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Beyond growth management A review of the wider functions and effects of urban growth management policies

04 Aug 2023

Beyond growth management: A review of the wider functions and effects ofurban growth management policies

Matthew G Kirby a,*, Alister J Scott a, Jason Luger a, Claire L Walsh ba Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UKb School of Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Urban growth management policies (UGMPs), which include green belts and urban growth boundaries seek to prevent urban sprawl in neighbouring peri-urban and rural landscapes. However, the wider social, environmental,and economic impacts these policies have on the landscapes they govern is unclear and contested. Thispaper undertakes a structured review of academic literature in Scopus investigating these wider UGMPs functions,impacts and effects beyond urban sprawl. A systematic key word search and a two-stage sieving process ofthe global literature identified 115 relevant academic publications across disciplines. This review found a diverserange of social and environmental functions of UGMPs zones, including as ecological corridors, sinks for climateregulation and recreational landscapes. Mixed methods and interdisciplinary studies are lacking, but multipleecosystem services provided by UGMP zones were found in limited examples. However, cultural ecosystemservices were rarely assessed alongside regulating and provisioning services and multiple ecosystem serviceshave not been explicitly studied in US and English UGMP zones. Conversely, UGMPs are shown to have complexeconomic effects on land and housing markets, as well as creating contentious spaces. Currently, these findingsare largely location based, making it hard to distinguish between site-specific and cross-cutting effects andfunctions, presenting a potential challenge for policy makers. To better understand the value of these zones tosociety and unlock their potential as multifunctional opportunity spaces in addressing climate, biodiversity andhealth challenges, more holistic and interdisciplinary research is needed into UGMP zones.


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