Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Cost of Sprawl

A little food for thought on smart growth.

For a suburban home in somewhere like Oakley California or Spring Texas it costs $8,500 per housing unit to provide water and sewer infrastructure. Compare that to in a neighborhood like West University in Houston or Berkeley California where that same house only costs $6,540 to hook up to the water and sewer if it were single family detached.

Now if it were attached in West U or Berkeley it would cost $5050. And if it were a multi-family unit it would cost a measly $3,800. So perhaps someone can elaborate on why a 500 home subdivision that includes roads in the suburbs (not included in the above numbers) is market driven while the 500 unit building downtown is subsidized. According to the research, that apartment complex downtown just saved $2,350,000 in water and sewer alone. That doesn't even count roads and the negative externalities of driving or detached housing and energy use etc etc etc.

Data from Sprawl Costs by Robert Burchill et al. from Island Press.

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