Explaining the national variation of land use: A cross-national analysis of greenbelt policy in five countries

Albert T. Han, Min Hee Go

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In this paper, we examine the merits and pitfalls of greenbelt policy by analyzing the history of greenbelt policy adoption and practice in five countries – UK, Canada, Australia, US and Korea. Despite its local implications, many greenbelt policies have been pursued and implemented at the national level, and yet few studies have incorporated the national context into understanding the scope of greenbelt policy in urban areas. A cross-national approach broadens our understanding about why greenbelt policies have achieved varying levels of success and acceptance in the urban planning process and reveals how national contexts can affect the scope of regional and local planning. Our analysis is built on a continuum across two regimes - UK as a prototype of state-controlled growth restriction regime on the one hand, and US as a prototype of the decentralized privatization regime on the other. Between these two regimes, we place hybrid cases – Canada, Australia and South Korea – that reflect a combination of characteristics in each regime. This typology not only offers a unifying framework to encompass the variants of greenbelt policies, but it also helps explain how changes might occur in strengthening or relaxing the scope of greenbelt policy. We show that although each country (or its subnational jurisdictions) maintains fairly stable greenbelt policy once it is adopted, its scope and direction is not entirely unchangeable but contingent upon the shifting political climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-656
Number of pages13
JournalLand Use Policy
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Comparative policy analysis
  • Greenbelt policy
  • Land preservation
  • Sustainability
  • Urban development
  • Urban growth management


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