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Metropolitan Forces Affecting Neighborhoods

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Topic 3

Slide Show:
Metropolitan Forces and Neighborhoods
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Planning and Placemaking UMSL
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Metropolitan Forces Affecting Neighborhoods
& Urban Growth Management:
City and regional change have important neighborhood impacts. The region's vitality and economic growth can slip away from older neighborhoods and focus on the urban fringe. For example, the City of Detroit is in crisis while the Detroit region continues to grow. Metropolitan governments can subsidize growth at the urban fringe, sometimes without knowing it, and fail to be good stewards of existing schools, parks, and infrastructure. This section focuses on the Planned Growth Strategy in Albuquerque, N.M. (PGS). The PGS attempts to guide urban growth in order to revitalize older neighborhoods and small businesses, and to foster community in new areas. The federal Sustainable Communities program announced in 2010 begins to address these issues and may signal an increase in assistance to cities for the first time since the ramp-up of the Vietnam war in the mid 1960s.


Louis Colombo, "The Albuquerque Metropolitan Area Planned Growth Strategy: A Comprehensive Urban Growth Management System", 2003.
Reading #1 (pdf)

John Logan and Harvey Molotch, Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), Ch. 3, "The City as Growth Machine", pp. 50-98.
Reading #4 (pdf)

Douglas Porter, Managing Growth in America's Communities, (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1997). Ch. 2, "Growth Management Approaches and Techniques".
Reading #9 (pdf)

Development Impact Fees. A development impact fee system was adopted in Albuquerque in 2004 as part of implementing the Planned Growth Strategy. The fees are calculated based on the "marginal" instead "average" costs of growth. In other words in locations where the public costs of infrastructure are higher (such as the urban fringe), impact fees are greater. In contrast, in older neighborhoods impact fees are much lower or near zero. This sends the right economic signal and supports policies calling for the renewal of older neighborhoods. The local streets development impact fees are an example of how these were calculated. See: Tindale-Oliver & Assoc. Inc, "2004 Roadway Facilities Impact Cost Study", 2004. Reductions to impact fees were adopted to encourage jobs closer to housing (jobs-housing balance), affordable housing, and redevelopment and transit corridor enhancements. The legislation adopting these reductions is: Bill No. R-04-159, Michael Cadigan sponsor, "Establishing Interim Council Policy Regarding Lower Impact Fees ", 2004.

Cost of Schools. Well-functioning community schools are at the center of good quality neighborhoods. For more than a half century, the human resources who can sustain education have left city neighborhoods for the urban fringe, resulting in a concentration of poverty especially in urban public schools. The fault here is more a failure of political leadership, effective government, and consistent foundation and university support rather than any individual blame. The graphic attached, "School GSF vs. Enrollment", indicates that, in Albuquerque, development at the urban fringe increased demand for school facilities while total school enrollment fell district-wide. Mostly because of population shifts, at the same time that new schools were needed on the fringe, 5,000 empty seats could be found in older neighborhood schools. This represented about $140 million in unutilized assets. (And this situation is repeated for all public facilities like streets, water, sewer, and hydrology lines, parks, and libraries.) The situation is worse in older industrial cities like St. Louis and Kansas City, where community school landmarks with great sentimental attachment are at risk. The destruction of these buildings, when it occurs, sends a strong negative message to long-term neighborhood residents about the place's future. The residents of established neighborhoods, in places like Albuquerque, subsidize schools at the fringe. The average cost of school facilities in new growth areas there was determined to be $13,000 per single family house. In New Mexico, real estate interests consistently prevent Development Impact Fees from being assessed for school facilities. As a result, a maximum "voluntary" fee of $3,000 per house was agreed upon by development interests, regardless of where the house was built (even in areas with under-enrolled schools), representing less than 25% of the actual cost.

Joint Planning Beween Schools and Local Government. New schools can be a powerful force causing and reinforcing sprawl, or can be integrated into a growth management system. Good regional growth management means effective joint facility planning, land use regulations, and financing provisions between local governments and school systems. Although some local governments control public education, most are separate governmental entities. In those cases, approaches like a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) can establish inter-government working relations. JPAs, in some states, can create a new agency of state government and are more durable and flexible arrangements. Joint school planning is effective when based on local Adequate Public Facilities (APF) regulations. APF rules call for adequate school facilities to be available or programmed as a condition of obtaining development approvals for new housing. This procedure is described in the following article: Richard Drucker, "Adequate Public Facility Criteria: Linking Growth to School Capacity", 2003. An example of a similar system is contained in the Volcano Heights Sector Plan for the city of Albuquerque. This system included a growth phasing and timing plan for a 3,500 acre area slated for 20,000 new residents, and a process for issuing "conditional" building permits based on the availability of adequate funds for programmed new schools. If such funds were lacking, developers (among other sources of revenue) could voluntarily make contributions to address any short-fall and create the school capacity required to allow development to move forward. This section of the Volcano Heights Plan is found in the link: "VII Implementation", Volcano Heights Sector Development Plan, 2006.

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Selected Readings (pdf)
Metropolitan Forces

Subtopics inside:
Albuquerque Planned Growth Strategy
Urban growth and growth management
Growth management techniques

Planned Growth Strategy - Complete Report. The following links are to the entire PGS report. This has been provided to improve access to the material. Please note that some of these files are quite large and will take time to download.

PGS Part I. Findings Report.
- Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, Chapter 1: Introduction, Chapter 2: Development Trends;
- Chapter 3: Alternative Scenarios;
- Chapter 4: Infrastructure Costs;
- Chapter 5: Policy, Regulatory, and Plan Review, Appendix A - Alternative Scenario Tables, Notes, References;
- Chapter 6: The Benefits of Growth to the Bernalillo County Economy, 2000-2020, Appendicies B, C, and D, Notes, References.

PGS Part II. Preferred Alternative.
- Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, Chapter 1: Introduction and Rationale (First Part);
- Chapter 1: Introduction and Rationale (Second Part);
- Chapter 2: Preferred Alternative - Subarea Descriptions, Chapter 3: Preferred Alternative-Summary, Chapter 4: Examples of Mixed Use Redevelopment Projects in Other Cities, Notes;
- Chapter 5: Level of Service Standards and the Planned Growth Strategy, Chapter 6: Financial Implementation of the Planned Growth Strategy Preferred Alternative, Chapter 7: Planned Growth Regulatory Structure Approaches, Chapter 8: Combining the Level of Service Standards and Financial Implementation; Chapter 9: City and County Financial and Planning Requirements, Notes;
- Chapter 10: Growth Strategy Techniques Used in Other Locations, Notes, Appendicies A and B, Chapter 11: Planned Growth Regulatory Structure Outline, Notes, Shared Vision Projects: Creating a Sustainable Future Through Quality Growth, Report on a Planned Communities Forum.

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Dr. Louis Colombo & Ken Balizer, AICP