Urban Growth Boundaries

One of the most important policy tools that city planners can use to promote smart growth and protect farms, ranches, and natural lands outside of the urban footprint is the urban growth boundary.

What Are Urban Growth Boundaries?

An urban growth boundary (UGB) separates urban areas from the surrounding natural and agricultural lands, or greenbelts. It puts a limit on how far out the city can expand. UGBs are often set for a specified period of time, such as 20 years. Different cities may call these barriers by different names, such as “urban limit lines” or simply “growth boundaries,” but they serve the same purpose of stopping sprawl development and encouraging sustainable growth practices.

Greenbelt Alliance led the fight to create the Bay Area’s first urban growth boundaries in 1996 and has been their champion ever since.

Here is a detailed article from the Sonoma Valley Sun chronicling the process of creating the City of Sonoma’s first urban growth boundary and the path forward for renewing these important policies. You can also read more from us about why the Bay Area needs urban growth boundaries.

Current Campaigns

Novato Next in Line to Renew Urban Growth Boundary

Recent Urban Growth Boundary Wins

We work with residents around the Bay Area to help them create, renew, and strengthen urban growth boundaries for their cities and towns. Below are three UGBs that were created or renewed in 2016.

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