The Washington State Growth Management Act was created in the early 1990's.  It is based on a theory called "Smart Growth" which has intended outcomes.  These two writings are some of the most comprehensive we've found so far.

Randall O’Toole and the Thoreau Institute

Randall O’Toole has a writing that does a very good job of providing the background and forwarding some analysis of their experience in a build-out area outside Portland , OR .  He also authored a 2000 book on growth management whose principles are embodied and advocated by the Thoreau Institute, an advocacy group for which he is the senior economist.  I’ve briefly corresponded with him and understand that the position he, and the Thoreau Institute, take is one of “seeking ways to protect the environment without regulations, bursary, or central control.”

They represent a position that is against the high degree of regulation approach to implementations of growth management and would prefer an incentive-based approach.  They support letting market forces with appropriate incentives and penalties, influence the overall quality of life as growth management is played out.  They also express an opinion regarding the effectiveness of “Smart Growth”, the underlying theory behind Oregon ’s and Washington ’s Growth Management Acts.  Their belief is that the number one negative outcome of Smart Growth is its impact on affordable housing.

The Thoreau Institute web site

Randall O’Toole’s 2001 “The Folly of Smart Growth”

Personal Note:  I think that the objective should be one of striking a balance between regulation and incentive-based growth management.  There may also be a concern as to whether it’s “too late” for King County to adopt incentive-based implementation because of the politics of image.  In other words, the County has been severely criticized regarding it’s planning and outcome success.  There may not be enough time to step back to integrated incentive-based components to their growth management plan.

There is a visual tour of Oak Grove, OR that does a great job of integrating digital photographs with text to explaining the situation that they faced and are continuing to face.

Washington Research Council

This is about the most comprehensive writing I’ve found analyzing the outcome of Washington State ’s Growth Management Act.  The series of papers written in 2000-2001, focused on the objectives and measurable outcomes of the GMA at its 10-year anniversary.

The Board of Trustees and Board Members of the Washington Research Council is a whose-who of Northwest businesses and the council strives to be “the independent authority on taxes and efficient government.”

The WRC index to publications can be found here.  The 11-part series on Growth in Perspective was written in 2000 and 2001, the archives of which can be linked to via this page.  The entire 11-part series can be viewed here.

Given the changes that have occurred in the area and the world since 2001, I’ve made a request of the WRC for an update based on more current information.

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