Where to Grow?
With a projected growth of approximately another three million people by 2O6O, where are these new people going to live and work? If we exclude growth from the environmentally sensitive areas, we are left with our agricultural lands, which may or may not be currently in use, and the lands that have already been built upon, either urban or suburban in character.
Under this approach transit ridership will be more significant in the future. Since the value of land increases along transportation corridors and intense usage of land helps financially sup- port transit systems, it makes logical sense that the priority for new development should take place along these corridors. Where will new rails and dedicated busways go? Preferably in areas that have already been developed, because the transit authority needs the ridership as soon as the new routes open. This will require adaptation of existing structures and replacement of others. The benefits of redeveloping previously developed properties are:
• Use of Existing Infrastructure and Utilities
Many utility companies already have capacity for growth built into their systems. Also there is efficiency by confining the ‘reach’ of a system. For example: when you expand a system of pipes farther out from the plant, you will still have to enlarge the pipes closer to the plant to take care of the additional usage. So it is more efficient to simply enlarge the pipes closer to the plant without extending the system.
• Reduction in the Cost of Providing Parking Spaces and in the Number of Large Parking Structures
New development can rely on the transit system and therefore fewer parking spaces will be needed.
• Flexibility for the Magnitude of Redevelopment
With existing streets and utilities in place, the amount that gets built at one time can be more responsive to market demands and economic conditions.
• Saving Farms
As insurance for an uncertain future regarding the cost of transporting food, the region will benefit by preserving land for future agriculture should the cost of shipping increase to the point where locally grown food becomes more viable in the market place.
• Cleaning of Contaminated Sites
They need to get cleaned up eventually, why not sooner rather than later?
Urban infill and densification of existing low-density suburban centers can accommodate the population with less stress on natural systems than greenfield development in the Northern counties. While it is neither likely, nor necessarily preferable, that single-family suburban residential areas densify, commercial areas along major arterials provide opportunities for conversion from single-story commercial to multi-story mixed-use, thus “growing up, and not out.”