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Urban Containment in the United States (PAS 520)

History, Models, and Techniques for Regional and Metropolitan Growth Management

By Arthur C. Nelson, Casey J. Dawkins

Urban containment is a framework communities and regions can use to manage growth. This report reviews the techniques of urban containment and evaluates existing urban containment plans.

Published by APA Planning Advisory Service , 2004

Format: Paperback , 130 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-884829-94-9

Quick order code: P520

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Urban containment is most simply expressed as a line on a map separating urban and rural uses. The line may be locally identified as an urban growth boundary, urban service limit, or priority growth area. But the significance of the line resides in the mechanisms implemented to make containment work-from innovative zoning programs to infill and redevelopment, open space conversation, and infrastructure phasing.

This report explores urban containment as a framework that regions and communities can use for managing growth. Growth management techniques can be time-related (such as phasing development through infrastructure management), place-related (such as defining the qualities of specific areas), and function-related (such as relating uses and ensuring housing affordability.) When urban containment is the framework underlying growth management, it provides growth management with a rationale for phased development, steers the direction and form of development, and identifies central places within the urban fabric.

This report reviews the history and central characteristics of urban containment, discusses the authors' evaluation of more than 100 urban containment plans, and presents their four-framework typology. It also offers case studies of each of the four frameworks and summarizes the implications for planners. Includes appendices, as well as a compilation of principal techniques for growth management and the elements of urban containment frameworks.

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