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Growing Cooler The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change. The three-legged stool. V ehicle M iles T ravelled. Fuel carbon content. MPG. We need progress on all 3 legs, but climate policy discussions have mostly ignored VMT. VMT growing faster than population.
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and Climate Change
We need progress on all 3 legs, but climate policy discussions have mostly ignored VMT
Growth of VMT, vehicle registrations, and population in the United States relative to 1980 values
…Does it look like we have any other choice?
The total amount of miles we drive will grow 59 percent
Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy
Compact, walkable neighborhoods cut VMT
by an average of
(With higher ranges possible)
Driving vs. Residential Density
Miles Driven per Household
- - - - LA
--- - - Chicago
-- mid-rise condos
People who live in neighborhoods with the lowestwalkability drive:
On weekends, those in most walkable drive 40% less
SMARTRAQ report, 2007
Meeting the growing demand for
conveniently located homes in
walkable neighborhoods could
significantly reduce the growth
in the number of miles
Americans drive, shrinking the
nation’s carbon footprint while
giving people more housing
Reconnecting America, Hidden in Plain Sight, 2005
Smart Neighborhoods: model overlay ordinances designed to help local governments encourage mixed-use and compact development within the framework of conventional zoning.
Maryland Smart Neighborhoods and Infill Development Models
Mixed-Use Zoning Districts
Mixed-use overlay aimed at encouraging market-driven, mixed-use development and higher-density residential projects. (ex: City of Anaheim, CA).
Help to establish template for high-density, mixed-use while retaining existing zoning
For established single-use areas with predominately commercial, office, and retail uses to add housing element while maintaining code requirements
Incentive-base Zoning (University Neighborhood Overlay in Austin, TX)
Small-lot Subdivision Ordinance
Streamlines subdivision and entitlement process to encourage infill development (City of Los Angeles)
SMART-CODERural-Urban Transect – The zones within the SmartCode are designed to create complete human habitats ranging from the very rural to the very urban. Where conventional zoning categories are based on different land uses, SmartCode zoning categories are based on their rural-urban character. All categories within the SmartCode allow some mix of uses. SmartCode zoning categories ensure that a community offers a full diversity of building types, thoroughfare types, andcivic space types, and that each has appropriate characteristics for its location.
To develop new, mixed-use neighborhoods with the following characteristics:
Relatively self-contained new communities with a compact mix of residential, commercial, employment/office, and civic land uses and range of housing choices, with a design that fosters pedestrian and bicycle activity, public safety, environmental protection, long-term investment, efficient use of infrastructure, and efficient provision of public services.
Large infill and greenfield sites, located within priority funding areas.
2. Socioeconomic diversity
3. Transportation choice
4. Environmental quality
5. Sustained economic health
6. Sense of community
7. Logical extension and integration of communities
“score-cards”, decision-making tool
- Livable Communities Coalition in Atlanta
- Smart Growth Criteria Matrix in Austin. TX
Mixed-use projects carry the dual burdens of decreased certainty of approval and perceived increase in risk. In order to encourage mixed-use development, jurisdictions need to provide developers with increased certainty of approval, incentives, or a reduced share of the costs of public amenities.
1. Property tax abatements
3. Low interest loans
4. Preferential fee structuring
5. Rebate or payback programs to ensure contiguous development.
6. Priority status for development review
7. Align capital improvement program (CIP) to ensure the provision of adequate public facilities in smart neighborhood areas.