Best Practice Actions [See action tools, guidance, city reports]
Optional for category A, B and C cities
All Category A, B and C cities that choose to implement this best practice are recognized upon completion of at least one action.
Accommodating and paying for city growth on the existing city grid and by expanding the grid at the same or higher population density has multiple and long-term financial (property taxes/acre), retail commercial, environmental and social benefits to a city. Returns on such public investments are high. The alternative - large-lot single-family neighborhoods outside the city grid and distant business parks and malls financed and maintained by anticipated future low-density development - cements in long-term, typically higher, costs for provision of city services such as transit, higher personal transportation costs and carbon emissions, and more driving and stormwater generation.
Building lot coverage is set by city codes for different zoning districts, and each city must decide on just how 'building-dense' one or more city districts will be, and how much open space and vegetation (which have benefits such as heat island mitigation) are required.
Changes in the density of selected zoning districts are best paired with changes in four other urban design elements to effect the greatest benefits, such as decreasing vehicle miles traveled. These elements - the 5 Ds addressed in other GreenStep best practices and modeled for effectiveness (elasticity) by the Metropolitan Council in 2010 - are:
connection to state Policy