One of the main reasons Smart Growth America advocates for compact, walkable urban development is because this approach can greatly benefit the finances of municipalities. Smart growth strategies can reduce infrastructure costs and ongoing expenses for cities while also boosting tax revenues. Smart Growth America’s own work has shown that, and we know this to be true too because of the outstanding work of others in the field like Joe Minicozzi, AICP and the principal at Urban3, LLC, a consultancy based out of Asheville, NC. We’re fans of their work and and cite it often as yet another illustration of how good smart growth can be for city finances. We want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the evidence Minicozzi has amassed over the years demonstrating smart growth’s fiscal benefits.
Urban3 has been hired by cities and towns across the United States and Canada to analyze the financial implications of their development strategies. Most city planners and elected officials understand that a city brings in more tax revenue when people shop and eat out, Minicozzi explained in 2012, but they often underestimate just how much more valuable this economic activity is when it happens downtown rather than on a city’s outskirts.