Out of Control Policy Blog

Smart Growth Bad for Massachusetts

This Boston Herald op-ed by NAIOP's David Begelfer notes that "smart growth" may not be so smart for Massachusetts:

    "There are those who believe that "smart growth" might be the solution for Massachusetts. However, by limiting future growth to town and city centers or near overburdened mass transportation stations (to the exclusion of other areas), the commonwealth is further exacerbating an already dire situation. Limited opportunities for growth drive up the costs of doing business. Thus, as proven by the statistics above, companies will choose more business-friendly and affordable states over Massachusetts.

    To remain competitive Massachusetts needs to increase its housing stock by building where people want to live - not where policy makers would prefer they reside. Studies find the majority of people moving to the areas of the country experiencing the greatest growth prefer to live in suburban areas with open space. Ignoring market demand and business needs is simply not smart growth and will continue to keep us unaffordable for new workers.

    Though the preservation of land cherished by the people of the commonwealth is integral to our future, many "smart growth" regulatory proposals are intended to prohibit or discourage well-designed projects solely based on their location. If municipal, state and business leaders do not promote efficient, compact housing and mixed-use developments where they are needed, and if we, as citizens, do not demand it, we all eventually will pay the price."

For more on smart growth in Massachusetts, check out my recent post on the lack of enthusiasm among municipalities for the Commonwealth's smart growth plan.

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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