putting a price on place

putting a price on place

Tagged: Articles Author: Kevin Vizzutti

The Fifth Estate recently featured our ongoing collaboration with US-based consultancy Urban3 to measure the financial impacts of planning decisions on local government.

While the social, environmental and wider economic costs and benefits of new development are well understood, the critical linkages between planning, growth and council rates revenue are rarely considered.  

RobertsDay recently applied the Urban3 data analytics tool in the City of Melville south west of Perth to compare the cost of land with actual rate income, identifying areas that cost the City more in services and infrastructure than they returned in revenue, as well those areas that were profitable compared to the cost to run.

This work has shown for the first time that walkable, mixed-use development is the most financially sustainable urban pattern for councils and also suggests that forecasting future rates revenue from new development can improve local government self-sufficiency and investment planning.

Speaking to The Fifth Estate, Partner Duane Cole explained that the Urban3 tool is especially effective at building the case for density, both internally and in the community, by linking infill growth with increased capacity to invest in local amenities and infrastructure.


“Currently, costs across local governments are rising at a rate that exceeds increases in revenue, raising concern that the ability for local governments to invest in, and create great places, for the community will be heavily constrained.

In the future, local governments may need to be less reliant on government funding programs to remain financially sustainable and look at what they may be able to do themselves, by undertaking economic modelling across their planning framework.”


The Urban3 tool can assess the fiscal implications of land-use planning changes for an individual site, within a precinct or across an entire local government area. It allows councils to consider the relative value (rate contribution) of different planning scenarios and identify the preferred land use mix and urban development outcomes that will grow revenue to support the ongoing prosperity of local communities.

Following the success of the Melville project, RobertsDay is in discussion with other local governments around Australia to unlock their place potential and self-sufficiency.

To find out more, download our 'Enterprise of Place' Flyer below or contact Partner Duane Cole.

RobertsDay Enterprise of Place