Infrastructure is NOT an economy booster.

In the early throws of the political campaign season, we are already hearing a promise of infrastructure creating new jobs, and revving up an economic engine.  However, decades of that practicing that philosophy has left us disappointed. Instead of resiliency, we find ourselves stuck in similar situation with the exception that we now have all this infrastructure on the books that we have to maintain.

 

Infrastructure

The problem of crumbling infrastructure is well documented and hilariously lampooned by John Oliver on his show “Last Week Tonight”

Roads are a money losing proposition.

StreetFilms produced this great 2 minute primer on how federal funding of new roads plays out over the course of time.

The Suburbs are a Ponzi Scheme. 

StrongTowns founder Chuck Marohn chronicles the development of the suburbs and explains how growth based on sprawl is essentially a ponzi scheme.

Strong Towns’ Chuck Marohn: Why Suburban Growth Is a Ponzi Scheme from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Resiliency of Urbanism

So what IS an economy booster? Business.  This year at the fest we are dedicating and entire screening block to short films about how quality urban design creates a positive atmosphere for businesses and ultimately economic resiliency. We’re not talking about attracting Google to or Amazon to put its headquarters in your neighborhood. We’re talking about small businesses that can benefit from being on a well designed street and that provide economic resiliency for your community.

Last year at the festival, we screened one example of this from Memphis TN. This year we have examples from over a dozen cities, where the urban design spurred economic revitalization.  Urban Planning is not just about getting more cars through an area, it is about creating places where people and communities thrive and yes that makes economies thrive as well.

Broad Ave – The Building of Business from Loaded For Bear on Vimeo.

We hope you’ll join us in Los Angeles October 8-11 for the 3rd Annual New Urbanism Film Festival as we explore this issue and a host of other important questions facing the growth of cities.