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Spatial policies for growth management in metropolitan regions. A comparison of U.S. American, Canadian and German approaches


  • Deborah Heinen HafenCity University
  • Jörg Knieling HafenCity Universität Hamburg



Regional planning, growth management, multi-level governance, policy instruments, comparative research


Many metropolitan regions face concerns over sprawling development, increased costs of maintaining infrastructure, and loss of green space and farmland. Some metropolitan regions have intentionally created spatial policies to govern development patterns and manage growth within their region. This paper compares the spatial policies applied in three case studies: the Puget Sound region (Washington State, USA), Metro Vancouver region (British Columbia, Canada) and Stuttgart region (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). While all three regions share a vision that can broadly be summarised as transit-connected communities, each metropolitan planning organisation leverages a variety of spatial policies. Based on the unique planning cultures, various governmental actors take on different roles at the local, county, regional and state levels. This paper categorises and compares the multi-level responsibilities for defining, mapping, and implementing spatial policies. With this focus, the paper provides an international comparative perspective on approaches, context, and contents of multi-level growth management.


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How to Cite

Heinen, D. and Knieling, J. (2022) “Spatial policies for growth management in metropolitan regions. A comparison of U.S. American, Canadian and German approaches”, Raumforschung und Raumordnung | Spatial Research and Planning. DE, 80(6). doi: 10.14512/rur.167.



Research Article

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