New analysis examines the fiscal implications of development patterns in West Des Moines, IA

fiscal-implications-wdm-coverIn early April, Smart Growth America released a new model for analyzing the fiscal performance of urban development. The City of Madison, WI, was the first city to use the new model in their development planning.

Today we’re proud to release new analysis of development patterns in West Des Moines, IA. The new research examines four different strategies for West Des Moines’ growth over the next 20 years. Each scenario assumes the development of 9,275 housing units and 2.69 million square feet of commercial space, which is in keeping with West Des Moines’ current growth.

The four scenarios have different densities and a different mix of home types. A “base density” scenario approximates the average density of development in West Des Moines today; a “low density” and “higher density” scenario represent incrementally lower, and higher development densities, respectively, than the base. And a “walkable urban” scenario has the highest density of all scenarios considered and represents a more dramatic departure from the typical development pattern in West Des Moines (though does not propose any high-rise development).

The model calculates average annual public costs for each scenario. Our researchers subtract that from the average annual public revenues generated by each scenario. The result is the net fiscal impact of each type of development.

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Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization hosts workshop on economic and fiscal health

des moinesAerial view of Des Moines. Photo by Ron Reiring via Flickr

Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on May 13 and 14, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop aimed to provide the region with tools and techniques to help implement The Tomorrow Plan, the region’s plan for sustainable development. The MPO hopes to build on broad community support for The Tomorrow Plan through a better understanding of the plan’s economic and fiscal benefits.

“With the recent approval of The Tomorrow Plan and the work on the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s next long-range transportation plan, the time is now to work with our member communities to invest in infrastructure as wisely and as efficiently as possible,” said Todd Ashby, Executive Director of the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Technical assistance

EPA recognizes Dubuque, IA and Mayor Roy Buol among top smart growth projects of 2013

Dubuque, IA's Millwork DistrictFormerly vacant factories in Dubuque’s Millwork District will include affordable housing units, retail space for small businesses, and a variety of art, social and civic spaces. Photo by “turn off your computer and go outside,” via Flickr.

Congratulations to Dubuque, IA, one of seven communities chosen to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies’s annual National Award for Smart Growth Achievement this year. Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol is a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council and played an instrumental leadership role in Dubuque’s award-winning project.

The award recognizes exceptional approaches to development that respect the environment, foster economic vitality, enhance quality of life, and provide new opportunities for disadvantaged communities.

Local Leaders Council

EPA recognizes seven communities with National Award for Smart Growth Achievement

Atlanta BeltlineThe Atlanta Beltline, one of this year’s award winners. Photo by Christoper T. Martin, courtesy of Atlanta Beltline.

This morning in Washington, DC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will recognize some of the best examples of smart growth projects in the country today.

The annual National Award for Smart Growth Achievement, established in 2002, recognizes exceptional approaches to development that respect the environment, foster economic vitality, enhance quality of life, and provide new opportunities for disadvantaged communities.

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Carlisle, IA hosts workshop on walkability

Carlisle IA

Carlisle officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on September 23 and 24, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop provided recommendations to enhance the community’s walkability, and hence safety, particularly in the area adjacent to Iowa 5, a very busy highway that bisects the city.

“Carlisle is very interested in implementing smart growth solutions. The economic and environmental well-being of our residents and businesses depends on a thoughtful and reasonable pattern of growth across our region,” said Mayor Ruth Randleman. “In fact, we see smart growth solutions as the only responsible way to address the needs of our pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.”

Technical assistance

Helping Des Moines, Iowa refine its transportation strategy

DesMoinesSkylineviwa4nd3rl0st

Des Moines, Iowa wants to know how best to measure the performance of its transportation system and identify priorities in its long-term transportation plan. Next week, Des Moines officials and local residents will meet with Smart Growth America staff to receive assistance with this process.

Smart Growth America will be hosting a two-day workshop with the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization on July 9 and 10, 2013. On Tuesday, July 9, Des Moines residents are invited to join a public information session, to be held at 5:30 PM at the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization offices, 420 Watson Powell, Jr., Way, Suite 200.

“The Smart Growth America technical assistance workshop will build upon the momentum of The Tomorrow Plan as the MPO moves into the next iteration of our long-range transportation plan. The assistance will help ensure that all projects included in the plan are performance driven, support smart growth principles, and save taxpayers money,” said Todd Ashby, Executive Director of the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Technical assistance

Mayor Ruth Randleman on protecting taxpayers in Carlisle, Iowa

Acres of preserved farmland and prairie are making Carlisle, IA a beautiful place to live, and that’s a key economic development strategy for Carlisle Mayor Ruth Randleman.

Carlisle is located just outside Des Moines, and like many suburbs across the country Carlisle is working to set itself apart as a great place to live, work and raise a family.

“We like to think that as we enhance our community, businesses will find it an attractive place to come,” explains Randleman, who is an Advisory Board Member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. “Plus it will draw people for the workforce. If you watch growing, thriving communities, there’s always that vibrancy and quality of life that foster the businesses and then the businesses then foster that back for the citizens.”

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