Urban Sprawl

Taxes And Other Impacts


What Is Urban Sprawl?

Is the rapid expansion of a city or town that creates suburbs comprised mainly of low-density residential housing.


Why Is Urban Sprawl An Issue?

Spread out suburbs generate less property tax revenue than more compact communities. This leads to the suburb not generating enough property taxes to properly maintain its infrastructure and expand City services. We need to build sustainable communities that pay for themselves, thus allowing the City of Calgary to increase its tax base without increasing its tax rate. Urban Sprawl means that our revenues and do not keep pace with expenses as the City grows.


The Solution

Studies show that adding density to newer communities and having a long-term plan to address growth means the City can have its revenues keep pace with its expenses. By building communities that have higher density housing, we not only increase our revenue base without increasing taxes, we also create more affordable housing in Calgary.

For more on Urban Sprawl, click here for an article that goes into greater detail on the subject.

What Happens When You End Urban Sprawl?

Evanston, Illinois put an end to Urban Sprawl. As a result, they were able to increase the quality of service they provide and decrease their taxes over 40 years.

Don’t just take my word on it, you can read the full article and history here.

There Are A Lot Of Resources Available About The Subject

To truly understand the impacts of Urban Sprawl and why it must end, I encourage you to study the subject. Below are links that I used in my own studies to better understand how we can improve life in Calgary without increasing taxes.


The Benefits Of Ending Urban Sprawl

Increase Revenue Base Without Increasing Taxes

As a City grows, its expenses to maintain the City also grow. Low-density communities typically do not bring in enough tax revenue to pay for future maintenance and the services the community requires. This means service cuts or tax increases. We need to build communities that add more revenue than expense to the City’s budget.

Less Pollution, Less Road Maintenance

Spreading outwards means building more roads, as Urban Sprawl usually makes transit extremely expensive to do effectively. So this means that we will have more people driving, adding pollution to the air, and causing additional wear on our road system. Adding density and properly funding transit means less pollution, and less maintenance on City roads.

More Small Businesses

Ever wonder why we don’t see lots of small businesses in new communities? It’s because suburbs have low population density and usually aren’t employment hubs. This means that there aren’t enough customers for the businesses in that area or they usually shop elsewhere closer to where they work. Building communities with density will make it easier for small businesses to thrive, as well as allow us to create more employment opportunities closer to people’s homes.