Eco-cities and Transferable Development Credits

A new essay by Rick Pruetz explores the use of a market-based planning tool, ‘Transferable Development Credits’ (TDCs), being applied in the US to achieve aims where more traditional approaches may struggle.

Good planning encourages compact city development, the protection and promotion of green space and heritage assets, and the development of infrastructure that benefits the public.

However, balancing these aims with economic development can be challenging. Planners may wish to create a public benefit in one area, for example, whilst developer profits may be generated in another.

How can planners encourage developers to contribute to public benefits on the other side of the city, or at the far end of the region? In this essay, Pruetz explores TDCs, a solution being used in the US.

This market-based planning mechanism is amongst the best established of its kind, and the essay highlights many lessons that have been learned as a result.

Rick Pruetz is a planning consultant and sits on the board of directors of Ecocity Builders, a non-profit organisation that helped pioneer the concept of eco-cities, together with Simon Joss of the International Eco-Cities Initiative.

Image: The TDC program in Montgomery County, Maryland has permanently preserved most of the green wedges of its green structure plan. Credit: Rick Pruetz.