Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It's the Location, Stupid

Bob Burke explores the relationship between the "Smart Growth" and "New Urbanism" movements in a new article, "It's the Location, Stupid." The two groups would seem to be natural allies. Both favor mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development in higher densities than is typically found in suburban development. But the Smart Growthers don't hesitate to criticize specific New Urbanist projects deemed to be in the "wrong" locations.

Read Burke's article here.


At 10:09 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

OK, the projection is that One Loudoun will generate 12% fewer trips than its previous planned use.

We now have dozens of developments making such claims.

What is the plan to document the claims and back test the results after they are built? If we do that enough times, maybe we can settle some of the arguments about location.

Then of course there is the problem of wher to put the kind pffice and industrial site that was previously planned, otherwise you will eventually create a shortage.

So far, the evidence from people who have tried to go out and measure these things is that the opportunity mixed use provides doesn't prevent the opportunity to go someplace else. Usually the same amount of driving results, even if people use the local (and probably more expensive) shops for some of their needs.

At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be fooled. "Smart Growth" for many in the movement (not all, but many) is a smokescreen for no growth. And what you are talking about is evidence to support that assertion -- nothing every satisfies them (meaning, they are only satisfied with --- nothing.)

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Toomanytaxes said...

Anonymous: Quite a few of the "smart growth" people really want no growth, but it also seems that, at least in NoVA, a large number of other people who wouldn't know "smart growth" from cucumbers don't want more growth either. Under the existing ground rules, development doesn't pay for itself. Increases in real estate tax revenues don't cover the added costs. Increases in income tax simply flow through Richmond to subsidize services in other parts of Virginia.

Moreover, the bulk of the NoVA population are not involved in the local economy. Under these circumstances, more development simply reduces an already declining quality of life and pushes real estate taxes even higher.

That is precisely why a large number of Republicans and Independents voted for Tim Kaine. They simply don't believe that the costs that they pay so that others may profit from development are worth paying any longer. NoVA does not have a homogeneous economy. The continued prosperity of the local economy that needs development is simply immaterial to many of their neighbors.

Those who are involved in the local economy are dependent on those who are not so involved and not vice versa. One would think that, instead of antagonizing these "customers" by demanding continued development under the same terms and conditions, plus advocating tax increases to boot, local business leaders would find some ways to address the concerns of their customers.

The more resistance from the development community and local business to reasonable accommodations to an intolerable situation, the more likely those who don't like the status quo will demand even more restrictions on development.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

And those restrictions on development will apply most everywhere. What will we do with the people and what will it do to home prices?

Anonymous is right. It is a smokescreen to retain valuable open space that increases the value of your property: especially if you can force someone else to own it on your behalf.

If we want to keep open space, then we should decide what open space is the most valuable to preserve and go buy it. Then we should let the market deal with the rest.

Instead we are going to do nothing except blow smoke about dysfuntional patterns and fundamental change.


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