Monthly Archives: April 2012

April news from the National Brownfields Coalition

As Congress considers the federal budget for fiscal year 2013, the National Brownfields Coalition is working to support several brownfields-related federal programs. These programs include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Brownfields program, as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Section 108 loan guarantee authority, its Sustainable Communities program, and the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) program.

In support of these federal programs, 25 organizations have endorsed the Brownfields Coalition’s letters to Congress, downloadable below. The letters call for $250 million for EPA’s Brownfields Program; $7 million for HUD 108; $100 million for the HUD Sustainable Communities Program; and $25 million for the HUD BEDI Program.

The Coalition also worked with the offices of Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CN) – who were joined by 13 additional Senators – to ask Senate Appropriations Committee members to maintain funding for the EPA Brownfields Program.

These efforts are gaining momentum. Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to restore funding to HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative, and proposed a budget of $50 million for the program. The Senate’s vote is a huge step forward for this effort; the draft budget has now been passed to the House of Representatives for review.

Click here to read full copies of the National Brownfields Coalition’s letters to Congress.


Smart Growth News- April 30, 2012

National

A Daunting Emissions Quest for U.S. Cities
The New York Times- April 26, 2012
More than 1,000 American cities have voluntarily committed themselves to ambitious targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. A recent case study focusing on Allegheny County, Pa., home to Pittsburgh, highlights how hard it will be for some to meet those goals, however.

Citizens Want Sustainable Cities. Let the Market Provide.
This Big City- April 27, 2012
Planners and engineers within the transportation design industry have long debated the appropriate location, function, and character of city streets. Today, the debate over city streets stretches far beyond the curbs of the institutional design community.

City Slickers
National Journal- April 26, 2012
The growth of urbanized areas could shift some states from red to blue over time.

Tips for vacations using public transportation
Washington Post- April 27, 2012
In 2011, 54 percent of travelers surveyed by the American Public Transportation Association planned to use mass transit on their summer vacation. Of the 34,460 respondents, 65 percent said that the availability of public transportation influenced their choice of destination. The group’s sister site, www.publictransportation.org, is a great resource for finding systems in every state, from urban rail networks to rural bus loops.


Partnership in the News: City of Wichita Votes to Participate in $1.5 million HUD grant

The Wichita Eagle reported recently that the Wichita City Council voted 6-1 to join Sedgwick County in participating in a Regional Area Economic Partnership funded by a Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Planning grant. The Regional Area Economic Partnership (REAP) will focus on producing a sustainable community plan to address transportation, water, and health issues. REAP has an existing 23-member consortium that includes 4 other counties as well as Wichita State University.


Listen to market demand, says The Economist’s Ryan Avent

To create jobs, drive innovation, attract talent and keep housing costs affordable, American cities would be right to address the growing demand for smart growth development, says The Economist’s Ryan Avent in a recent interview with Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino.

“Well, my tendency as an economist, working for The Economist, my inclination is to say build with what the market will demand,” Avent says. “And so that’s why I think we have a great opportunity here, because what the market is increasingly demanding are homes that are within walking distance of job centers.”

Avent, a resident of Arlington, VA, and the author of The Gated City, emphasized that in building with market demand in mind, it’s also crucial to change common misperceptions about density. In his book, Avent uses the phrase “hogs stacked on hogs” to describe what makes people afraid of added housing units. The realities of increased density, however, are radically different and the addition of in-demand housing options contributes to robust regional economic growth.

“If you think about the sort of density that might work, if it builds around transit and a walkable environment, you don’t add a lot of the downsides that are typically associated with density, like congestion,” Avent says. “When you build in a sprawling pattern and force people into cars, that’s what actually causes congestion.”


Smart Growth News- April 27, 2012

National

Improving Financial Stability in America’s Cities
The Huffington Post- April 26, 2012
One of the most effective ways that government can fight poverty is to help individuals and families prepare for and manage financial distress — when a job disappears, or wages are cut, or the bills pile up too high. And right now, with unemployment above 8 percent, and with many families struggling to make ends meet, we are a nation still in the throes of financial distress.

Highway bill conference committee schedules first meeting
The Hill- April 26, 2012
The panel of lawmakers tapped to hammer out an agreement on a new federal transportation bill will hold its first meeting next month, a key member of the committee said Thursday.

