Smart Tells Huntington How to Ensure Well Managed Fiscal Growth

Slide of Infrastructure gone array. The city where it was taken considers these accessible areas for disabled
Slide of Infrastructure gone array. The city where it was taken considers these accessible areas for disabled

Describing themselves as "not part of the government, we are here to help," Smart Growth presenters John Roberts and Christopher Zimmerman described coming trends and how "decisions made now will ensure the city's success for the next 20 or 30 years."

Toss out resistance to "change;" it's already occurred.  They pointed out that growth after World War II centered on manufacturing and the sign of prosperity was the car, which led to a flight to the suburbs and the partial abandonment of the inner city.

Now, the young workers disdain motor vehicles. They are no longer a must have.  The emerging workforce values a variety of transportation, including walking, public, trains, and bicycling.

Household size has gone down. Manufacturing has been replaced by a "creative" class which encompasses technology to arts. The workers seek a "place" before selecting a job. Thus, the desire for a specific lifestyle weighs heavily the decisions of those entering the workforce. One of their criteria --- they do not like work commutes. They want to live preferably within walking distance of their job.

Due to these market alterations, "We have a demand for what is not built. We have all the large lot houses we need. The demand is for in town living and multi family housing," Zimmerman explained.

The innovative, creative , knowledge economy places  a demand for talent and skilled workers who choose livable cities with a full range of amenities.

As the old downtowns attract new life, the suburban sprawl --- and large enclosed malls --- are fading. Some malls have been abandoned. People are returning to the cities. Big box stores do not generate the same higher taxes per square foot as smaller businesses clustered in a downtown areas which have been reborn as "new, walkable environments," close to jobs.

They illustrated that neighborhoods in close proximity to downtowns  are surging. In turn, the compact nature reduces costs for cities to provide services as they are nearby. "It returns life to what you have already built," Roberts explained.

Smart Tells Huntington How to Ensure Well Managed Fiscal Growth

On the same token, the cost of providing services to outlying suburbs has decreased tax use efficiency.

Several urban bonuses improve a city's attractiveness. Huntington, by coincidence , has them all

1. An already built street grid, easy to get around

2. Many legacy buildings with strong values

3. Waterfronts have increasing value

4. Higher education and medical facilities draw people

Similarly, older historic structures have considerable value. Valuing the past goes beyond a four or eight year elected term. "It's a commitment that will be reflected (on the faces) of children and grandchildren... from one generation to the next," Roberts said.

 

Comments powered by Disqus