The city of Fort Worth is considering limiting economic tax incentives for retail development to "Inside the Loop":
While this is probably a step in the right direction I don't see this policy being used as a nudge for developers to build more sustainably, just in a more geographically desirable area. That said, bringing jobs and shopping closer to where people are living today would help to limit somewhat long drives to get to work or to where desirable goods and services can be purchased. Carried to a logical conclusion such a policy would increase property value in the inner city, make bus and other mass transportation more feasible, and encourage residential developers to build near the new, subsidized retail centers. Energy efficiency is among the design elements that will be considered when application for tax incentives are reviewed.
A further step toward sustainability would be if tax incentives were keyed to specific elements of a development that address issues facing the city. Among these might be increased density/height as a way to reduce utility access costs, parking structures rather than pastures of paved parking that are rarely if ever fully utilized and contribute to the regional flooding burden, flexible design to enable adaptive reuse of spaces as market conditions change, water retention/reuse facilities, mixed use buildings and centers with employees and customers being able to live within a very short distance of their work or business destinations, relieving some of the stress on regional highways and arterial streets. All city tax incentives should require adherence to the design requirements for the particular neighborhood in question, with little wiggle-room for significant variances. I would rather see the city offer infrastructure improvements that complement a proposed development rather than cash giveaways, but these incentives are used in the feasibility considerations developers use in deciding where to build. As long as there are no nationwide rules limiting this corporate welfare Fort Worth and other Texas cities will have to play the game by the rules in place. A smart way to play within those rules would be to encourage development that will last and that will contribute to making a better city in the long run.