Eastphalia, US

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Strong Towns

The Strong Towns group has published a small booklet called "Curbside Chat", which gives a nice overview about how the current methods of metrogenesis, focused on sprawling new development and public infrastructure overspending, are going the wrong way about things.    The booklet shows how the promise of new property taxes isn't the golden egg it appears to be: the support the city will have to provide over the years will far exceed the benefit gained by new taxes.  That is, if you're state isn't stupid enough to ban property taxes altogether, but that's North Dakota's problem.  The booklet doesn't say that property taxes are good or bad, either way: the goal is that a city needs to look at long-term investment, and not focus on a series of short-term gains which are offset by long-term expense.   Giving developers deals in order to gain predicted taxes, while taking on additional utilities and street maintenance, is stealing from the future.   The booklet does go into some more Green-ish aspects, such as community agriculture, which isn't necessarily a fix for food scarcity nor an easy place to find workers willing to work for cost-effective hours and wages, is a bit on the edge, but the rest of the booklet is square on giving cities a fiscally-conservative goal while producing a progressive end, both of which make me optimistic for my community.

 

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