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This study compares urban landscapes in the Portland and Los Angeles metropolitan areas at the neighbourhood level by operationalising six smart growth indices and mapping their spatial distribution patterns and time trends. Analysis results show that the two metropolitan areas have both strengths and weaknesses in different aspects of smart growth. Most neighbourhoods in both regions do not excel in all six smart growth measures: they are at the high ends of some smart growth indices but at the low ends of others. Some smart growth features such as mixed land use and mixed housing are already pervasive in suburban areas. Density in some mature suburban neighbourhoods is also relatively high. A large number of neighbourhoods in suburban and exurban areas exhibit high levels of socioeconomic diversity. Time trend analyses suggest that in both regions, older neighbourhoods tend to be ‘smarter’ than newer ones, except for racial/ethnic diversity.

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This document was originally published by SAGE in Urban Studies. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1177/0042098014528396