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Abstract

Over the past twenty years, Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) have become a tool of choice to manage growth. Numerous states and local jurisdictions have mandated UGAs in hope of confining urbanization, reducing sprawl, protecting open space and resource lands, and minimizing infrastructure investment. Washington State joined the trend in 1990 when it adopted the Growth Management Act (GMA), which requires certain counties to establish UGAs as a central component of its "bottom up" growth management strategy. Nonetheless, thoughtful criticisms have been offered regarding the utility of UGAs to accomplish intended growth management goals, and concerns have emerged regarding unintended consequences associated with their implementation. This Article addresses whether UGAs can really achieve the meritorious goals assigned them, or whether they merely provide a temporary sense of accomplishment while livability continues to decline within their confines, and long-term regional patterns of growth remain unchanged.