Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary and Lessons for Shanghai and Suzhou-Wuxi-Changzhou Urban Agglomeration, China
University of Washington Abstract Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary and Lessons for Shanghai and Suzhou-Wuxi-Changzhou Urban Agglomeration, China Ziqin Pu Chair of the Supervisory Committee: Professor C.-H. Christine Bae Department of Urban Design and Planning It is well known that China is undergoing a rapid urbanization, and the excessive urban expansion is encroaching on its arable land and threatening the food security. In 2014, the Chinese government required 14 pilot cities to draw urban growth boundaries (UGBs) to control urban sprawl and preserve farmland. In contrast to the new containment strategy for China, more than 100 cities and counties have adopted some form of UGBs in the United States to manage their urban growth. This thesis studies the Portland region’s UGB, one of the most famous and successful examples of a UGB in the United States, to provide lessons for China in implementing its UGBs. This research chooses the Shanghai and Suzhou-Wuxi-Changzhou (SWC) urban agglomeration as the study area to specifically discuss how Chinese cities and regions can learn from Portland. After forty years of implementation, Portland’s UGB has been proven to be an effective tool for managing urban growth and preserving farmland. Lessons learned from the review of Portland’s experience that are applicable to the study area in China, include: 1) UGBs should be a regional program that serves an entire metropolitan area, not just a single city; 2) UGBs do not work in isolation, but it require the support of other related containment policies; and 3) UGBs are more than simple boundaries they also play a role in shaping growth patterns. This thesis qualitatively and quantitatively analyzes urban expansion and farmland loss in Shanghai and SWC region. Based on the causes of urban sprawl and institutional characteristics of this region combined with lessons learned from Portland, this thesis develops several recommendations for the implementation of UGBs in the study area, including: 1) the need for regional cooperation in the area to manage provincial urban growth; 2) a full-coverage and multi-level UGB system should be established to serve this area; and 3) UGBs as new planning tools should be consistent with Chinese existing planning system. It is worth cautioning that powerful and practical regional planning for the region will not be possible if real cooperation among the region’s cites cannot be achieved.
- Urban planning