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A pro-sprawl screed

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  • howardgoodell
    Hi -- My son (Masters in Public Policy last weekend I ll have you know) forwarded me this pro-sprawl screed:
    Message 1 of 3 , May 31, 2006
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      Hi --

      My son (Masters in Public Policy last weekend I'll have you know)
      forwarded me this pro-sprawl screed:
      http://www.taemag.com/issues/articleID.19175/article_detail.asp
      Its major claim is that anti-sprawl legislation interferes with the
      majority's "pursuit of happiness" to live in the ways they choose.

      My major critique is that many people who drive an hour or more from
      their suburban homes to work each day would *choose* denser and closer
      settings if they could. It is the perverse incentives created by
      institutional features such as deciding zoning and housing
      restrictions locally that drive much of sprawl. Local residents profit
      by keeping out all but the richest prospective neighbors, creating
      what this engineer calls "local optimization" -- the optimum benefit
      for the current residents, but tremendously bad for the metropolitan
      area as a whole.

      I'm sure people on the list who care to read it will think of others.

      Take care!
      Howie Goodell
    • Sean Brooks
      I agree wholeheartedly, but would like to point out that *part* of the problem is allowing landowners to collect the benefit of public infrastructure (transit,
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 1 8:15 AM
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        I agree wholeheartedly, but would like to point out that *part* of the
        problem is allowing landowners to collect the benefit of public
        infrastructure (transit, schools, public safety, utilites, etc.) in the form
        of increased rents or increased land values. Each of these public
        investments increases the value of land in it's cachement area, and is not
        necessarily recaptured in increased property, income, sales, or other taxes.
        The one tax that does directly capture this increase in value, the
        property tax (assessed against land values) is also, unfortunately, assessed
        against building values - in fact punishing those who would build more.

        I believe zoning is still necessary, to some degree, though I think that if
        the majority of such value increases were collected, the zoning would be
        much more 'understandable' to people like us: creatign public greenspace in
        the form of parks, in the right amount, would create more value adjacent to
        the parks than would be lost from being tax-exempt. I believe a similar
        effect would occur adjacent to agricultural zoning areas.

        I do believe that maximum density laws, when not done for agricultural
        purposes, are merely to keep the riff-raff out.

        Sean
      • Richard Risemberg
        ... Land-value taxation--the Henry George type of thing--encourages building by taxing the values that accrue to property from both private and public
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 1 10:04 AM
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          -----Original Message-----
          >From: Sean Brooks <seanbrooks@...>
          >Sent: Jun 1, 2006 8:15 AM
          >To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: [carfree_cities] local optimization
          >
          >
          >I agree wholeheartedly, but would like to point out that *part* of the
          >problem is allowing landowners to collect the benefit of public
          >infrastructure (transit, schools, public safety, utilites, etc.) in the form
          >of increased rents or increased land values. Each of these public
          >investments increases the value of land in it's cachement area, and is not
          >necessarily recaptured in increased property, income, sales, or other taxes.
          > The one tax that does directly capture this increase in value, the
          >property tax (assessed against land values) is also, unfortunately, assessed
          >against building values - in fact punishing those who would build more.
          >
          Land-value taxation--the Henry George type of thing--encourages building by taxing the values that accrue to property from both private and public improvements to the neighborhood. A vacant lot gets taxed as much as a built one, because it's value is increased by the value of the neighborhood as a whole.

          RR
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