Lafayette, Louisiana is a community with a rich cultural heritage in the heart of Acadiana. The community has worked toward creating awareness of fiscal liabilities and building a smarter approach to municipal decision-making. This conversation led to a collaboration between Urban3 and StrongTowns. Urban3 performed an analysis that modeled the municipal cash flow for the entire parish. The model served as a community education and municipal management tool.

Lafayette Parish’s net cost model with net positive parcels in black, rising up, and net negative parcels in red, sinking down. 

This Cost of Service analysis was the first of its kind. This project challenged Urban3 to take traditional revenue models and blend them with expense data in order to visualize the distribution of properties with a cost of service greater than the property revenue. The model served as an economic stress test that revealed that the budget and infrastructure issues are twofold: the burden of financial solvency and the fact that the tax system essentially absolves certain land uses from paying for infrastructure. Urban3 concluded that Lafayette would have to reorder its fiscal structures in order to cultivate areas of high value that return more in tax revenue to balance out areas that continuously run deficits.

Total capital revenue in 2015, in black, and the total 50 year cost of roads, in red, visualized with comparative squares. 


  • Provided data-supported evidence that repairing existing infrastructure would improve municipal cash flow issues over time.
  • Created awareness of the true long-term cost of maintaining the road network among city stakeholders and the public.
  • Reframed the conversation around the true value of new development compared to downtown.