"A study out of Nashville by Smart Growth America (SGA) provides more evidence that building walkable development in existing communities is best for a city’s bottom line," reports Angie Schmitt. In comparing the costs of local services to the revenues produced by three different projects, SGA found that on a per unit basis, a mixed-use, compact housing and office development built on a brownfield site (The Gulch) far outperformed "a large-lot, traditional suburban-style development called Bradford Hills" and "a 'new urban'-style, mixed-use, walkable development" called Lennox Village.
"When you factor in density, the differences between the three models really crystallize," says Schmitt. "The Gulch, filled with condo towers, generated $115,720 in net revenue per acre annually. That’s an astounding 1,150 times greater than Bradford Hills, which generated a total of just $100 per acre. The downtown development also performed 148 times better for the local government’s bottom line than new urbanist development Lennox Village, which yielded $780 per acre."