sprawl

New Research Reveals the Cost of Sprawl to Municipal Coffers

Posted on Updated on

[By Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab]

A suburban development

Ever since the Roman Empire, local governments have had great control over land use. Today, this control is exerted through zoning regulations, tax policies, and infrastructure-investment decisions. Municipalities can choose to develop in an unconnected, low-density, suburban-style manner, or they can consider more compact, connected urban land uses.

These decisions have enormous implications for a municipality’s finances, according to a new report from non-profit Smart Growth America and real-estate advisory firm RCLCO.

The report, The Fiscal Implications of Development Patterns, is authored by Smart Growth America’s Chris Zimmerman and RCLCO’s Lee Sobel. They analyze the dollar costs to municipalities of different land-use patterns, concluding that, overall, dispersed, car-dependent land use patterns result in higher costs to municipalities than dense, urban development. Choosing sprawl over density, the authors state, could have multimillion-dollar consequences.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Suburbanites Seek Status Behind “Velvet Rope,” Argues Transit Activist Ross

Posted on Updated on

[By Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab]

image

Why do so many Americans choose to live in the suburbs, despite the increasingly long commute times and lack of community often associated with these places?

Benjamin Ross, a Washington D.C.-based transit activist whose grass-roots lobbying efforts led to the planned Purple Line in Maryland, argues that suburbia has a persistent allure because it is a great “velvet rope” separating those of means from the rest of us.

Status-seeking, Ross says, is the psychological underpinning of suburbanization, leading Americans to seek out the cachet purported by suburbia’s bigger houses, bigger lots, and bigger SUVs. Ross makes a convincing argument to this effect in his new, meticulously-researched book, Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Arlington County TOD Linked to Health, Sprawl Study Says

Posted on Updated on

[By Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab, published on April 29, 2014]

image

We have been taught to hate sprawl in America, yet, in the past 10 years, our country has become, on average, slightly more sprawling than in the decade prior.

That was one finding of Smart Growth America’s Measuring Sprawl 2014 report, released earlier this month. The study, conducted by University of Utah city planning professor Reid Ewing and graduate research assistant Shima Hamidi, found that with patterns of development varying widely in the U.S., the cities that favor “smart growth” principles fare better on several social and economic measurements than do those built in a way typified by the term “sprawl.”

Read the rest of this entry »