Top 10 of 2013: Building better budgets through new, original research

38 percent

This month, we’re looking back at some of Smart Growth America’s brightest moments and greatest accomplishments from 2013. Today’s highlight? Our July report that showed just how much smart growth strategies can benefit municipalities’ bottom lines.

Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development set out to find how much cities and towns have saved, on average, by using smart growth strategies. The report collected 17 studies from cities across the country that compared two or more development scenarios. The majority of these studies found that a smart growth approach would improve the city’s finances, whether by saving money on upfront infrastructure, reducing the cost of ongoing services or by generating greater tax revenues in years to come.

Building Better Budgets found that smart growth development saves cities an average of 38 percent on the cost of upfront infrastructure such as roads and sewer lines. This approach saves an average of ten percent on the cost of ongoing services such as fire, police and ambulance. And smart growth development generates ten times the tax revenue per acre compared to conventional suburban development.

This report is the first of its kind, and serves as a resource for local leaders everywhere interested in making better fiscal decisions in their region.

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Smart Growth America’s original research demonstrates clearly the value of smart growth development. Support this work by making a donation today: