How much could Alabama towns save through smarter growth?

Towns and cities across the country have used smart development strategies to save money and increase revenue. New research from Smart Growth America reveals that every town in the country can improve their budget with this approach.

Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development, released today, collects local studies from across the United States comparing the costs and benefits of different development strategies.  Nearly every study included in the survey found a smart growth approach would benefit public finances.  The new report uses these local findings to inform national conclusions-and they are striking.


Investments in Regions Park and the surrounding neighborhoods exemplify the revitalization efforts taking place in downtown Birmingham.

1. Smart growth development costs at least one third less for upfront infrastructure construction. Across the studies, upfront costs for roads, sewers, water lines and other infrastructure cost an average of 38 percent less in the smart growth scenario. Some of the studies concluded that this number is as high as 50 percent.

2. Smart growth development saves taxpayers at least 10 percent on ongoing delivery of services. The ongoing cost of police, ambulance and fire services was an average of 10 percent less in the smart growth scenarios, thanks in large part to better street connections and in some cases the actual number of vehicles, facilities and personnel required to serve the neighborhood.

3. Smart growth development generates 10 times more tax revenue per acre than conventional suburban development. On an average per-acre basis, smart growth development patterns produced 10 times more tax revenue than conventional suburban development.

Taken as a whole, these findings represent an enormous opportunity for towns across Alabama and the country. Every municipality could cut costs and even raise revenue by making different choices about where and how to build.

Conservation Alabama is a coalition partner of Smart Growth America, and we are proud to be helping Alabama communities achieve many of the benefits outlined in this report. Today’s findings should make municipal leaders take a hard look at how development is impacting public finances, and how they can take advantage of this opportunity to improve the public’s bottom line.

Click here to download the full report from Smart Growth America.


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