May 4, 2004

Smart Growth Saves Money

"The cost of providing public infrastructure and delivering services can be reduced through thoughtful design and planning," according to a policy paper recently published by the Brookings Institute. "Several studies suggest that rational use of more compact development patterns from 2000 to 2025 promise the following sorts of savings for governments nationwide: 11 percent, or $110 billion, from 25-year road-building costs; 6 percent, or $12.6 billion, from 25-year water and sewer costs; and roughly 3 percent, or $4 billion, for annual operations and service delivery. School-construction savings are somewhat less."

What exactly is smart growth? "Almost never does smart growth mean no growth; instead, it entails accommodating it in a way that maximizes its benefits and reduces as much as possible its frequent negative side effects. . . . Smart growth proponents argue that these growth patterns, popularly known as 'sprawl,' are not inevitable but result at least in part from major governmental policies that distort the market and facilitate the excessive decentralization of people and jobs."

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