As infill projects in Denver and other Colorado cities continue to proliferate, the higher density can be viewed as good news, according to a recent study by Smart Growth America.
The study updates an earlier report in 2002 that has been used to examine the costs and benefits of sprawling development. The new study confirmed earlier data that suggests that less urban sprawl results in higher quality of life.
“Individuals in compact, connected metro areas have greater economic mobility,” according to Smart Growth America. For every 10% increase in an area’s compact index score, notes the report, there’s a 4.1% increase in the probability that a child born to a low income family will rise to top income levels by age 30.
Those in compact metro areas also spend less on the combined cost of housing and transportation and enjoy greater choice in transportation options. They “tend to live longer, safer, healthier lives than their peers in metro areas with sprawl,” according to the study’s findings. In addition, compact areas see a lower rate of obesity and fatal car crashes.
Several Colorado cities scored well in the study’s measurements of compactness and connectedness: Out of 221 areas studied, Boulder ranked 16th ; Fort Collins 59th; Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, 92nd; and Greeley 109th.