The Fiscal Implications of Development Patterns: Roads in New Jersey analyzes population and employment density to understand just how much money could be saved if the distribution of New Jersey’s population and jobs could be made even incrementally more dense and compact.
In this version of our Fiscal Implications research, Smart Growth America examined four different scenarios for the City of Indianapolis—two urban and two sub-urban. We found that both of the sub-urban scenarios would generate negative fiscal impacts for the City and school district.
Macon-Bibb County, GA asked Smart Growth America to analyze the net fiscal impact of future growth focused on downtown infill versus continued greenfield development in suburban locations.
The City of Madison hired Smart Growth America to analyze potential development options in the city’s Pioneer District, a 1,400 acre area that is largely vacant right now.
In 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.
Every town, city, and county makes decisions about how to grow and what kind of development to build. These decisions shape entire neighborhoods and form the foundation of communities as we know them. These decisions can also have enormous implications for a municipality’s finances. Over the past 40 years research has shown that low-density, unconnected, … Continued
Harrisburg, PA’s former City Hall building. The city of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy yesterday. Photo by Flickr user Wally Gobetz.
Smart growth can reduce costs for municipal governments, and with so many towns in America struggling financially it’s time more places use these fiscally responsible strategies.
News this week from Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Florida and Maine highlight the fact that many small cities are struggling to make ends meet. Cash-strapped and unable to cover costs, many municipalities are tightening their belts and some are raising taxes. Most notably, the city of Harrisburg, PA filed for bankruptcy yesterday, unable to generate enough revenue to meet its expenses.