This study evaluates the effectiveness of a specific urban sprawl containment strategy called the Metropolitan Urban Service Areas (MUSA). MUSA was developed for Minneapolis/St. Paul in order to ensure organized and practical development in areas that already had pre-built roads and sewer system infrastructures. Currently, MUSA is not an urban boundary; its specific goal is to, "synchronize urban growth with the provision of infrastructure needed to accommodate growth" (Council, August 2006). To evaluate the rigidity of the MUSA boundaries, the sample years of 1990, 2000, 2010 and the projected 2020 boundaries were subjected to spatial analysis utilizing three different software programs. The following research questions were addressed: (1) Has MUSA been effective in limiting low-density development growth in Woodbury, MN? (2) Are the boundaries established by MUSA adaptable or more rigid? (3) How can the current strategy be improved to increase the effectiveness of urban growth control? The research found a redefinition of the MUSA boundaries is necessary to curb urban expansion in Woodbury. The city of Woodbury and the Metropolitan Council can use this research as a model for regulating urban sprawl in fast-growing suburbs within designated MUSA boundaries. By adjusting the rigidity and the resulting effectiveness of the MUSA boundaries, a projected 3.1 billion dollars needed in order to provide infrastructure to low-density developments would be reduced.


Fei Yuan

Committee Member

Martin Mitchell

Committee Member

Raymond Asomani-Boateng

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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