Professional Practice

Economic Models: Sustainable Neighborhood Planning

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Toolkits

The Economic Value of Walkability (Victoria Transport Policy Institute)
This paper describes the economic advantages of walkability and how neighborhoods benefit from increased basic mobility, consumer cost savings, reduced external costs, efficient land use, community livability, improved fitness and public health, economic development, and support for equity objectives.

Complete Streets Lower Transportation Costs (National Complete Streets Coalition)
This economic research study shows complete streets projects reduce transportation costs within communities.

Siting of School Facilities (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
The E.P.A. says a growing number of communities are siting schools to encourage smart growth and meet multiple goals (educational, health, environmental, economic, social, and fiscal) in the process.

Assessment Tools

Housing + Transportation Affordability Index (Center for Neighborhood Technology)
This tool allows homeowners to calculate the true cost of housing, meaning the added costs of transportation. 

Tree Benefits Calculator (Casey Trees)
With inputs of location, species and tree size, the Tree Benefit Calculator allows anyone to make a simple estimation of the environmental and economic benefits of an individual street-side tree. This easy-to-use assessment tool helps users calculate a tree’s dollar value in terms of its contribution to stormwater management, property value, energy conservation, air quality, and carbon sequestration.

Checklists

Benefits of Community Trees & Forests (University of Georgia)
This analysis of community trees and forests includes a list of quantitative data supporting their economic benefits.

Modeling Software

i-Tree (U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service)
i-Tree is a peer-reviewed software suite that helps users understand the local, tangible ecosystem services that trees provide by accurately calculating their value. i-Tree allows users to link urban forest management activities with environmental quality and community livability, helping them set priorities for more effective decision-making at a broad range of scales. 

Urban Forest Effects (UFORE) (U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service)
UFORE (otherwise known as i-Tree ECO) is the free version of i-Tree that provides urban forestry analysis and benefit assessment tools.

 

Case Studies

The Upside of a Down Economy: Going Local (Urban Land)
This article highlights two park projects, Discovery Green in Houston, Texas, and Campus Martius in Detroit, Michigan, which have spurred economic growth in depressed neighborhoods.

Solara Affordable Housing Community, Poway, California
This solar-powered, green affordable housing community took full advantage of tax credits and incentives to fund the $16.2 million project. 

Complete Streets Spark Economic Revitalization, West Palm Beach, Florida
In an effort to revitalize a barren downtown, West Palm Beach invested in sustainable transportation strategies, including pedestrian crossings, traffic calming measures, and streetscaping. As a result, commercial and residential property values along the improved corridors soared.

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