Sunday, February 20, 2011

Population Forecasts and Urban Planning

Although an important factor, there is a compl...
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More stuff that matters: the population forecast (The Dead Horse Times, June 2, 2010)

This article, while focussed on land use planning in Portland, has broader implications for quality of life and the environment as applied to other cities where population growth is expected.

Key Quotes:

“Of all the documents and data to be found at Metro.. one of the most important something which is far removed from transit, or urbanism, or infrastructure, or economic development, or any of the other nuts and bolts of planning and governance… it's the population forecast--the projection of how many people will live (and work) in the metro area at some point in the future.”

“Population forecasts drive land-use forecasts, which in turn drive transportation forecasts, which drive transit and infrastructure planning.   In other words, much of the plans being bandied about, are based on population forecasts:”

“The ability of a region to sustain a population (and to fund a given level of infrastructure) is limited by the amount of economic activity it can support.”

“increased population growth will bring on more headaches and expense then benefits.  This is an especially salient issue with the urban growth boundary--the level of urban reserves is such that if population projections were to come true, density of the region would increase, which many view as unwelcome news.”

“cities which lose population start to de-densify, and find themselves burdened with a ton of existing, underused infrastructure (which still must be maintained) and a declining tax base with which to pay for it”

“an excessive buildout of infrastructure that we end up not needing is a waste of money (and can produce results similar to depopulation, as it isn't just the up-front capital costs that matter).”
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