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Scott Beyer

Scott Beyer

October 19, 2020

Growth Boundaries: Counterproductive, Expensive, and Anti-Urban

In June, I wrote for Catalyst about the high cost of regulatory limits to urban density. Because the regulations block an economically-productive form of development, I called them “America’s biggest domestic policy failure.” But if housing affordability is a concern, urbanists might be just as interested in limits to what’s pejoratively called “sprawl,” or growth.

Sprawl limits are referred to as “growth management”, and come through various laws—conservation easements; local, state or federal parkland preserves; large-lot zoning; and best known of all, Urban Growth Boundaries (UGBs).

UGBs are invisible lines that are drawn around certain metros, and represent where urbanized development must stop.

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