|dc.description.abstract||To combat urban sprawl and its negative effects on ecosystem services and human health, regional growth management and containment policies have been used with increased frequency to manage urban growth. Yet, local implementation of regional growth management planning policies across North America has had mixed success, often resulting in a mismatch between growth management planning objectives and the urban development reality. This research explores the reasons for the apparent mismatch by examining how barriers to local implementation are expressed, reinforced and perpetuated to prevent transformative change.
Using Ontario’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe as a case study, the dissertation examines the barriers to implementation through a review of local contextual information and the perspectives of those tasked with implementing the Plan within three case study regions of the Greater Golden Horseshoe: Waterloo, Simcoe and Peterborough. A relational model of barriers reported in the literature is developed and tested against the barriers described by local planners, developers, the media, planning documents, and locally relevant academic literature and used to frame comparisons across case studies. Variations among the case studies are interpreted in light of the model using a conceptual framework that conceives barriers as institutions embedded within a hierarchical culture of planning.
Case study results reveal that barriers to local implementation vary across regions. This variation can be attributed to particular local contextual pressures and differences in local planning environments that influence how broader, societal barriers are understood, justified, managed and reinforced. Planning environments in the more rural and exurban case studies regions of Simcoe and Peterborough demonstrated similar belief systems, values and planning goals that obstructed local efforts to manage growth. These same regions faced particular growth and economic pressures that reinforced existing value systems and reduced the range of perceived planning solutions and approaches to growth management. In contrast, planning environments in the more urban Waterloo case study region, as well as urban single tier municipalities within the rural case study regions, demonstrated planning environments that were more open to innovative and assertive planning approaches to manage growth.
This research demonstrates how the interactions between local context and planning environments shape the interpretation and implementation of regional growth management plans. The research findings provide focal points for further research on growth management implementation by highlighting barriers and patterns of reinforcement that are less visible and rarely acknowledged in planning practice. As well, this research highlights the need for planning approaches that recognize the important role of the local planning environments in advancing growth management objectives. Failure to recognize and address the underlying barriers and their interdependencies may result in the development of regional growth management plans that fail to achieve their objectives.||en