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Land-use



 
 
  Growth boundaries   

One restriction gaining popularity as the ultimate in sprawl control is the growth boundary.  First implemented in Portland, Oregon, the growth boundary is a line drawn around a metropolitan area, beyond which no suburban uses are permitted (except that in Portland a  five acre zoning was "grandfathered" in a few places outside the growth boundary and is now used in those areas for what Portlanders call "McMansions").  The growth boundary does effectively contain sprawl and keep it from moving outward as it would normally do, however, within it, the outmigration and land consumption of un-utilized areas continues.

There are similarities between the growth boundary concept and municipal zoning.  Compared to the pinball effect of municipal zoning, the growth boundary is more like the bumper on a billiard table, bouncing land consumptive uses inward until they find some place within.  While the growth boundary does contain suburban sprawl, as with zoning it does little to slow or control the land consumptive uses within, and it does nothing to stop or reverse the continuing proliferation of automotive based suburbs.

Despite this, contrary to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports of dissention in Portland over the growth boundary, Portlanders are insistent that the growth boundary remain as is.  A few years ago,  the regional planning agency in the metro Portland area found itself faced with a burgeoning population that was growing faster than had been anticipated when the growth boundary was first drawn.  The agency proposed extending the boundary farther out in order to make way for more people as the area's population grows, and the matter was placed on the ballot.  Furious voters overwhelmingly defeated it. They wanted their growth boundary, and they wanted it to stay just the way it is!  It is now considered a settled issue among most Portlanders.

The Portland metropolitan area has chiefly relied upon the planning process and its instruments of zoning and design restrictions, upsetting some real estate speculators.  They are struggling against the same land consumptive pressures that plague the rest of the country and they have not succeeded in achieving much more than containment using the growth boundary.

Click here for a quick comparison between Pittsburgh and Portland, Oregon


 

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