Published In

Landscape and Urban Planning

Document Type


Publication Date



Urban land use, Metropolitan areas -- Oregon -- Portland, Metropolitan areas -- Washington -- Vancouver, Cities and towns -- Growth


We examine land use planning outcomes over a 30-year period in the Portland, OR-Vancouver, WA (USA) metropolitan area. The four-county study region enables comparisons between three Oregon counties subject to Oregon’s 1973 Land Use Act (Senate Bill 100) and Clark County, WA which implemented land use planning under Washington’s 1990 Growth Management Act. We describe county-level historical land uses from the mid-1970s to the mid-2000s, including low-density residential and urban development, both outside and inside of current urban growth boundaries. We use difference-in-differences models to test whether differences in the proportions of developed land resulting from implementation of urban growth boundaries are statistically significant and whether they vary between Oregon and Washington. Our results suggest that land use planning and urban growth boundaries now mandated both in Oregon and Washington portions of the study area have had a measurable and statistically significant effect in containing development and conserving forest and agricultural lands in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. Our results also suggest, however, that these effects differ across the four study-area counties, likely owing in part to differences in counties’ initial levels of development, distinctly different land use planning histories, and how restrictive their urban growth boundaries were drawn.


To the best of our knowledge, one or more authors of this paper were federal employees when contributing to this work. This is the publisher’s final pdf. The published article is copyrighted by Elsevier and can be found at:



Persistent Identifier