New report highlights smart growth's return on investment and cost savings

A new report out today from the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) discusses the myriad economic benefits that smart growth brings to households, communities and municipal governments. The study, titled Growing Wealthier: Smart Growth, Climate Change and Prosperity shows that smart growth development strategies enhance community prosperity and generate economic benefits for local businesses, households and governments.

Growing Wealthier chart

Cities that have invested in public transportation and downtown development are experiencing cost savings, growing tax revenues, increased property values and booming retail sales. The authors of Growing Wealthier encourage policy makers and practitioners to promote economic well-being by building homes and schools near stores and work, and by providing a diversity of transportation and housing choices. As the report explains, these strategies for development enhance access to goods and services and promote more efficient travel options.

The report goes on to note many communities are already seeing the economic benefits of smart growth strategies. In Dallas, Texas, for example, downtown retail sales rose 33% just one year after the light rail system began operation. In Portland, Oregon, a $100 million investment in streetcars helped attract $3.5 billion in private investments, and in Denver, Colorado, home values within a half-mile of Southeast light rail stations line rose 18%, despite an overall decline of real estate values elsewhere in the city.

Allowing more people to live closer to job centers can boost employment rates and income levels for low-wage workers while reducing exposure to congestion for all. Smart growth policies are also shown to cut government infrastructure costs, enhance public health and conserve natural resources.

Download the executive summary of Growing Wealthier or buy the full report at