In this weeks chapter of Levy’s Contemporary Planning he brings up economic development and how it goes hand in hand with Urban Planning. New projects within municipalities can open many opportunities for that municipality and can increase it’s income. Many towns try to create new projects in order to better their town but sometimes it is more about bringing in more dollars than helping better the community, sometimes there is overlap between these two outcomes but many times there is a very noticeable difference that hurts the parts of the community which is what makes the municipality what it is.
Luxury Housing projects, hotels, shopping centers, business buildings, and other similar types of projects are some examples of projects that can hurt a community. These projects attract businesses that were not once within a town and allow them to root themselves within the town but creating spaces for these businesses to inhabit takes time, space, energy, and dollars from the municipality. For the town to accumulate the dollars to create these spaces for new businesses and firms to use they raise taxes and costs of living for those already in the community. This is a huge problem. Some people already struggle to pay property taxes even rent. People struggle to pay for gas and put food on the table for them and their children and don’t have extra cash to spare but the towns economic development has the possibly of forcing them to cough up more cash and struggling more. Sadly for some this is not an option. Some people don’t have the means to cope with increases in taxes or rent and this forces them to leave such a municipality where costs are high and rising. This is unfair because these people were there before all of this development. They were locals trying to live and get by but new business forces them out making the municipality evolve in a way. Not only does it push out old residents it brings in new ones. This migration within the town can be good but it increases the competition for jobs and housing within the municipality making survival more difficult for the lower class.
However economic development does have it’s benefits. Although it can increase municipal cost and subsidies initially it can result in having money come back to the municipality at some point and possibly in larger portions making the trade off very beneficial for the municipality. Not only can economic development help with dollars and possibly jobs but it has the potential to make the municipalities spaces more attractive. They could decide when developing and economic plan to build up apart of town that wasn’t attractive or very useful and this can benefit everyone who can survive in the municipality after the changes.
Like any decision there are both benefits and consequences which means that there must be strong consideration and input for the community before and action is taken. I think that economic development especially needs input from the community because this spectrum of planning can directly hurt the pockets and lives of those within in a municipality and can go on to alter lives of the lower class and families which fall into that category.