Daily Archives: March 9, 2016

Common Deceptions About Growth Boundaries

Portland State University planning professor Ethan Seltzer thinks it’s a “misconception” that urban-growth boundaries make housing more expensive. “This claim has been addressed and dismissed since Gov. Vic Atiyeh’s administration,” he claims, though without offering any actual evidence.

“By law,” he continues, “there must be enough land in the UGB to meet needs for residential development for the next 20 years.” The law says it, so it must be true. Never mind that Metro decided not to add any land to the growth boundary last year even though Portland was in the midst of a housing crisis.

Planners such as Seltzer may have convinced themselves that they are immune to the laws of supply and demand, but economists disagree. The end of this post lists more than half a dozen economic papers that conclude that growth management and land-use regulation explain most if not all the differences in housing affordability among cities.

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