“New Math” is Gaining Steam Across the Country

Skyscrapers in Denver

Urban3 is gaining more and more press in communities around the country. An article in Forbes’ Citi’sVoice, written by Darren Dahl highlight Urban3’s work as a potential paradigm shift in land use economics. The numbers are beginning to show that large-scale suburban development patterns are economically unsustainable.

Joe Minicozzi, Principal of Urban3, breaks it down. “Cities are human inventions that are thousands of years old. The creation of suburbs is a recent phenomenon and we’re struggling how to pay for them.” Suburban sprawl not only costs more to maintain, as Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns illustrates, but it produces less tax revenue on a per-acre basis than downtown-style development. Joe’s work from the Sonoran Institute found that in nine communities across Mountain West, downtown parcels, on average, produce 5x the property tax revenue as conventional single-use commercial properties on the town fringe.

Urban3’s “new math” remains true from Fresno to Gwinnett County, GA. Will it continue to help policy makers realize the impacts of different development patterns in their communities?


I titled today’s post for “today”.  Its been a day filled with interesting activity and dynamic conversations.  Atlantic Cities published an article today that goes a little deeper into the work we’ve done in Asheville and the work of Public Interest Projects, our parent company.  I really enjoyed the dialog with Emily, and it was excellent to have a more mainstream conversation about the work and how its applicable across the country.  Though I knew this article was going to run, I wasn’t expecting it today.  With any post, the commentary provides for interesting perspective, as well as some future studies.  Additionally, its neat to see where things go with pick-ups.  My favorite by far, has been where Grist has gone with the Atlantic post.  Its amusing what they’ve selected for the title (I don’t know what that says about their preference?).  In a way, they’ve taken the bait on the message and missed the metaphor.  Though, what is most important is the information is out, and more people are exposed to the information.  Fun stuff.

If this didn’t make the day interesting enough, I had a spectacular conversation with Ben Schulman (CNU) and Richard Oram (Oram Foundation).  Its always great to have a big picture conversation on the state of community design across the country and hear great stories of all the good work that is going on to make the world a better place.