Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why the Smart Growth Legislative Package is important

Heidi and CT Smart Growth have written all the important details regarding the content of the Smart Growth Working Group legislative package; let me add a couple of things to that list.

Attending the January 26th event at 10 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford is important. We need to have as many voices as possible supporting this agenda to get it moving, specially with the present economic situation.

Why smart growth reform is important now? For starters, one of the main reasons that the state and local budgets are in such a terrible shape is because we have not been growing smart. Connecticut is an expensive state, made more expensive by bad planning that restrict the available housing stock. We either have big, expensive houses paying high property taxes in suburbs or cheap, generally low quality housing in the city cores paying even higher property taxes.

That does not help to attract jobs. Neither do the very high transportation costs, outdated infrastructure, high energy prices, the congestion, the very inefficient tax system, or the tendency to sprawl instead of making good use of what we already have in place.

The smart growth agenda is a comprehensive plan to address many of this issues directly or indirectly. It is a plan that includes not only short term savings but long term reforms. Connecticut needs to make big changes if we are too avoid this endless cycle of budget panics that seems to gripe the state every time that the economy goes South.

We will keep track of where each piece of legislation is once the package starts making its way through the legislature. Suscribe to our blog for updates!


  1. Good analysis of the connection between bad planning and the high cost of doing business. Too often, planning is seen as an impediment to business rather than a benefit. Short-term it may be more pleasing, and profitable to businesses and residents for the state, regions, and towns to adopt a laissez-faire attitude toward land-use and growth and let the cards fall where they may.

    Unfortunately, what is often forgotten is that developments and infrastructure built today stay with us for a very long time and many of the true costs do not become apparent until years later when maintenance and repair expenses begin to mount.

    Many of the expenses that the state is faced with today are the result of poor planning decisions, or a complete lack of planning, in years past. Viewed in this context, it is quite clear that good planning aimed at building, retrofitting, and utilizing infrastructure in the most sustainable and efficient ways possible, is a necessary condition the long-term economic viability of Connecticut and its towns and cities.

  2. Very good point. Any mistakes made in the layout of a town or region are set in stone (literally!) for a long, long time.