Jobs-housing balance : the right ratio for the right place




Wu, Qian, active 2013

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CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) is undergoing a revision of the regional transportation plan for Central Texas. The key goal of the plan is achieving sustainable development through integrating a multimodal transportation system with dense mixed land use. The CAMPO Plan has incorporated the growth management tool of jobs-housing balance to guide future land use development. To improve jobs-housing proximity and encourage compact growth, the concept of an activity center connected by high capacity transit corridors was employed in the plan, targeting the accommodation of 31 percent of the population and 38 percent of employment in Central Texas by 2035 (CAMPO 2035 Plan 2010). At the time when CAMPO was attempting to define appropriate ratios of jobs-housing balance for the activity centers, critical questions arose: what is a good ratio? Further, how should jobs-housing balance be quantified for guiding land use development? And to what extent could jobs-housing ratio be effectively used as an intervention instrument? This report attempts to provide theoretical and empirical evidence of jobs-housing balance and examine the applicability of jobs-housing balance ratio for different planning purpose in local context. Based on a rich literature review, the report removed the "deceptive simple concept" (Cervero 1991, p. 10) of jobs-housing balance on the surface and gathered insights on jobs-housing balance from existing exemplary studies. Absent a single consensus of a good jobs-housing balance ratio, the goal of this report is to present the possible ways of measuring and defining jobs-housing balance in complex urban development. This report analyzed existing jobs-housing balance of the Austin Region, presenting the truth of commute distance and jobs-housing balance ratio. Local municipalities might consider more factors in terms of the application of jobs-housing balance ratio in local context.



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