Joe Minicozzi explains how the creation of dense vibrant downtowns through good policy creates an economic engine for the City that help to reduce residents' tax burdens.
By Graham McNally
Published April 28, 2014
For Architecture Week 2014, and as a kick-off event for Doors Open Hamilton 2014, the Hamilton/Burlington Society of Architects (HBSA) is pleased to present Joe Minicozzi, an architect and urban planner, who will present his work focusing on the true cost of current city planning design and growth.
Tactical Taxation: Designing our City for Lower Taxes
Our current development policies and practises shape our city and have created the physical form of the City we live in. This has a direct relationship with the taxes we pay to maintain roads, sewers and other infrastructure. Also, the built form and density affect the tax revenue that the City earns from the land that makes up our City.
Currently, Hamilton residents own 6,200 kilometers of road - the equivalent of driving from Halifax to Vancouver, or about 12 m per person. As the city continues to grow out, the length of road, sewers and other infrastructure increases, raising the costs of maintenance - which in turn raises taxes.
For a more in-depth look at Hamilton's infrastructure and its cost, see HBSA member and local architect David Premi's article [PDF] in the Hamilton Spectator.
When we look at tax revenue per hectare, we quickly see that our built-up areas provide much higher tax revenues to the City than our lower density areas. Higher density development is a more efficient use of the land the City occupies.
When we intensify existing built-up areas, we leverage existing infrastructure rather than expanding it. More intensive development makes more efficient use of land, and the density leads to significantly higher tax revenue from residents and businesses.
Dense cities are more walkable, which lowers health costs while boosting economies and creating animated streets.
In other words, the creation of dense vibrant downtowns through intensification and good policy will create an economic engine for the City that help to maintain and/or possibly lower residents' tax burdens.
Following Joe's presentation, the HBSA has invited all registered mayoral candidates to be part of a panel discussion about the future of the City and their vision for the next five, 10 and 20 years. The panel will be moderated by Laura Babcock.
To get a sense of what Joe Minicozzi will say, here are some recent talk he has given:
The Math of Smart Growth:
NashvilleNext Speakers Series:
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