THE REGION'S COMMUNITIES AND THE VALUE PROPOSITION
Thus far, we have described the many ways in which the geographic distribution of employment, housing, and education—built on a base of class, race, and spatial disparities—reinforces these very same disparities, as the region expands and decentralizes. Residents of the region are keenly aware of these differences when they make decisions about where to locate. This chapter looks at how their choices are affected by jobs, housing markets, and schools. It explores this question: to what extent are households using a “value proposition” that includes assessments of both the opportunities available within particular locations and the costs in taxes and commuting times?
The concept of a value proposition originated in the business world, but it need not be limited to that context. It began as a business diagnostic— assessing the contribution of a product or service line to a business by examining the value it added to the business. As a tool in assessing business locations, the term denoted the process of evaluating the mix of land costs, a labor pool, wages, taxes, and transportation costs when expanding or relocating. We will use the term to examine how households evaluate a community's mix of schools, public safety, proximity to jobs, and access to recreational amenities when they make housing choices. Both the flight from declining value markets and the demand for new housing appear to be influenced by such factors as educational access and public safety.
Thus, we suggest that individual homeowners engage in their own assessments of the value proposition, comparing residential locations by access to