Monthly Archives: January 2013

Rethink Real Estate: All about the New Markets Tax Credit


The Ely Walker building in St. Louis, MO was redeveloped with the help of the New Markets Tax Credit. Photo by Nick Findley via Flickr.

Earlier this month, Smart Growth America released Federal Involvement in Real Estate, a survey of over 50 federal programs that influence real estate in some way. This post is the first in a series taking a closer look at some of the programs included in that survey. Today’s post looks at the New Markets Tax Credit.

New Markets Tax Credit allows individual and corporate investors to receive a credit against their federal income tax return in exchange for making an investment in a specialized financial institution called a Community Development Entities (CDE). Congress created the credit in 2000 as a way to attract private capital to businesses in economically challenged communities. Authorized under the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000, the program has appropriated billions of taxpayer dollars to promote investment in these areas that are often overlooked by traditional financing sources.


Smart Growth News – January 31, 2013

Bethlehem’s Main Street garners new accolades
WFMZ Allentown (PA) – Jan 30, 2013
Smart Growth America has chosen Main Street as one of its favorite streets in the country.

A new era of Massachusetts smart growth: André Leroux/Greg Bialecki
Providence Journal (RI) – January 30, 2013
Smart growth advocates defend progress in Massachusetts.

Villaraigosa, Granholm on long list of rumored successors to LaHood
The Hill – January 30, 2013
Speculation on Ray LaHood’s replacement as President Obama’s Transportation secretary is focusing on a group of former transportation officials and 2012 presidential campaign surrogates.

The Greening of America’s Capital Cities
NRDC Switchboard – January 30, 2013
Federal Program Develops Innovative Greening Strategies, But Is Anyone Paying Attention?


What’s your favorite street in America? Our staff weighs in for new Facebook campaign


If you had to choose your favorite street in the United States, what would it be? Could you explain why you love it? Those are the questions we posed to our entire Smart Growth America staff for a new Facebook campaign called ‘What’s Your Street?’, intended to showcase great places that embody smart growth principles across the country.

Whether it’s a bustling, skyscraper-lined downtown block, a charming historic main street or even a sleepy rural outpost, two new streets are uploaded to Facebook every week, each one personally chosen by a member of our staff. An accompanying quote sheds some light as to why the street was chosen and what makes it such a great place to be.


Congress passes Sandy recovery bill, includes funding for critical HUD program


Aerial photos of New Jersey coastline in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Photo by DVIDSHUB via Flickr.

Three months after Superstorm Sandy crippled coastal communities along the East Coast, Congress passed a $50.5 billion package on Monday to aid victims of the storm and accelerate re-building efforts.

The largest portion of the spending bill includes $16 billion for the Housing and Urban Development Department’s Community Development Block Grants program (CDBG). Of that, about $12.1 billion will be shared among communities directly affected by Sandy as well as those from other federally declared disasters in 2011-2013.



Smart Growth News – January 30, 2013

More Losers Than Winners in America’s New Economic Geography
Atlantic Cities – January 30, 2013
The past couple of decades have seen America sort itself into two distinct nations, as the more highly skilled and affluent have migrated to a relatively small number of cities and metro areas.

The Wildly Different Age Demographics of U.S. Cities
Atlantic Cities – January 29, 2013
The Urban Institute today unveiled a far-reaching data dashboard for metropolitan areas all across the U.S. that visualizes datasets on a long list of quantifiable aspects of urban life.

Ray LaHood Steps Down, Say US is Behind in High Speed Rail
Huffington Post – January 30, 2013
Leaving what he called “the best job I’ve ever had,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took some parting shots at lawmakers, mainly his fellow Republicans, for lacking a vision on infrastructure proportional to current demands.

It’s Not Easy Being a Transit Advocate in Atlanta
Atlantic Cities – January 29, 2013
Last July, residents of Atlanta took their long pent-up frustration with some of the worst traffic congestion in the country to the voting booth.


Roundtable series in six cities this spring will discuss federal real estate issues and their solutions


LOCUS members at 2012’s Leadership Summit.

LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors is proud to announce a new series of industry roundtable discussions about improving the federal government’s role in today’s real estate market.

The discussion series will gather leading real estate developers and investors from across the country to address the federal government’s role in real estate, and create solutions to align federal involvement in real estate to better support walkable development across America.


Join us next week at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference

Next week, the 12th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference kicks off in America’s heartland—Kansas City, Missouri. The three-day conference will explore sensible strategies for helping communities arcoss the country create healthy, convenient, equitable and livable cities and towns for all. This year, the conference will include over 90 sessions and close to 400 total speakers across multiple disciplines including elected officials, state and federal agency leaders; professionals in planning and transportation; realtors, developers and many others committed to building sustainable communities nationwide.

Smart Growth America’s staff will among the many speakers talking about best practices in implementing smart growth strategies – covering everything from local policies to federal legislation about Complete Streets, public transportation, economic development, effective communications and more. Join us at one of our several sessions.


Smart Growth News – January 29, 2013

Andres Duany Details the “New, New Urbanism”
Planetizen – January 28, 2013
Andrés Duany articulated his vision for how planning must adapt to the new realities of “national impoverishment” and climate change by utilizing the tools of tactical urbanism.

Senior Citizens Drive Infrastructure Funding
Politico – January 29, 2013
Aside from figuring out the future of Medicare and Social Security, policymakers have another big challenge: helping older people get out and about.

California to start buying land for HSR
Mercury News (CA) – January 28, 2013
Construction of California’s high-speed rail network is set to start in July, but the state still has not purchased any land along the route.

Stop Segregating the Rich! Fighting Displacement Fights Crime
Planetizen – January 28, 2013
Isolating poor residents from rich ones is not only bad for those being segregated, it leads to the worst outcomes for a city as a whole.