Assessing growth management policy implementation: Case study of the United States' leading growth management state

Arthur C. Nelson, Terry Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Many states in the United States attempt to manage urban growth so that development is directed to urban areas equipped to accommodate development and rural lands are preserved for resource and other non-urban uses. Oregon is entering its third decade of what many commentators describe as the nation's most aggressive urban growth management program administered statewide. This article reports a recent evaluation of the effectiveness of state urban growth management policies as they are implemented in four urban areas. The study is the first of its kind to assess development patterns associated with administration of statewide growth management policies by local governments. Using primary data collection and analysis, effectiveness of urban growth management and resource land preservation efforts is found to be mixed. In some situations, administration does not appear to be effectively directing development into urban growth boundaries and away from resource lands. In other situations, administration appears to be quite effective. Problems with administration are found in all situations. This article offers two generalizable outcomes. The first is a methodology for assessing the effectiveness of any given urban growth management program to effect desired development patterns. The second is a specific set of policy lessons learned by Oregon in its effort to create definable, compact urban centers and preserve resource land for non-urban uses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-259
Number of pages19
JournalLand Use Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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