The Economic Benefits of Regional Planning
Chapter 25- the Economic Benefit of Regional Planning is about the value of proper allocation of resources in both rural and urban areas. Regional planning entails strategies for the development of cities or towns. A regional area can have many towns or cities which make up urban centers. A region can cover a single city or an urban to multiple cities. The region could have underdeveloped or inhabited areas as the area covered is extensive. In that way, uninhabited, forests, wastelands, villages, rivers, and other natural features are part of the regional plan. When a regional plan has to cut across state boundaries, it thus requires partnership with municipalities or different government.
Summary of the Chapter
In this chapter, the author asserts that economic influences are regional and extended beyond counties, states, or political boundaries. As metropolitan economies get widely acknowledged, it seems reasonable to assume that excellent regional planning is related to improved economic performance. The challenge, however, is obtained support evidence for such a claim for lack of standard definition of success. According to the chapters, it is unclear whether success is determined by job incomes, affordable housing ad low taxes (Jones 268). Even with uncertainties to measure the rate of return from regional planning, impacts of regional economic dynamics cannot be ignored or fail to turn their benefits to stakeholders. The chapters also point that when it comes to the economy, proximity is an essential factor. As such, the distance between urban and nearby regions play a role since the economies of cities influences the surrounding.
Main Economic Concepts
Major economic concepts noted in the chapter include employment, housing, and mobility in terms of transport and communication. People in suburban areas rely on nearby cities or towns, for example, the New York Metropolitan region. Individuals need the urban for economic well-being whereby a city like New York has financial industries driving growth to the suburban counties. Also, in the California metropolitan, housing markets in the suburbs are closely linked to urban. Studies behind this information obtained that prices of the house changed within the central cities and correlated with nearby suburbs. As the urban areas grow, the economic relationship between metropolitan areas and adjacent regions is evident. While looking at the studies for regional plan association (RPA), economically, it is obtained that both employment and housing prices changes correlate, especially across the US megaregions (Jones 270). Cooperation between local and state boundaries has an economic benefit to overlapping labor markets.
Public Policy Issues
A significant public policy issue in this chapter is how regional governance approaches fiscal inequalities. The chapters give case studies as insight on how leadership approaches financial plans in regions. For example, the area of Minneapolis-St Paul addressed its economic issue on a regional scale, forming the Twin Cities Metropolitan council in the year 1967 (Jones 269). The formed body came to an expansion in the year 1994. St. Paul region covers about 2.8 million people from seven counties that have a total of 187 cities and towns (Jones 269). According to the Minnesota financial disparity act of 1971, municipalities were required to shares growth of regions, lower tax base competition, and expand the value of a regional public investment. The primary goal aimed at achieving regional equity. However, efficiency and growth became significant challenges to this policy. The bill promoted proper planning through the encouragement of regional cooperation and providing extra resources for re-development. A justification for this approach is that communities around contribute industrial and commercial wealth that help support infrastructures, provide homes for customers as well as employees.
Another public policy concern is building a consensus for population growth in a region like the west coast. According to this chapter, the critical step of regional planning is to recognize that people are part of the area. Municipalities in southern California work through the association of government to come up with a plan for projected population growth. As such, the metropolitan communities came up with a compass blueprint plan to guide the growth in a way that will produce better mobility, prosperity, livability, and sustainability. The blueprint plan focus development in cities, suburb as well as transportation routes. The blueprint seeks to change current land use by 25 of the total land in the region. Typically, by focusing on such as small change of the region’s land, it is anticipated that there will be tremendous benefits. The compass blueprint plan has mapped areas for planning, zoning, infrastructure to take place when the anticipated population of 25 million people in 2025 will be acquired. Providing better access to employment, housing, conservation of open spaces, renovation of the urban core, and creation of wealth through increased property values are the targets by the plan. The southern California association of governments has a lot of influence as a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for big counties (Jones 271). However, the agency is limited in coercive power when it comes to land use in municipalities within the ambit. The policy of Compass blueprint is implemented via a voluntary process.
Empirical Data Mentioned
The chapter employs empirical data of 2005 to refer to that major re-development plans were in the process, and there are lessons to learn when implementing the compass blueprint policy. For instance, distribution impact can be vital to impact on aggregate growth. With that, it means that regional policies can manage inequalities and efficiency to bridge social divides- a threat to collective actions. Empirical data from the regional governance in Twin cities are applied as positive lessons to explain the longevity of a unique system. A 2005 report from the metropolitan council of twin cities reported a $273 million annual tax base, reduction in tax base disparities, reduced ratable chase, and more net financial gainers (Jones 271). About 129 municipalities gained compared to 52, which lost. Thus, data like this proves the importance of addressing both winners and losers to show an aggregate benefit to regions and know the source of oppositions.
Indeed, I am persuaded by the chapter which cites empirical data to prove some arguments that the economic benefits of a region depend on the proximity. In my opinion, such is true because regional plans take into account existing conditions of a given area and its surrounding. Urban areas are the core of having a development plan. And ought to take account of existing plans to help understand a vision and formulate better policies. From the chapters, the southern California association of government takes into account of 2005 data of Twin cities to better the Compass blueprint policy. I agree that regional plans may help an urban area through decongestion if the need for satellite cities or cities developing nearby are catered. The obvious impact of regional economic dynamics cannot be ignored even with limited ways to measure the rate of return. Such a claim is valid since one example of regional economic impact is better resource utilization.
Jones, Christopher. Chapter 25: The Economic Benefits of Regional Planning. Rutgers University Press, 2011, pp. 268-272.
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