Trendspotting: Corporate HQ Location Choices in a Recovering Market
Area Development- April 2012
Pent-up demand will result in more headquarters projects in the next decade, but these modern, right-sized workspaces will differ in size and design from those of the past.

How To Use Walking & Bicycling as a Transportation Solution
Brokensidewalk.com- April 26, 2012
Lakeside Swim Club is a huge complex of swimming pools in the Highlands of Louisville. The club draws people like a grocery store or small college, but it does so without car parking lots. How do they do it? Unusually for Louisville, Lakeside has meaningful policies and infrastructure that strongly encourage bicycling and walking.


Smart Growth News- April 26, 2012

National

House votes to negotiate highway bill with Senate
The Hill- April 25, 2012
The House voted on Wednesday to meet with the Senate to negotiate a bill funding federal highway programs.

Study Ranks Transit Systems Of Major U.S. Cities
Market Watch- April 26, 2012
SEATTLE, April 26, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Walk Score®, the only site that makes it easy for apartment renters and home buyers to find neighborhoods where they can drive less and live more, announced today a new ranking of U.S. city transit systems based on residents’ access to public transportation. New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington D.C. top the list, while cities such as Houston, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Columbus, Ohio are among the cities in the bottom half of the ranking.

USC Projects Massive California Population Slowdown
USC News- April 24, 2012
A massive slowdown in California’s population growth means the state likely won’t reach 50 million residents until the year 2046, according to a new USC analysis released today.


National Brownfields Coalition ramps up outreach to Congress during 2013 Appropriations process


Cumberland Park on Nashville, TN’s waterfront, transformed a former industrial area into a 6.5 acre nature-inspired play space that gets kids and parents moving. It is an excellent example of brownfield redevelopment in action. Photo via Inhabit.com.

As Congress considers the federal budget for fiscal year 2013, the National Brownfields Coalition is working to support several brownfields-related federal programs. These programs include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Brownfields program, as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Section 108 loan guarantee authority, its Sustainable Communities program, and the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) program.


Smart growth stories: New York City Councilmember Brad Lander on building better neighborhoods with community participation

Where does change come from? Who comes up with the ideas and proposals needed to reinvigorate neighborhoods?

Ask New York City Councilmember Brad Lander and he’ll tell you.

“The community.”

To Lander, who has represented the 39th district of Brooklyn on the New York City Council since 2009, community involvement and outreach aren’t just buzzwords. They’re a source of the best inspiration and help shed light on the real reasons to move forward with any project; those that live in a community tend to know what’s best for that community.

In the 39th district – which encompasses the neighborhoods of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park and Kensington – Lander hears the concerns of a racially and economically diverse constituency. From young urban-dwellers with higher education degrees to working-class immigrants, Brooklyn – like the rest of New York – has it all. For Lander to do his job successfully he must find ways to integrate planned improvements and Council agenda items with the personal goals of the people who elected him.


Smart Growth News- April 25, 2012

National

Home prices hit new post-crisis lows in nine cities, according to Case-Shiller report
The Washington Post- April 25, 2012
Home prices fell in January in 16 of the 19 metropolitan areas measured by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. See how your city fared.

Infrastructure projects need public support, transportation experts say
The Washington Post- April 23, 2012
A coalition of leading transportation experts hope to marshal public pressure on Congress and the presidential contenders to address the nation’s infrastructure needs.

Smart growth is a start. But it’s not enough.
NRDC Blog- April 24, 2012
I want to follow up on yesterday’s article about placemaking. Reacting to an excellent essay by Ethan Kent, I posited that that the creation and strengthening of great places – great people habitat, if you will – should be a very important part of a “new environmentalism.”



Upcoming summit to celebrate and inspire placemaking in Northern Michigan

Great places where people want to visit, live, work and play are vital to any region’s economic success. The work of creating these great places is called “placemaking,” and in Michigan, many communities are already using placemaking strategies to attract jobs, entrepreneurs and economic development.

The Northern Maine Michigan Placemaking Summit in Traverse City and Petoskey on May 21, 2012 will focus on placemaking as a tool to build community pride and prosperity. Chris Leinberger, President of LOCUS, will deliver the keynote address at the event. This year’s Summit is sponsored by the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments in partnership with the Michigan Land Use Institute and the Michigan Municipal League.