Selling Smart Growth
Communicating The Direct Benefits of More Accessible, Multi-Modal
Locations to Households, Businesses and Governments
10 May 2016
Victoria Transport Policy Institute
Smart Growth is a general term for compact, multi-modal development where residents can minimize
transportation costs. This can provide many direct benefits to local residents, businesses and
governments. We can do better at communicating these benefits.
Households often make trade-offs between housing and transportation costs: they can choose a lower-priced home at the urban fringe that has higher transport costs, or pay more for a home in a more accessible and multi-modal, “Smart Growth” neighborhood where transport costs are lower. Urban fringe homes generally offer more space per dollar, and so appear to be better investments, but there are other economic factors to consider. By shifting household spending from transport to real estate, Smart Growth tends to increase household wealth, and by providing more affordable transport options it increases economic resilience. It increases mobility options for non-drivers, which increases their economic opportunities and reduces drivers’ chauffeuring burdens. Smart Growth reduces residents’ traffic risks, and improves their fitness and health. Smart Growth also increases real estate industry profits, local economic development and property tax revenues. This report examines these factors and describes how to communicate them to consumers, real estate professionals and policy makers.