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Thread: Private development sparks urban and economic growth?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Private development sparks urban and economic growth?

    The GF and I watched Batman begins this past Friday, and I was shocked with Planning in the themes. One of the tasks that Bruce Wane’s dad took on in part to achieve glory, but also as a public benefit project was to create a cheep efficient light sky-rail system in Gotham to encourage economic growth.

    It got me thinking about real life examples where large scale private development projects such as a rail system, sports arena, or other similar feature has sparked new economic growth. I know that Van Andel Arena and Devoss Place in Grand Rapids helped spur redevelopment.

    I also remember an article in Planning Magazine that talked about how private industry and the creation of a private organization (Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated) sparked the turnaround in economic growth in Kalamazoo’s center city.

    What are some other cases that it has worked in the past, and how would we encourage and give direction to these types of projects?
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    The GF and I watched Batman begins this past Friday, and I was shocked with Planning in the themes. One of the tasks that Bruce Wane’s dad took on in part to achieve glory, but also as a public benefit project was to create a cheep efficient light sky-rail system in Gotham to encourage economic growth.

    It got me thinking about real life examples where large scale private development projects such as a rail system, sports arena, or other similar feature has sparked new economic growth. I know that Van Andel Arena and Devoss Place in Grand Rapids helped spur redevelopment.

    I also remember an article in Planning Magazine that talked about how private industry and the creation of a private organization (Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated) sparked the turnaround in economic growth in Kalamazoo’s center city.

    What are some other cases that it has worked in the past, and how would we encourage and give direction to these types of projects?
    Well, pretty much anything using rails, including most urban transit projects, before WWII were built with 100% private money and initiative. As an economic development incentive, for example, several of Chicago's elevated lines were built before the neighborhoods reached them. This was almost SOP for surface trolley (now called 'light rail') lines everywhere, too. Many were even built by developers. Build the streetcar or elevated line first and the development will quickly follow.

    Granted, many places offered incentives like free right-of-way, including the western land grants, but their actual construction and operation were 100% private. In more recent times, the surviving urban transit lines were 'socialized' when they could not compete head-to-head with cars.

    Mike

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    Build the streetcar or elevated line first and the development will quickly follow.
    Nowadays, the state and federal governments build the highways, and the development quickly follows. Same theory but different way of approaching it.

  4. #4
    The Austrian School definition of economic growth is 'an investment that yields increase productivity'. It's possible that an efficient public transportation yields higher productivity by moving workers around faster, with lower stress, etc.

    Not all development is economic growth however, you may just be displacing the economy from one area to another. Building a Walmart that shuts down twenty small businesses isn't economic growth.

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