Author Archives: Ilana Preuss

Webinar recap: HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition

hurricane-sandy
New York, NY’s FDR Drive after flooding from Hurricane Sandy. Photo by David Shankbone, via Flickr.

Applications are currently open for HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition, and earlier this week, Smart Growth America hosted a webinar to discuss details of this $1 billion opportunity.

If you missed the webinar, you can now view the presentation slides online. The slides include an overview of the application process by Danielle Arigoni, Deputy Director, HUD Office of Economic Resilience, and Jessie Handforth Kome, Deputy Director, HUD Office of Block Grant Assistance.

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Economic Opportunity & Small-Scale Manufacturing

GMDC picThere is a new opportunity in our changing cities to connect more residents with economic opportunity. We can do so by integrating small-scale industrial uses into our city development. Let’s call this mixed-use industrial real estate.

We are seeing a resurgence of small, local producers who are harnessing cheap technology and changing markets to sell hundreds and thousands of locally produced consumer products. Documented early on by Chris Anderson, and seen across the country today, these companies are often businesses with fewer than 20 employees and sell both in local markets and globally online.

These small-scale manufacturing business owners generally need dedicated production space of less than 5,000 square feet (often as little as 1,000 sq. ft), use clean technologies (think laser cutters), but need affordable, dedicated industrial/production space. They do not fit into office space because of noise, and most retail space is too expensive. So they often find marginal, cheap space at the fringes of our cities and survive on short-term leases or move far out into the suburbs.

The time is ripe for policy change and private sector investment to create this kind of development. The demand for small-scale consumer goods and locally made custom goods are growing and access to tools and technology gets cheaper. We need to provide affordable space for our local producers to grow their businesses in our city neighborhoods. By doing this, we will be able to connect more people to good-paying jobs, strengthen our small business and startup sector, and keep them all in the city.

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20 local vendors will be at Production in the City. Will you?

Bluejacket
At the Bluejacket brewery, located in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood of Washington, DC. Photo by Bluejacket via Facebook.

What do a brewmaster, a shirtmaker and a sign manufacturer all have in common? They’re all manufacturing their products right here in the greater DC area.

Join us on on Thursday, December 5, 2013 from 5:30-8:30 PM at Production in the City to shop, celebrate and discuss DC’s home-grown manufacturing economy and the role the city’s neighborhoods play in the industry’s growth.

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Celebrate DC’s locally made products this holiday season

boilermaker-bldg
The Yards Boilermaker Shops will play host to Production in the City and a popup market of Made-in-DC products on December 5.

It’s never been easier to buy something that bears the label “Made in DC.”

From beer to jewelry to clothing to ice cream pops, independent manufacturers are making a wide array of products right here in the District of Columbia—and they’re relying on the city’s neighborhoods to help their businesses thrive.

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No matter where you live, this affects you

No matter if you live in a single-family home, an apartment, a townhouse or a condo, federal real estate programs affect you.

From individual tax deductions to loan guarantees to commercial tax credits, these programs impact nearly every neighborhood in the United States. How could this spending better support economic growth? How could it better benefit individuals and families? And how could federal taxpayers get more for their money?

Join Smart Growth America and LOCUS, our coalition of responsible real estate developers and investors, on Thursday as we answer these questions and discuss new ideas for federal involvement in real estate.

Federal Involvement in Real Estate: A Call for Action
Online teleconference and Twitter discussion
Thursday, July 25, 2013 – 11:00 AM EDT



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Startup Places and the companies that call them home

Crossroads District
Baltimore Street in Kansas City, MO’s Crossroads District. Photo by Chris Murphy via Flickr.

This Thursday we’re hosting Tech in the City: Startup Communities in Startup Places, a conversation about DC’s startup companies and the neighborhoods they call home. Follow the conversation on Twitter later this week at #TechintheCity.

Small tech startups are coming together in cities across the country to build communities of innovation and collaboration. Why are these communities taking root in the places they do? And what can cities do to foster these leaders of the new economy?

It may seem counterintuitive for competing companies to move close to one another, but there are reasons for startups to work together. As Brad Feld explains in his book Startup Communities, startups can be more successful, create more jobs, and attract more talent by working together to create an inclusive community of people who gather together to share ideas.

Dozens of cities in the United States are now home to one or more startup communities. These clusters of companies are often grouped around a shared resource like co-working space, a tech accelerator or university. It takes more than that, though, for a startup community to flourish. In city after city these communities are forming in neighborhoods with a common set of characteristics.

I call these neighborhoods Startup Places. Whether in former industrial neighborhoods, a city’s downtown or an historic district put to innovative new use, Startup Places have places to gather, a dynamic mix of people nearby, and affordable commercial spaces. These neighborhood features meet the needs of startup communities by giving startup leaders places to meet fellow entrepreneurs, mingle with new ideas, and find flexible office space affordable enough for a new business. Here’s a closer look at how neighborhoods like these come about.

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SGA at TEDx – The economics of great places

I recently had the privilege to share my passion for great places at The George Washington University’s TEDxGWU event.

My talk centered on the importance of understanding that great places are not only core to our communities but that making more great places is key to turning around our economy.

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Telling the stories of great places

Advocates for smart growth tend to talk a lot about urban planning, street design, and a whole host of technical information related to building towns and cities. But many of the people whose opinions matter most in local decisions don’t think about their communities this way, and this is something we all need to learn from.

Smart growth strategies create interesting, exciting places to live and work, and the people who live in those places benefit most from this. At this year’s Rail~volution conference, which concluded earlier this week in Washington, DC, I heard dozens of people tell stories of the town or neighborhood they love and how smart growth strategies have helped make it even better.

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