Planning expert: Suburban sprawl is the fast food of economic development

A noted city planning consultant from Asheville on Tuesday told Charlotte leaders that low-density suburban development is the junk food of local government – tastes good at first, but ultimately it’s bad for you.

Speaking at a seminar organized by the Sustain Charlotte advocacy group at UNC Charlotte’s Center City campus, Joe Minicozzi told about 30 attendees that he’s done studies in cities across the country that bear his theory out. He said compact urban development like what’s happening in Charlotte’s South End today produces far more tax revenue per acre than sprawling suburbs and big-box stores.

He used as an example his firm’s experience redeveloping a six-story building in Asheville. Buncombe County officials originally wanted to put a jail in the area, but Minicozzi’s firm, Public Interest Properties, argued that the county could get far more value out of the area by redeveloping it.

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