I came across an interesting paper on the redevelopment of the City and Port of Copenhagen. There are many specific projects and techniques that won’t apply in the United States, but a few of my takeaways that might:

  • If the local government itself owns unused or underdeveloped property, consider selling it to the highest bidder – and set up the property to get high bids (that is, with no unnecessary restrictions). Then you have more money to use for other projects.

I had generally looked at underdeveloped public property as ripe for direct redevelopment by the government, whether for pure public uses or for something like non-market housing. But you might get a bigger benefit by selling a parcel and then using the money elsewhere, depending of course on a host of market factors.

  • A local government can play a crucial role in assembling parcels for development, whether that’s industrial development or commercial redevelopment downtown. Others won’t have the necessary patience.
  • If you don’t drive the direction of development in your community by how you develop your infrastructure, then others will drive your infrastructure by their development.
  • It’s amazing what can be accomplished when the multiple levels of government work together.
  • Density in the core is good. Transportation is more than roads. Leverage your inherent strengths.
  • Think big, and think long term.