growth with the idea of minimizing competitive annexations rather than controlling growth. Notable US cities which have adopted UGBs include Portland, Oregon; Boulder, Colorado; Twin Cities, Minnesota; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Lexington, Kentucky; and in Miami-Dade county.


In Canada, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa (the "Greenbelt") and Waterloo, Ontario have boundaries to restrict growth and preserve greenspace. They are notably absent from cities such Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg that lie on flat plains and have expanded perputually outward onto rich agricultural land.

United Kingdom

Controls to constrain the area of urban development existed in London as early as the 16th century. In the middle of the 20th century the countryside abutting the London conurbation along with other urban areas in the UK was protected by the Green Belt.


Melbourne has recently introduced legislated growth boundaries as part of the Melbourne 2030 metropolitan strategy to limit urban sprawl and protect the intervening open spaces, known as 'green wedges'.

South Africa

An Integrated Development Plan is required in terms of Chapter 5 of the national Municipal Systems Act No 32 of 2000 for all local authorities in South Africa. This plan would as one of it components include a Spatial Development Framework plan which would normally, certainly for the larger metropolitan areas, indicate an Urban Edge beyond which urban type development would be severely limited or restricted. The concept was introduced in the 1970s by the Natal Town and Regional Planning Commission of the Province of Natal (now known as KwaZulu-Natal) in the regional guide plans for Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The concept was at that stage termed an Urban Fence.

Ref. Metropolitan Durban - Draft Guide Plan, Natal Town and Regional Planning Reports Volume 28, 1974.


External links

* [http://www.metro-region.org/article.cfm?articleID=277 Metro: Urban growth boundary] : information on the Portland, Oregon-area boundary
* [http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/history.shtml Chronology of land use legislation] in Oregon, 1969 - present

See also

*Green belt
*Land use planning
*Community separator
*Urban rural fringe
*Open space
*Urban sprawl
*Prime farmland


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Urban sprawl — Urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is the spreading of a city and its suburbs over rural land at the fringe of an urban area. [http://www.sprawlcity.org/hbis/wis.html What is Sprawl?] . SprawlCity.org . Retrieved on 2008 02 07.]… …   Wikipedia

  • Urban consolidation — refers to a diverse set of planning policies intended to make better use of existing urban infrastructure by encouraging development within existing urbanised areas (so called brownfield sites ) rather than on non urbanised land (aka greenfield… …   Wikipedia

  • Urban Enterprise Zone — Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZs) also known as Enterprise Zones encourage development in blighted neighborhoods by offering entrepreneurs and investors tax and regulatory relief if they start businesses in the area. In other countries, a region that …   Wikipedia

  • boundary ecosystem — ▪ biology Introduction       complex of living organisms in areas where one body of water meets another, e.g., estuaries and lagoons, or where a body of water meets the land, e.g., marshes. The latter are often called wetlands.       Boundary… …   Universalium

  • List of old growth forests — This is a list of existing old growth ( virgin ) forests, or remnants of forest. (NB: The terms old growth and virgin may have various definitions and meanings throughout the world. See old growth forest for more information.)EurasiaBelarus*… …   Wikipedia

  • UGB — Urban Growth Boundary (Community) * Upper Geyser Basin (Academic & Science » Geology) * University of Georgia Bulldogs (Academic & Science » Universities) * U Gotta Be .... (Computing » SMS) * U Gotta Be .... (Internet » Chat) * Ugashik Bay,… …   Abbreviations dictionary

  • Portland, Oregon — Portland   City   City of Portland Portland s skyline from the west, with Mount Hood on the left …   Wikipedia

  • Mike Burton (politician) — Michael (Mike) Burton (born August 1941 in Alhambra, California) was Executive Officer of Metro, a regional government in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, from 1995 2003. He was a member of the original Metro Council (elected in 1978) and… …   Wikipedia

  • Melbourne — This article is about the Australian metropolis. The name may also refer to the Melbourne City Centre (also known as the Central Business District or CBD ) or the City of Melbourne (the Local Government Area within which the Melbourne City Centre …   Wikipedia

  • History of Melbourne — History of Australia This article is part of a series Chronological …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.