“Not all development is fiscally productive. Urbanization, or more accurately, sub-urbanization, is not necessarily prosperity.”

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File under “Things that occur to me as I listen to the mayor brag about Breakwater and Summit Springs.”

Or, “Things that I know local media won’t ask when the mayor brags about Breakwater and Summit Springs.”

Now, can we talk about the extreme degree to which “Summit Springs” sucks as a name for a development?

PLAYING “MONEYBALL” WITH YOUR CITY – AN APPEAL TO FELLOW CITY MANAGERS (AND OTHER STRONG CITIZENS), by Michael Kovacs (Strong Towns)

If you’re a sports fan, especially a baseball fan, you’ve probably seen the movie Moneyball with Brad Pitt. It’s the true-to-life story of the Oakland A’s and how manager Billy Beane, with a small budget to pay salaries, uses the expertise of his assistant’s math and statistics to figure out that players who get on base can make a big determination of whether a team will win or lose. They go on to win their first playoff series in years and made the playoffs for four consecutive years on their low budget. It’s a great movie. I highly recommend it.

Cities are a lot like a sports team, and what we do is similar to what Billy had to do. He had salary money and used it to get players for a value, who could get on base. As City Managers, we help set the direction of our cities with our planners and councils, and as we build out, we have a finite amount of land along with our finite ability to maintain and replace (ideally) the infrastructure we accept. We use up land in our respective city limits/extraterritorial jurisdictions, and accept infrastructure dedicated from developers in order to create tax base from the value of private investments made.

SNIP

It’s time to start deploying tactical planning, growing slow and steady, building on our existing grids, getting denser while creating place, and showing the real costs of developments to our policy makers. Let’s start going for walks and base hits. Get on base, and our cities will start winning.

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