Growing Wealthier: Smart Growth, Climate Change, and Prosperity

By Chuck Kooshian and Steve Winkelman
Washington, DC (January 1, 2011)- This report by the Center for Clean Air Policy finds that smart growth practices can enhance community prosperity and generate economic benefits for local businesses, households, and governments. This study shows how reduced driving and efficient land use planning are strongly interconnected with economic growth and better quality of life.


Growing Wealthier reports that cities investing in public transportation and downtown development are experiencing cost savings, growing tax revenues, increased property values and higher retail sales. For example, downtown retail sales in Dallas, Texas, grew by 33 percent annually after the city’s light rail system began operation. In Portland, Oregon, a $100 million investment in streetcars helped attract $3.5 billion in private investments. And in Denver, Colorado, home values within a half-mile of stations on a light rail line rose by 18 percent from 2006-2008, while home values in the rest of the city declined by 8 percent during the same period.
The report also documents how efficient land use planning can improve household resilience to rising oil prices by enhancing travel choices. Allowing more people to live closer to job centers can boost employment rates and income levels for low-wage workers while reducing exposure to congestion for all. Smart growth policies are also shown to cut government infrastructure costs, enhance public health, and conserve natural resources.
Related Resources:
New Report Examines How Smart Growth Can Enhance Prosperity
Growing Wealthier: Smart Growth, Climate Change, and Prosperity