“Online Tool Helps New Hampshire Municipalities Examine the Cost of Sprawl
GENEVA FAULKNER August 30, 2012
Urban planners can often find it difficult to assess the impact of sprawl in their municipalities. Calculating future infrastructure needs and the various fiscal impacts of different land use decisions can be challenging and time consuming. Enter New Hampshire’s new Cost of Sprawl tool (www.costofsprawl.org). The New Hampshire Cost of Sprawl (NHCOS) is an internet-based model to examine the impact of land uses and sprawl on municipalities in New Hampshire and allows planners to get a sense of the fiscal impact of certain land use patterns on municipalities. Created under the auspices of the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (NHOEP) and developed by RKG Associates, Placeways, and Urban Interactive Studio, this tool is geared toward town planners in New Hampshire.
Model creation involved two major and interrelated challenges. The first was compilation of a statewide database that contained an array of demographic, infrastructure, and financial attributes that had to be drawn from a variety of sources and normalized for use in the model. The second was determining which variables could be used to measure “sprawl-related” impacts, as opposed to, just the land use and fiscal impacts associated with any new development in a community.
The tool begins with users selecting one of the 239 municipalities that comprise New Hampshire. Once a municipality is selected, the user can choose a certain site within the particular municipality to explore in detail, which ranges from a parcel as small as 40 acres to an an entire community build out. Flexible site selection and comparative analysis makes this tool even more powerful, for it allows planners to see the impacts of both small-scale and large scale development.”
Via: Engaging Cities