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Smart Growth & Jobs

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  • Richard Risemberg
    Reposted from NoVA Sprawl Weekly: SMART GROWTH FOSTERS JOB GROWTH Study: Anti-Sprawl Strategies Good for Construction Jobs Washington, D.C. - A new study by
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 27, 2004
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      Reposted from NoVA Sprawl Weekly:

      Study: Anti-Sprawl Strategies Good for Construction Jobs

      Washington, D.C. - A new study by Good Jobs First (GJF) finds that,
      contrary to common belief, smart growth policies are good for
      construction jobs. The report provides evidence that smart growth can
      create more employment opportunities than sprawl for workers who build
      residential and commercial structures and transportation infrastructure.

      The study is available on GJF's website,

      "Our findings challenge the conventional idea that construction
      employment suffers when communities seek to curb sprawl and manage
      growth," said Philip Mattera, GJF's Corporate Research Director and
      primary author of the study. "In fact, our research shows just the
      opposite, that smart growth fosters job growth."

      GJF Executive Director Greg LeRoy emphasized organized labor's expanding
      role in the movement against suburban sprawl. "We see growing
      involvement from unions, including the Building Trades, in efforts to
      promote smart growth. Our findings suggest that trend is very likely to

      LeRoy noted the national AFL-CIO's 2001 convention resolution denouncing
      sprawl and the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council's recent
      endorsement of an Urban Growth Boundary ballot initiative with strong
      support from its Building Trades affiliates.

      The study, The Jobs are Back in Town: Urban Smart Growth and
      Construction Employment, examines how growth-management policies affect
      construction jobs. In Oregon, which adopted the country's first UGBs a
      quarter-century ago, construction job growth outpaced the nation's more
      than 4 to 1 for the most recent 15-year period.

      GJF also commissioned two senior urban scholars to perform a national
      analysis of 155 metro areas. Those with growth management policies
      enjoyed construction activity per new resident more than $100,000 higher
      than "business as usual" areas over a ten-year period.

      The study also analyzes the labor intensity of different types of
      buildings. Using data from a prominent estimating firm, it compares
      compact building types (apartment houses and townhouses) to
      single-family homes. In denser construction, labor makes up a larger
      portion of total costs.

      Finally, the study compares highway projects, using data from the
      Federal Highway Administration. "Fix it first" projects - such as
      resurfacing, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads - are more
      labor-intensive than new highway construction, after adjusting for land

      "We already know that smart growth reduces traffic and promotes clean
      air," said Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. "This
      report provides another important reason why smart growth is a winning
      formula for the economy and the environment."

      Editor's note: Good Jobs First is a non-profit, non-partisan research
      center promoting best practices in economic development; it is based in
      Washington, DC.
      Richard Risemberg

      "I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity,
      an obligation; every possession, a duty."
      John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
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