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Susan Brooks

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How do we fix the sprawl?

I'm from Houston. Actually, just outside Houston, but near enough to it to make my point. I live in the suburbs. My city is very spawled. Once a city has already been built around the need of a car, how would/could that town "fix" the infrastructure to allow it to be more walkable? What's the first step? Who do I need to talk to in my local government to try to get these changes made?


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    Nov 21 2013: Do you mean there are incentives for building within already developed boundaries rather than developing new tracts of land, or increased density and multi use new developments? I am not a planner and don't have much personal experience; I am speaking more from the perspective of having lived most of my life in Europe with old established cities, good public transportation to get around the city and of course some suburbs connected to the city trough the public transportation. Here where I live subdivisions and houses are built all over and deep into the woods.
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      Nov 21 2013: Anairda,
      I am the one who mentioned incentives, so I assume this question is for me?

      Yes, our local zoning regulations, which are consistent with state and regional regs allow more unit development (planned unit development) on smaller parcels of land. With this plan and zoning regulations, a developer can put 3 buildings on an acre of land in the village designation, rather than one building on 2 acres outside the designated growth center. Even better, is building one large complex with multi use possibilities. So, ultimately, the developer is getting more money for one acre, because there are multiple units, with multiple uses.

      We also have a state economic development board which approves growth districts which are designated by the towns. When people develop or redevelop within the designated growth districts, there are tax credits available, and various grants that are not available to development outside the growth district. There are also tax credits and various grants available to encourage and support reuse/repurposing of old buildings.

      When we are planning high density, designated growth centers, transportation is an important consideration, including public transportation, as well as safe bike/pedestrian corridors.

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