City Projects

The Impact Wheel

You are a member of a planning team assigned the task of analyzing the impacts of a proposed residential development in a large (200,000 people) Upper Midwest city.

Proposal: Xeron Development, Inc., has proposed that a currently vacant 600 acre site in the southeast quadrant of the city be developed into "Happy Acres," a new-town-in-town consisting of 6,000 units. The breakdown for the units by housing type and number of occupants is:

Housing type

# units

# people














The single-family units will be on small lots, sell for an average price of $125,000 and have a total market value of $375 million.

The townhouses will sell for $80,000 each and have a total market value of $160 million.

The apartments will rent for $450/month and have a total market value of $540 million.

Attached you will find 3 maps to illustrate the nature of the development:

  • Existing Facilities Map: identifies the location of the site near the central usines district and adjacent to the river, a single family residential neighborhood, a shopping center, railroad tracks, and a school. On the site, you will notice a few sewer lines, a small park, a few roads, and a sewage lagoon across the railroad tracks from the site.
  • Development Limitations Map: identifies environmental features of the site.
  • Proposed Development Plan: identifies the pattern of development on the site with high (apts.) and medium (townhouse) development around the new lake that will be built and single family housing on the eastern side of the site. A new neighborhood center and commercial office park will also be provided.

City Obligation: The city will be expected to provide financing for new sanitary and storm sewers, to maintain the streets and parks, and operate the neighborhood center.


  1. Identify the positive and negative impacts that can be expected in each of the following areas:
    • Physical environment
    • Economic impacts on the private economy
    • Social impacts on adjacent residents
    • Governmental impacts
  2. Analyze each impact for each of the areas:
    • Rate each impact on a scale from A (very positive) to E (very negative)
    • Explain the reason for each rating (refer to the physical characteristics of the site, the number of people who will be living there, etc.).
  3. Summary Questions:
    • Does every problem have a solution? If yes, how do you find it? If no, what do you do in those cases?
    • What rules/criteria did you find yourself using when you had to make hard choices? List them. Then rank them in order, such that rule 1 must always be followed; rule 2 must be followed unless it violates rule 1; rule 3 must be followed unless it violates rule 1 or rule 2; etc.
    • What happens when your rules come in conflict with the rules held by others in your group/class/community? How do you handle it?


Last Updated  1/10/04 by Tony Filipovitch