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#DotheMath

Can This Texas Suburb Create a Downtown of Its Own?

Can This Texas Suburb Create a Downtown of Its Own?

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?

My Journey from Free Market Ideologue, Part 4: Analyzing the Cul-de-Sac

My Journey from Free Market Ideologue, Part 4: Analyzing the Cul-de-Sac

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.

The Tax Burden Footprint of Tax-Exempt Properties

The Tax Burden Footprint of Tax-Exempt Properties

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?

The National Association of Realtors Says #DoTheMath

The National Association of Realtors Says #DoTheMath

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.

Why Would a Property Owner Oppose Neighborhood Improvements?

Why Would a Property Owner Oppose Neighborhood Improvements?

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 City Has Massive Infrastructure Liabilities. So Do 99% of the Cities in America.

My City Has Massive Infrastructure Liabilities. So Do 99% of the Cities in America.

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.

Memphis’s U-Turn: How the City is Committing to a Stronger Future

Memphis’s U-Turn: How the City is Committing to a Stronger Future

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.

What's In Your City's Wallet?

What's In Your City's Wallet?

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.

Paved With Good Intentions

Paved With Good Intentions

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.

Best of 2018: The More We Grow, the Poorer We Become

Best of 2018: The More We Grow, the Poorer We Become

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.