To Stretch Strained Municipal Budgets, Build Smart

Utilizing 17 case studies, a new report from Smart Growth America examines the costs and benefits of competing development strategies. Any way you slice it, smart growth strategies are more financially prudent than building sprawl.

1 minute read

May 22, 2013, 6:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


Two weeks ago, we told you about a case study out of Nashville that demonstrated mixed-use infill projects deliver an exponentially greater return on investment than traditional suburban, or even New Urbanist-style, greenfield development. That study was just one of 17 to make up the most wide-ranging analysis of the fiscal benefits of smart growth development produced to date. The results of that analysis can be viewed in Smart Growth America's new report, "Building Better Budgets".  

Not only is smart growth cheaper to build and service, "smart growth provides a better return for cities and taxpayers," explains Angie Schmitt. "SGA’s analysis showed that walkable development generates about 10 times more tax revenue per acre than traditional suburban development."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 in DC.Streetsblog

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Ornate, tan stone capitol building with a gold dome roof and low-rise city buildings in the background.

States Are Banning Guaranteed Income Programs

Four states now have laws in place that prevent cities and counties from creating or continuing guaranteed income programs, and several more have tried or are trying.

May 23, 2024 - Bloomberg CityLab

California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing funding for tiny home shelter project in front of quick-build tiny home shelter unit.

California’s Tiny Home Pledge Still on Paper, One Year Later

A promise to fund 1,200 tiny homes for unhoused residents in four cities as a way to rapidly and cost-effectively provide shelter has yet to yield tangible results, but projects are moving ahead in some cities.

May 24 - CALmatters

Residential neighborhood in Colorado with fall foliage and snowy mountains in background.

Colorado Ends Non-Family Occupancy Limits

Local jurisdictions will no longer be able to limit how many unrelated adults can live in a household, a move that supporters say will help lower housing costs and help older adults supplement their incomes and stay in their homes.

May 24 - Strong Towns

A white crosswalk painted by Crosswalk Collective LA in Los Angeles, California.

Guerilla Urbanism Spurs Action From Cities

Rather than take a hostile approach to DIY urbanism, some cities are using guerilla efforts as an opportunity to understand critical infrastructure gaps.

May 24 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.