Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

The Value of Downtowns & Density

February 5, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

I’ve written a bit about this topic before, but just this past Monday Joe Minicozzi of Urban Three came back to Ithaca to deliver his talk at the Downtown Ithaca Alliance Annual Dinner. It’s a powerful presentation and argument on how assessed taxable values of property relate to value in a local economy, and that “smart growth”, density, and especially downtowns typically represent a huge value prospect compared to suburban and commercial strip development. The presentation has evolved since last year to include more information on municipal cost comparisons as well, which compound the importance of the argument, since they’ve uncovered that the municipal costs of sprawl typically outweigh the costs of dense development patterns, implying an inherent subsidy in the property tax system that benefits sprawl over density. (Joe brings up a good point in that we’ve known this to be true since the 1970s, when Richard Nixon commissioned a study called “The Costs of Sprawl“, which was updated again in 2000 and 2005)
Luckily enough for those that missed it, there’s actually quite a good video online of a presentation he’s done in Missoula, Montana (about 68,000 people), so here it is: