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Paying as the urban areas grow – implementing and managing urban development charges using a GIS application

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Urban development charges (UDC) are considered relevant taxation instruments that can improve the economic sustainability of urban areas and the financial health of the respective local governments. The economic formulation and justification based on the ‘direct benefit principle,’ the ‘accountability principle,’ and the ‘proportionality principle’ requires a methodology that can be supported by a geographic information system (GIS) application. This article presents the research output of a real case study – the municipality of Aljezur, Portugal – and the fundamentals of the GIS tool that was designed. This GIS-based methodology comprises a multi-annual infrastructure capital plan and an accurate zoning map for spatial differentiation of values combining municipal-wide and site-specific approaches, following ‘pay as the urban areas grow’ perspective applied to urban development and new buildings. It requires data integration of the urban planning process with infrastructure and urban growth data in order to manage and monitor the computation of this charge over time, thereby increasing the accuracy, the objectivity and the clarity of the process. The results obtained show that this UDC-GIS application seems well adapted to small municipalities. Its possible replication and use in other contexts require adaptations derived from different urban and taxation policy options and from different legal, organizational, technological, and informational local systems.
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Keywords: GIS; taxation zoning; urban development charges; urban management applications

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: CESUR – Center of Urban and Regional Systems, Civil Engineering, Architecture and Georesources Department,Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal 2: e-Geo – Research Centre for Geography and Regional Planning, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas,Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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