If your city is struggling to balance its budget, it’s not enough to just cut costs and not seek to increase revenues. That’s like a cyclist who tries to improve their performance only by losing weight.
Leander, Texas, a suburb of Austin, is a quiet bedroom community that recently found itself with a commuter rail station. Can it afford to waste the opportunity to create the transit-oriented downtown it never had?
In a suburban development pattern, the cul-de-sac is the gravy. It’s the cherry on top. It should be the most profitable part of the system, the place with the most tax base for the least amount of cost. If that’s not true, then something is terribly wrong with our model of growth.
In very simple terms, infrastructure is a platform for expanding wealth. If infrastructure doesn’t expand our wealth enough to justify its construction, it’s not an investment. It’s merely a form of consumptive spending.
Tax-exempt properties have a significant fiscal footprint. Do we understand the impacts we create through the too-often wasteful way we design and build public facilities such as city halls, schools, libraries, and parks?
America has an excessive infrastructure problem—and perhaps nowhere is that more clear than in places like the massive, center-less city of Palm Bay, Florida.
The latest issue of the National Association of Realtors biannual magazine, On Common Ground, is devoted to the financial implications of growth and land-use decisions. And Strong Towns thinking features front and center.
When property near water holds a higher value than landlocked properties, we call it the “lake effect.” How can this be used to build a stronger, healthier community?
States have been neglecting basic road repairs in favor of costly road expansion. Yet the problem is still misleadingly framed by some as primarily about not having enough money.
As an engineer, I once had property owners turn out en masse to oppose a project I was working on that would fix their potholed street and broken sidewalks. Find out why—and one key policy change that might have led to a different response.
My hometown of Plano, Texas is the midst of a bubble. Everything seems fine! Taxes are low. The city provides great services. It has an AAA bond rating. The music is still playing, and therefore everyone must remain dancing. But we have a looming problem: staggering long-term infrastructure liabilities that we haven’t even fully accounted for.
Equipped with “grit and grind”—but also with a whole lot of good data on the financial consequences of past development decisions—Memphis, Tennessee is taking smart steps toward a bottom-up renaissance. Just ask its Chief Operating Officer, Doug McGowen.
City officials often ask, “What target price point for new homes will ensure that we can balance our books?” Here’s why they’re asking the wrong question.
If electric vehicles become the norm, our fuel tax-funded infrastructure might suffer. What should cities do?
The answer might not be what you expect.
Regional fragmentation allows cities to pursue quick growth and shift the long-term costs onto their neighbors. Can a proposal to merge St. Louis with its suburbs make the region stronger by fixing these incentives?
Your daily commute sucks. Is it also making you go broke?
If your city is struggling to pay the bills, could joining forces with the rich county next door be the answer?
Doing the math on a routine, uncontroversial street paving project reveals an investment that will never pay for itself, in a city that has thousands of such investments. That we do it anyway reflects the cultural consensus at the root of our towns’ financial problems.
Local governments can’t take on more and more promises without generating enough wealth to meet those obligations—not without a reckoning. We need a radical revolution in how we plan, manage, and inhabit our cities, counties, and neighborhoods. We need a Strong Towns approach.