According to Levy’s Contemporary Urban Planning, an important part of municipalities revenue is through property tax revenue. “Every development contributes, directly or indirectly, to municipal revenues through property taxes. Thus the patterns of land development will affect how heavily the community must tax its residents and the level of public services the community can provide” (Levy 2). An interesting strategy that municipalities and urban developers are trying to employ is using the sustainable development slogan as drivers of economic development. Cities are enacting projects that employs a “win-win intervention” that serves as “both a public space and an economic engine for the city’s sustainable growth machine” (Lang and Rothenberg). Cities have started to view new sustainable green space projects as something that is not only good for the community but also as source of new economic revenues, and their proof was the Highline. The idea of a win-win intervention agrees with the theory of a Non-Zero Sum Game. The theory of Non-Zero Sum game focuses on allowing competition to exist that is beneficial to both sides. The Highline redevelopment created an increase in more environmental awareness incorporated in city design with the benefit of economic development for the city . The creation of the Highline in the Chelsea district is estimated to garner “$900 million additional tax revenues” for a twenty-year period beginning in 2011 to 2032 (Tate and Eaton 45). At the commercial business level, the Highline has allowed small businesses to thrive, due to the huge amount of customer traffic businesses receive from the amount of people visiting the Highline. However, the Highline has still managed to serve its purpose of having a usable green space in an urban setting. As a result, this has started to push forth a trend of possible sustainable development in other cities. The Highline is one of the most successful sustainable redevelopment project in America, and cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago are trying to implement similar sustainable projects and are using the Highline as the baseline on what they want their projects to achieve. In my perspective, although these implementation of green sustainable project can be considered as a “win-win” situation, developers and municipalities still need to take into account the impact that it may have on neighborhoods. Green and aesthetically pleasing public spaces becomes an important feature that a neighborhood can have. As a result, this makes specific neighborhoods that have aesthetically pleasing public spaces a hot commodity for the real estate market, in turn raising property value and property tax. This increase in property value may lessen the affordability of the particular area, resulting into more people who have the money to pay for these higher prices to live in areas that have great public spaces, but then displaces original residents that can no longer afford the cost.
Levy, John M. Contemporary Urban Planning. 11th ed., New York, NY, Routledge, 2017.
Tate, Alan, and Marcella Eaton. Great City Parks. Routledge, 2015.