An urban growth boundary (UGB) is a planning tool for cities and towns that identifies the extent of where we locate our homes, schools, and businesses. A UGB separates an urban area from its surrounding greenbelt of natural and agricultural lands, and helps encourage compact, walkable development, especially near transit. UGBs are set for significant periods of time. In the Bay Area, it’s a proven tool to prevent urban sprawl.
What is Sprawl?
Sprawl is the outward expansion of cities and towns into their surrounding open spaces and agricultural lands. Sprawl development is typically low-density housing units, where residents have limited access to goods and services like grocery stores, public transportation, walkways and bike paths and other community facilities. Because of this, sprawl residents must rely on automobiles to travel even short distances. This increases traffic and drives the need for vast parking lots in towns. Sprawl development leads to the loss of the greenbelts and open spaces. Once lost, cities and towns grow together and lose their distinctive character.