chapter  17
10 Pages

Cities, Transportation, and Technology

ByHarold M. Mayer

The enormous financial impact of urban expansion is vital element of the prosperity. New construction, excluding farm and military construction, has been running around some 40 billion dollars annually. That is nearly 12 percent of the national income. It consists mainly of residential, commercial, industrial, highway, and public-utility building. Most of it is tied closely to urban expansion. The United States Census of Governments planned to release in 1958 what should be a definitive study of tax assessment ratios. Even that omits tax-exempt real estate from consideration, and also it omits suburban acreage, but still it may provide first firm estimate of urban real-estate values in United States. Real estate is more than land, of course, and conceivably urban real-estate values inhere largely in the buildings, we hear a good deal about declining importance of land in an urban society. In fringe areas, where new buildings do outvalue their own sites, a large share of sites have no buildings.