Smart growth development boosts property values and local revenues, attracts investment, promotes efficiencies that increase productivity, innovation and economic performance, and is better able to attract a talented workforce. Smart growth initiatives such as increasing public transportation and reinvesting in existing communities also helps real estate to hold its value and weather economic storms.
Case study: Oklahoma City
To grow Oklahoma City’s economy, Republican Mayor Mick Cornett focused on increasing mass transit, economic diversification, urban renaissance, and civic beautification. These efforts have led experts to dub Oklahoma City’s economy “recession-proof.” As of January 2011, unemployment in the city was at 6.2% (compared to 9.4% across the country) and the city’s housing market is relatively strong. As a result, businesses are investing long-term in the city: Devon Energy is building a new, 50-story skyscraper for their world headquarters downtown and Sandridge Energy is currently undertaking a $100 million renovation on their downtown campus.
These changes have not gone unnoticed. Oklahoma City was ranked the Most Cost-Competitive City in America by KPMG, the #1 Best Place to Launch a Small Business by Fortune and the #1 Fastest Growing Large MSA in terms of Per Capita Income by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.