How to fix government policies that thwart demand for livable communities

Report calls for reforming tax code, regulations to promote livability

Residential and commercial real estate in livable communities accounts for only a small percentage of the total supply within the built environment, according to research. Yet data show that as many as 30 percent of consumers demand livable communities, variously described as those with adequate, affordable and environmentally sustainable housing, transportation and services. And the percentage appears to be rising among younger consumers entering the market.

“Promoting Livable Communities” is a report intended to respond to this demand, in part by recommending changes to the U.S. tax code and government regulations. The document was developed by organizations and associations that represent a broad portion of the design, construction, transportation and development sectors.

These coalition members support the livability principles espoused by the federal government’s Partnership for Livable Communities and believe that for the United States to remain globally competitive, it must maintain cities and communities that are globally competitive as well. The organizations are united by a mission to improve the capacity of markets and governments to support real estate products that embrace principles of complete neighborhoods and spur the creation of more livable communities.

This document proposes four recommendations that will enable the federal government to recalibrate the tax code and create models for livable communities that will hopefully define the next generation of American growth and development:

  • Adopt a consistent, and consensus-based definition for livable communities and high-quality development projects
  • Amend existing provisions in the Internal Revenue Code to promote livability
  • Form partnerships with states and communities to develop special livability tax districts
  • Adopt consensus-based standards to ensure housing affordability within livable communities

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