In urban planning, there is considerable discourse about how to curb suburban sprawl, increase densities in the urban core and reduce the need to develop greenfields while accommodating population growth in metropolitan areas. One economic model that helps quantify the cost of suburban living versus urban living within US metropolitan areas is the “H + T Affordability Index” as developed by CNT. While this is a good tool for understanding the two variables, if the goal is to actually change housing decisions, other important variables that weigh heavily in this very personal choice must be considered. In many United States metropolitan areas, one such variable is whether the middle income and upper income population relies on private or public education within a specific neighborhood. When looking at urban neighborhood income statistics versus the income statistics of the neighborhood school, there is often a disparity (i.e., considerably higher poverty in the school versus the neighborhood as a whole) which is an indication that the upper income and middle income residents are choosing to pay for private education and have opted out of the neighborhood school. Using the major cities in Texas, USA and their surrounding suburbs as my study area, I demonstrate the impact of the education variable on the H + T + E model.This additional level of analysis can be useful to urban planners as they attempt to make urban living more conducive to all demographic groups while simultaneously improving the sustainability of the existing suburban footprint.
Rebecca Tudor, Twinrose Investments LLC, USA
Stream: Social Sustainability and Sustainable Living
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