The Missing Metric
March 4, 2014
With the multiple crises of municipal insolvency, climate change and citizen pushback against government regulation at all levels, it makes sense to consider a new "balance-sheet" approach to granting development approvals. Such an approach would screen for more compact, high-value development that would pay back government's up-front infrastructure investments on a more rapid basis.
On first blush, the regulatory strategy would not seem compatible with Smart Growth and New Urbanism, both of which are strongly driven by urban design and physical form. Such models, which have gained wide acceptance among planners as preferred models for more sustainable community development, have proved difficult to implement within the regulatory structures that prevail in the United States and Canada.
By incorporating the "missing metric" into development review, municipalities may be able to reduce and even eliminate many cumbersome and highly subjective development regulations, and at the same time make it easier to achieve more amenable, resource-efficient and economically stable communities.
For a recent article by Peter Katz on the approach, visit www.gfoa.org/downloads/GFOAGFRAug13MissingMetric.pdf.