The following are additional premises to the ideas that follow in the final section of this document.
- The projected 400,000 increase in San Jose’s population assumes a compound annual growth rate of approximately 1.35% per year. Based on the area defined in this paper, assuming the population increase is uniform across San Jose, the population of the Winchester Urban Village would increase from approximately 25,000 to 37,500.1
- Smart growth in the form of more compact communities (e.g. denser) can actually reduce the cost of city services on a per capita basis and increase per acre tax revenues.2
- Part of the idea of smart growth will be finding clever ways to build the right amount of public infrastructure without excessive developer fees or taxes (as those fees ultimately get passed onto renters or owners in the form of higher rents or home prices). At the same time, we must rethink the infrastructure, such that it lowers operational costs for the city (for instance the use of sensors and cameras could help leverage law enforcement staff).
- Greater supply of housing stock should help make individual living units more affordable with the caveat that improving the quality of life (e.g. more walkable, better services nearby, newer building stock, closer jobs) will tend to raise the average price of living units. In a scenario where the majority of housing stock becomes smaller, the value of existing single family homes should continue to increase given the fixed number of single family dwellings in a larger pool of smaller residences. That is, the 2,000 square foot home on a 8,000 square foot lot becomes a mansion in a denser environment, where the average dwelling drops to less than 1,000 square feet. 3
- The area will require a cost competitive, Fiber to the Home and fiber backbone infrastructure to compete with other areas and to assure not only smart growth, but that the Winchester Urban Village can be a “smart community”. A broadband fiber network is table stakes to be competitive with other communities.
- Automation and new technology promise to remove friction from the economy and make life much easier for the general populace. As machines literally begin to build machines and as micro-manufacturing using cloud-based 3D printing becomes widespread, the economy will transform from one of scarcity to one of abundance. There are potential downsides to this transformation. These downsides are somewhat global and can’t be fully addressed by local policymakers and planners.
- Entire classes of jobs will be eliminated. What will be the replacement jobs and will the replacement salaries be sufficient to allow people to live in this area? Some have expressed concern that this new economy will lead to a sort of digital feudalism.
- As services such as teleportation and goods delivery become commonplace, there is a potential for obesity to increase (more activities done via screentime) and face-to-face, human interaction skills may decrease.
- The tax base will change, as some goods diminish (e.g. taxes from auto dealers), while others rise (e.g. autonomous car sharing services).
- Autonomous vehicles, while freeing one up from the mundane business of driving and greatly improving safety, will take away control. Walking and biking could be an attractive alternative for those wishing to have more control over their mobility.
- There may be opportunities for the area to receive outside stimulus. For instance, in the current transportation bill being debated in Congress, “There are also plans to devote money to research in new technology, possibly creating a grant program similar to the X Prize or DARPA that would allow urban areas to build out model cities for automotive cars.” Or there may be incentives from private organizations, such as envisioned here.
“1City-Data population data used to calculate approximate starting population of 25,000 from approximately Hamilton to Stevens Creek. The population from Stevens Creek to Hedding was not included in this count. (back)
2For instance, see page 27 of the Victoria Transport Institute’s report which cites, “One study found that in Sarasota County, Florida, 3.4 acres of urban mixed-use development provides the same number of housing units as 30.6 acres of suburban housing, consumes about one-tenth of the land has only 57% the infrastructure costs, and provides 8.3 times as much tax return (PIP 2009).” http://www.vtpi.org/sg_save.pdf (back)
3For instance, see page 16 of the Victoria Transport Institute’s report (PDF), “Vancouver’s single-family housing prices approximately doubled during the last decade, and now average about a million dollars per house. However, apartment and townhouse prices increased less than inflation during the last seven years, indicating that Vancouver housing is relatively affordable to households that are willing to live in these compact housing types.” (back)