Wednesday, June 26, 2013

City Planning from the ground up instead of 'build it and they will come'?

An interesting  book entitled "The Metropolitan Revolution" which was highlighted on PBS news hour yesterday. It points out that many American cities are planning their own development excluding the state and federal gov'ts.  But they are first spending the money to put supporting infrastructure in place before adding population.  i.e. roads, hospitals, police, schools, sewers, etc.  They are getting input from universities, business owners, philanthropists, etc. before adding to the population, thereby making their proposed project (a science centre, a manufacturing centre, etc.) a success for all involved.   We seem to be doing it backwards in the District. 

11 comments:

Alex said...

Hi John;

Thanks for posting this, but unfortunately this is not a public event.
This is another one of these behind the closed doors meeting of the Mayor and only six selected individuals are allowed to speak to the Mayor.

So much for democracy...

Alex

Barry Rueger said...

Not exactly true John.

The Mayor's office was contacted for a meeting by a resident and and are still waiting for details before confirming attendance.

The meeting appears to be theoretical at best.

"

John Sharpe said...

Not exactly true? I have received a personal invitation Barry.

Barry Rueger said...

You and the mayor's office seem to have a difference of opinion.

"Barry, there was never an invitation. My office was contacted for a meeting by a resident and my assistant is still waiting for details before I confirm attendance. The information is incorrect.
Best wishes, Richard"

Email us said...

In fact most municipalities are changing how they install infrastructure as many have found that over the long run much of the street work, paving and certainly sewers do not return their costs and their maintenance over the long run. many are allowing streets to return to gravel as a cost saving measure, amongst other steps.
Calgary's mayor instituted a policy whereby developers are responsible for the full cost of their own development servicing, thus stripping away the cheap land cost that allowed suburbs to develop and then leaves everyone with unsustainable costs of replacement.
What John is advocating is essentially a transfer of housing costs from developers to the taxpayer, and avoids the full costing of the suburban home. It leads to a sense of entitlement and ultimately a tax on your own children. PS: What will you do when they decide (as they are already) to live somewhere else?
Doug C.

Barry Rueger said...

many have found that over the long run much of the street work, paving and certainly sewers do not return their costs and their maintenance over the long run. many are allowing streets to return to gravel as a cost saving measure, amongst other steps.

Paving and sewers don't "return their costs?" What in the hell does THAT mean?

They're public services, not profit centres. In fact, THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF GOVERNMENTS AND TAXPAYER PROVIDED SERVICES!!

And please, tell us WHICH cities are turning paved roads into gravel? C'mon, name three. Or even one.

Email us said...

Barry, By "returning their costs" means that in many jurisdictions the net tax benefit is not returned by the cost of the initial work, be it piping, paving etc. It is simply a matter of infrastructure costs exceeding the ability of a municipality - and their taxpayers - to pay. The Oregon cities of Springfield and Eugene are among a number of cities looking at these costs "...in recent years, revenues from these sources (ie:tax rolls, fuel taxes) have not been sufficient
to cover maintenance costs, let alone any improvements or long-­‐term
preservation efforts. Thus, all preservation work conducted in recent years has been funded by federal stimulus funds or one-­time
System Development Charges (SDCs)."

In Calgary the issues of cost recoverables has been central to both the finance and planning policies there for some time. "...In other words, how should the costs and risks of providing the necessary urban infrastructure be shared as new residential communities are developed?..." Google "Who should pay for Urban Growth."
It is not about profit centres, it is about financial sustainability and not outrunning the ability of taxpayers to pay. The DNV is on a trajectory for severe constraint going forward, with less ability to navigate within its present footprint, density and built form.
Doug

Barry Rueger said...

Doug - if you're saying "Developers should pay for the infrastructure to support their projects", then just say so.

Once that capital outlay is behind you, the answer to maintaining infrastructure is really, really simple.

Everyone who owns property pays a portion of those costs by paying taxes.

Unfortunately we've several decades of voters and politicians singing the mantra of "All taxes are Bad taxes", and repeatedly cutting taxes/spending at all levels.

Surprise: if you keep cutting taxes you will find that you have no money to pay the bills.

Really kind of obvious.

It's not about "the ability of taxpayers to pay." It's about a whole generation of people who have been convinced that "somebody else" should pay for all of the services that our governments provide.

Email us said...

Barry,
Yes, so many people have been lead to believe that they are entitled to everything and without the responsibility to pay for. Much of this thinking lies behind the "Stop Highrises" movement. Many people do not have an understanding of the consequences of what they are demanding. The sad part is that they themselves will be saddled with the costs and repercussions of their own limited perspectives.

Doug

portesgarage said...
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michle john said...
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