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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Growth management and regional planning in British Columbia : five years after, a comparative analysis Young, Andrew Edgar.


Many regions in the US and Canada have experienced significant growth and development in recent decades. Much of this has taken the form of unrelieved urban and suburban sprawl that has used enormous amounts of land, compromised environmentally sensitive areas, provided few lasting cultural and social benefits, and delivered questionable long-term economic benefits. In response, several senior and regional governments have undertaken growth managementprograms. The general objective of growth management is to control and direct growth and development to avoid, reduce and mitigate negative impacts arising from large scale growth and development in urban areas, and promote the creation of more attractive, efficient and sustainable cities and regions. The thesis argues that the stronger the degree of senior government control - Federal, Provincial or State - over decisions by regional governments the more likely a comprehensive growth management program exists that: includes clearly defined goals; possesses institutional mechanisms to institute growth management; and, utilizes the powers of senior government to help direct and manage growth. The thesis pursues the argument through a literature review and a comparative analysis of selected growth management programs. Analysis of selected cases in British Columbia finds that the Provincial government's growth management legislation and program have been applied in its large, highly urbanized and/or rapidly growing regional districts. However, it is found that the legislation has limited or no applicability to regions experiencing slow growth or decline. A new Provincial planning model, flexible enough to address the needs of all regional districts in British Columbia, is recommended. Based on the concept of a growth and development continuum, an incremental and graduated planning model would give them the opportunity to choose appropriate planning tools, thereby providing the large, highly urbanized and/or rapidly growing regional districts and their local governments with the tools they need to manage growth and change, and slow growing regions and those in decline with the regulatory tools, financial and political support needed to encourage new growth and development. The thesis findings provide guidance to senior and regional governments in British Columbia, Canada and the US to enable them to improve their respective growth management legislation and programs.

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