Urban Containment Boundary




Putting a Boundary on Growth

An Urban Containment Boundary sets aside land to be protected from most forms of development. Usually an UCB will delineate the edge of town and the beginning of rural areas.

Urban Containment Boundaries help local governments meet a number of planning goals that cross-cut with climate action, such as:

  • improving the viability of transit by concentrating development;
  • encouraging mixed-use development closer to homes and jobs, helping cut the number of car trips
  • maximizing the use of existing infrastructure and minimizing new infrastructure costs;
  • revitalizing downtowns and town centres;
  • maintaining a working land base (agricultural, rural, forested, and other resource lands) and the green infrastructure; and
  • protecting the environment.

On top of the climate-friendly results of UCBs, another benefit is in providing a degree of certainty to both developers and residents as to the location of future development. One potential disadvantage to UCBs is that it can contribute to an increase in land prices within the UCB. However, there is no consensus on this as there are many other factors involved in determining land value.

Community Examples

see also the West Coast Environmental Law website for further discussion of UCBs and examples

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