Smart Growth News- April 24, 2012

National

Green Infrastructure Could Save Cities Billions
The Atlantic Cities- April 24, 2012
Compared to canvas grocery bags or CFL light bulbs or even solar panels, larger “green infrastructure” projects such as roof gardens or permeable streets can be hugely expensive. It turns out, however, that they’re actually not that expensive when compared to the costs of building more traditional infrastructure, and can even save money. According to a new study, governments are wasting billions of dollars a year by not going green.

Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus
The Wall Street Journal- April 20, 2012
“California is God’s best moment,” says Joel Kotkin. “It’s the best place in the world to live.” Or at least it used to be.

Patching Pot-Holes Won’t Cut It: How to Rebuild America
NRDC Blog- April 23, 2012
That rather telling quote appeared in a recent newspaper story about the push to add tolls to more of America’s roadways. Obviously, at a time when drivers are feeling more pain at the pump, the last thing they want is to pay higher gasoline taxes or new fees from tolls. Most politicians agree, but many transportation experts and officials understand that if Americans want to drive on good roads, they’re going to have to pay more for them — or do without.

Urbanisation and inventing a clean economy of place
The Guardian- April 23, 2012
Bruce Katz: Sustainable development in cities such as Copenhagen and Portland is yielding significant environmental benefits

Local

From Sin to Sim City
Next American City- April 23, 2012
Can Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Reinvent Downtown Las Vegas? Love it or hate it, Las Vegas is one of the country’s most fertile hothouses for experiments with urban form. This is, after all, the place that it made it OK for a real estate developer to erect faux pyramids at the entrance of a multiplex or mall, and name said development after an ancient Egyptian city.

Suburbs struggle to upkeep properties
Dayton Daily News- April 23, 2012
Vacant homes, absent owners lead to unruly yards in area suburbs.

New York City Rent Limits Left Intact by Supreme Court
Bloomberg- April 23, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to New York City’s decades-old rent-stabilization system, leaving intact rules capping prices on almost a million units in one of the country’s most expensive cities.

Funding Not Keeping Up With Transit in NJ
Next American City- April 23, 2012
Public transportation is riding high, with nearly record-breaking ridership that reflects the shifting economy, the high price of gas and the lifestyle of the young and creative classes. Last year, passenger traffic across the United States rose to its second-highest level since 1957, and in New Jersey, all four public and private rail transit systems are witnessing a steady increase.

Helping communities make S.F. bloom
San Francisco Examiner- April 23, 2012
The process of creating urban gardens on underutilized San Francisco property could be streamlined under a new city employee if legislation to be introduced today is approved.

University of Utah unveils its plan to increase bicycle use
The Salt Lake Tribune- April 22, 2012
Straddling her orange road bike, Heidi Goedhart enjoys chatting with motorists and pedestrians, and checking out the yards and houses she passes between her Salt Lake City home and the University of Utah’s College of Architecture + Planning.

The Magic of Streetcars, The Logic of Buses
Steets.MN- April 23, 2012
The City of Minneapolis is promoting Streetcars in a number of corridors, including one in North along Broadway to compensate for the rerouting of Bottineau LRT to avoid North. Promoters of Minneapolis Streetcars, including Mayor R.T. Rybak, are engaged in magical thinking in their assertion that streetcars will have transformative effects.

Big Shoulders, Big Plans: Chicago Tackles Transit and Infrastructure
Chicago Policy Review- April 23, 2012
Mayor Emanuel recently announced a $7 billion plan to revamp Chicago’s infrastructure. Do you see the proposed public-private endeavor as a step toward the New Urbanism promoted by CNU? Do you think planning and design have been adequately incorporated into his plan?

Despite Concerns, BART Recommends Canadian Firm to Build New Fleet
The Bay Citizen- April 23, 2012
BART staff on Monday recommended that the transit agency award a $2.5 billion contract for its new fleet of cars to a Canadian company, Bombardier, Inc. The firm has come under scrutiny in recent months for installing faulty parts in Chicago subway cars and for not agreeing to build a larger portion of each BART car in the United States.

Program for Low-Income Housing Compels Building in Poor Neighborhoods
The New York Times- April 21, 2012
Plans to build a low-income apartment complex for seniors in one of San Antonio’s most fashionable neighborhoods had been posted for barely a week in January when the fury began.

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