The Impacts of Smart Growth on Municipal Finance: Perspectives of City Planning Directors Across Texas
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In the decades after WWII cities experienced an outflow of people and businesses to the suburbs. This migration was due to an increase in highways and automobile use and in part due to increased crime, declining schools, and a desire for a higher quality of life outside the city. In the past decade this suburbanization has been labeled "sprawl" and is blamed for everything from community disintegration to destroying the ozone layer.
Smart Growth has arrived as a growth management tool to counteract the perceived negative aspects of sprawl. Smart Growth seeks to address the problems of sprawl with several solutions. These solutions include economically revitalizing the urban core, creating higher population densities within the urban core, managing infrastructure to control suburban growth and counteracting the subsidies given to sprawl.
Extensive debate exists on the theories behind the development of Smart Growth as well as Smart Growth's solutions. To find out if these solutions will solve the problems of sprawl it is helpful to explore the attitudes of those who deal with Smart Growth first hand. The purpose of this research is to determine the perceptions that City Planners across Texas have about the fiscal impacts of Smart Growth policies on municipal finance.
This research demonstrates that overall City Planning Directors across Texas currently have an overall positive view of the effects of Smart Growth on municipal finance. However, a wide range of opinions is indicated by the research. Only time itself will tell if Smart Growth will live up to its supporters' claims.