Smart Growth Strategies
SMART GROWTH details how to blend real estate and overall economic growth of the city and region via a new stadium and, more importantly, with an NFL team. There are two dynamics that have historically been unchanged regardless of people and politics, ideologies and policies, religions and races:
MACRO-level:the only constant in history is change.It can be slowed but never stopped. There are those who attempt new worlds (often called liberal or progressive) and those who attempt to raise previous favored ones (often called conservative). Too often both want to conserve or freeze in place what others would call revoltionary or reactionary. It doesn't matter. Change can't be stopped. Both goals are unrealistic.
MICRO-level:all human interaction takes place face-to-face within the concept of roles, whether shared or not, whether perceived equally or not, whether anticipaed in the same way or not, whether understood or not, but which are always expected one from another. One cannot live a role free existence. And the greatest success, personally and professionaly, comes when people don't break role.
The following assumptions are based are reflectdions on articles in various Southern California papers, June 22, 2002, but which are applicable to any city:
- That regardless of whether individuals
or groups promote or retard growth, love or fear growth, all
agree that if possible, it would be better to have agreement
on directing the changes than let the forces of change go undirected,
which means that a "round table" needs to be set up
and the knights of the various groups encouraged to attend and
to work together.
- Stadiums are important beyond their
teams and communities. Those in warmer climes can host the Super
Bowl (Southern California being the NFLÕs favorite spot;
remember how many are coming from cold and humid East Coast
and Mid-West climes in January),and other major events. The
Super Bowl itself is worth $250 million to a city each time
it is held (figures based on San Diego Super Bowl figures).The
stadium is also about international soccer matches, motocross,
concerts, and other events, all of which can generate revenue
to help support the stadium for the City.
- No new taxes need be levied, on the
average, although a small increase in a tourist tax (hotels,
motels), could be levied by a city council without needing a
vote, with the key to its success being how it is presented:
as a tourist/business tax, not as a tax on local residents.
- Any team is an important civic, cultural
and financial asset to a city and region. Every team needs a
home. That means a stadium or arena.
- The team, in bottom line terms, has
a positive net economic and quality of life impact on the city.
- Stadiums and arenas mean moving large
numbers of people at the same time. Transit cannot be understood
properly unless the cost-benefit analysis includes all contexts:
time of travel, environmental impact, regional stability, reduction
in congestion, and moving people for large events. Is it worth
it to the community in cost terms for everyone to support it?
Done properly, we say yes. Our job is to help communities and
teams get the information they need and to help them make the
decisions that have to be made.
- There are those who so distrust that
they would prefer, in terms of one of game theories best games,
"prisoner's dilemma," remain prisoners of the status
quo and not change. Indeed, often they will try to hurt any
building or renovation process. Given the nature of humans and
the witness of history, people would be crazy not to distrust
until questions are answered satisfactorily. The solution is
to use a conflict resolution process that clearly lays out the
rules of the game. Planning is a necessity. When planning is
inclusive and allows for cooperation, conflict can be averted
or resolved, as our 18 models for conflict resolution demonstrate.
- Shakespeare's notion that "a rose
by any other rose is still a rose" fits the term "growth"
as well. Whether it is called "growth," or "smart
growth," or "densification," or "population
growth," or "insufficient funding," or "growth
in housing costs," or "smart growth financing,"
it still involves everyone the same way and therefore it behooves
everyone to cooperate to collaboratively resolve the issues
so that the issues and problems of growth can be resolved and
- Dealing with "industrial acreage
and flatland...subdividers...quality of life....soaring housing
costs....decline in water quality....insufficient funding"
needs to be done in such a way that all win some and lose some
and none win all and none lose all. Communities often need some
common ground rallying point to gather around. Major professional
sports teams provide tangible intangibles that all in the wider
community can get behind and support, generating civic pride
and cooperation for other issues.
- All the major interests converge at
a central point of shared interest and thus benefit from a new
stadium complex: developers (economic and real estate), tourist
industry (including Convention Center, airlines, travel agents,
restaurants, hotels, other teams), environmentalists, recreation
spots, ocean (and lake and river) related resorts and businesses,
and the great catch-all: citizen watchdogs, voters, tax payers.
- The four "conflicting groups"
(developers, business, environmentalists, citizen watchdogs)
should be seen not as opponents in a win-lose game of fighting
over a community's pie, but rather points of scales seeking
balance in sharing the community pie, that they are not so much
in conflict as just not having yet found the common ground from
which they can all work. Communities need developers and businessmen
to create the jobs that throw off the taxes and charitable giving
that fund government agencies and private trusts and funds looking
after the environment. Watching all of them are the citizens.
Having said that, the issue becomes not so much getting a new
support system as it is using the one already in place. All
teams, professional and collegiate, help focus the common ground
from which to deal with the serious issues of growth confronting
- An excellent way among others to start
is to think of four circles. Lay them down and then push them
together until there is an ellipsis in the center where they
all overlap. This is the common ground on which all agree. Most
common ground areas are agreed upon as being important: development
(economic and real estate), jobs, environmental protection,
education, housing, transportation, and public safety.
- From a common ground standpoint, all
four (to borrow from a book title) are "indispensable enemies."
At the same time they are all "comrades in arms."
In the recent popular film Black Hawk Down, there is
a scene that reminds us that quite often what we lack is not
instruction in how to do something (some Czar of Super Planning)
but rather how to cooperate and win together. Thus, in the movie,
the hero says to the soldier standing nearby in shock, to "get
into that truck and drive" as the driver has been shot.
The soldier replies "But I'm shot too." The hero then
replies, "Everybody's shot. Get in and drive." To
put it in the words of wise men and women, all groups can then
see why it serves each of them to take "the high road of
healing and harmony," as all, really, are in the same community
- We are friends of the team(s) and want
to help them solve their problem of how to achieve their goal
of building/renovating a stadium with little or no debt and
no new taxes.
- We are friends of all sports fans and
want to show them how to achieve their goal of positively supporting
their team while we are also friends of ownership and management
and want to show them how to be supportive of the community
while being able to have a profitable team.
- We are friends of the sports fans and
are responding positively to their challenge to "show us,"
with our various models for how to build/renovate a stadium
with only normal infrastructure public spending, how to incur
little or no debt, and how to generate profits on an on-going
basis; year round, so the team can stay competitive, not to
mention stay in the community.
- We are friends of everyone, responding
positively to the invitation for how to hold a city conversation,
by providing a series of models that could be used to facilitate
such a series of resolution conversations and meetings.
- Teams need to thin inside the box (game day revenues at the stadium) and outside the box (revenues outside the stadium on game day as well as non-game day revenues, which are discussed at 40 Revenue Streams in 26 Categories.
Beacon on the Hill Sports Marketing reminds everyone, including those who don't follow closely or not at all, that professional teams are on the same level of investment in the future as transit, real estate projects, free ways, and theater. They are part of the investment communities make to retain and attract the talented wealth-producers of the new economy. These investments benefit everyone. New wealth will fix and sustain good schools, health care, roads, compassionate social services and civic pride that cities expect and cherish. Deep down, we believe that citizens hunger for better than "good enough."
Beacon on the Hill Sports Marketing can help any team and its city bring the big four together (developers, tourist industry, environmentalists, and citizen watchdogs/voters/tax payers) to work for the benefit of "now" and for the future.