Crime And Property Values Essay Research Paper

Crime And Property Values Essay, Research Paper From homeowners worried about crime and property values om Frogtown to Burnsville commuters whose drive on Interstate 35W gets

Crime And Property Values Essay, Research Paper

From homeowners worried about crime and property values om

Frogtown to Burnsville commuters whose drive on Interstate 35W gets

slower each year, no one is immune to sprawl’s effects.

It sets Bloomington against Lakeville in competition for new industry and

pits Brookdale’s comedown against Maple Grove’s hope to attract a new

regional mall. It makes highways more crowded and mass transit less

viable. It requires more roads and sewers and higher taxes to pay for


It has economic effects as well, separating unemployed people living in

cheap city housing from low-wage jobs in developing suburbs. It causes

blight to spread from growing pockets of Minneapolis and St. Paul into

first-ring suburbs.

Even in a developing suburb like Eagan, Mayor Tom Egan worries about

predictions that sprawl could creep another 50 miles south to Lake City.

If that happens, Eagan too could become a casualty of sprawl. Reduced

demand for housing could cause property values to stagnate. Tax rates

would have to increase to produce funds needed to pay off bonds sold to

finance schools, parks and roads.

“It’s hard to know where the lines are anymore,” he says.

But sprawl has complex and manifold features. So what’s the problem?

Rising concentrations of poverty in central cities and older suburbs: In

Minneapolis and St. Paul, growing sections of the cities lost

working-class and middle-class residents and became home to poor

families. The proportion of census tracts with 20 percent or more of

households living in poverty rose from 9.4 percent 1980 to 15 percent in

1990. Crime rose along with poverty. Older suburbs like Bloomington,

Fridley, St. Louis Park, Richfield, West St. Paul and South St. Paul

showed similar trends.

“It’s not that they’re bad places to live,” says Lyle Wray, Citizens

League director. “It’s just that this may be the last generation to want to

live there. What do we do with obsolescent housing? How do you

recycle cities?”

More congested highways and no money to build new ones: Traffic on

Twin Cities highways grows 3 percent to 4 percent a year. But with a

decline in federal highway and transit funding and resistance to

increasing the state gas tax, the transportation system has only enough

money to maintain and repair the current system. With more traffic and

no new highways, there will be more congestion.

“Keep fitting that growing foot into the same shoe,” says Bob McFarlin,

public affairs director for the Minnesota Transportation Department.

“Pretty soon growth will outstrip our ability to manage it.”

The state is considering proposals for toll roads and congestion pricing.

Such measures would dramatically increase the cost of commuting.

Meanwhile, bus fares have risen and service been reduced.

Shift of employment to the fringe: Between 1990 and 1995, two-thirds

of the region’s job growth was in developing suburbs or in free-standing

cities like Stillwater and Hastings. Central-city residents without cars

can’t get to jobs in distant suburbs, and suburban employers often have

trouble attracting enough workers. Some companies opt to expand

outside the region, taking their jobs and tax base with them.

Polluted land deters many employers from locating in central cities and

older suburbs. In a 1993 study, University of Minnesota researcher

Barbara Lukerman found that environmental liability had the greatest

impact on location decisions made by Twin Cities companies. The two

central cities and first-ring suburbs were at a significant disadvantage.

They had almost two contaminated sites per square mile, compared to

about one per square mile in developed suburbs, one in every 2.5 square

miles in developing suburbs and one in every 10 square miles in rural


Of more than 44,000 acres developed in the Twin Cities for commercial

and industrial use in the 1980s, only 1,400 acres were in fully developed

suburbs and only 100 acres were in Minneapolis and St. Paul, she found.

Leapfrog development beyond urbanized counties: Since 1980, Wright

and Sherburne counties have experienced dramatic growth. During the

1980s, the number of households grew 52 percent in Sherburne County

and 25 percent in Wright County. A large portion of those residents drive

into the Twin Cities for work. This produces more air pollution, pressure

on highways and consumption of farm and forest land. Other byproducts

include groundwater pollution from septic system failure and fierce

annexation fights between towns and neighboring townships.

Even areas like St. Cloud experience traffic congestion, sprawl into

scenic areas and concentrations of poverty at the urban center.

“If we don’t do something on how we plan and how we want to grow,

we will become one undifferentiated metro area with the Twin Cities,

there’s no question about that,” says Rep. Joe Opatz, a St. Cloud DFLer.

“We are beginning to see the disparity between the urban core and the

outlying development.”

Rising local taxes and fees: Developing suburbs often require large lots

in hopes of attracting more expensive homes with higher property taxes

and lower social costs. But such development patterns exclude

moderate-income families and incur high costs for sewers, schools and


A detailed 1992 study by economists at Rutgers University estimated that

by concentrating population and job growth in already developed areas or

in new urban centers, New Jersey municipalities and school districts

would save $400 million a year.

Metro Council staff estimates it will cost $3.1 billion for new sewers and

water systems if the current low-density development — about two units

per acre — continues as the region’s population rises by 650,000 between

now and 2020. They say the region’s taxpayers could save $600 million in

public infrastructure costs by concentrating development.

Loss of farmland and open spaces: Between 1982 and 1992, Minnesota

lost 2.3 million acres of farmland. Washington County lost 26,000 acres

of farmland, or 20 percent of its total. Hennepin County lost 29 percent

and Anoka 17 percent. This reaches beyond themetropolitan area:

Chisago County lost 19 percent; Olmsted 7 percent.

Environmental pollution: More sprawl means more driving, which sends

more carbon monoxide and other pollutants into the air. More paved land

also means that more phosphorus and other pollutants flow into storm

sewers, rivers and lakes, rather than soaking into the ground.