Author Archives: Smart Growth America

Now Hiring: Technical Assistance Intern

Smart Growth America is seeking a paid intern to support our technical assistance program and our workshops for state and local governments’ across the country.

The Intern will be an integral part of the team and will play a vital role in managing the day-to-day operations of our workshops for local communities around the country. The Intern will assist with our work in major urban areas as well as our growing presence in rural communities. Core responsibilities include: logistical and research support for workshops and policy summits, coordinating with workshop instructors and communities receiving workshops, authoring blogs, promoting our technical assistance through social networking, and providing administrative support to the team.

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Introducing “Foot Traffic Ahead 2016”

There are 619 regionally significant, walkable urban places (or “WalkUPs”) in the nation’s 30 largest metro areas.

Foot Traffic Ahead 2016, released today by LOCUS in conjunction with the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at the George Washington University School of Business, looked at all of them.

The new report ranks the country’s 30 largest metropolitan areas based on the amount of commercial and multi-family rental development in WalkUPs, and uses a series of forward-looking metrics to predict how walkable their future development might be. The research also uses social equity metrics like housing costs, transportation costs, and access to jobs to understand the relationship between walkability and social equity.

The research found that walkable urban market share growth in office and multi-family rental increased in all 30 metro areas between 2010-2015, while drivable sub-urban locations have lost market share.

Not surprisingly, New York City, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle ranked at the top of current areas for walkable urbanism. But the research points to other cities including Phoenix, Los Angeles, and metro Detroit as best-positioned for future growth of walkability given current efforts in those the communities.

Download the full report to see the full rankings, including which metros are getting the most out of their current development, which have the greatest momentum, and which rank the highest for social equity.

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A new partnership between T4America and Sidewalk Labs

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Our Transportation for America program works with cities across the country to create transportation networks that support economic prosperity.

New technologies play an increasingly important role in this field and today we’re excited to announce a new partnership between Transportation for America and Sidewalk Labs to support cities in this important work.

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Now hiring: Administrative Assistant

Smart Growth America seeks a candidate to provide administrative support to program staff providing support across a variety of issues.

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Now hiring: Communications Associate

Smart Growth America seeks a Communications Associate to assist in the development, writing, design and layout of its numerous publications and reports, particularly on subjects related to transportation and transit-oriented development.

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Now hiring: Program Associate

Smart Growth America seeks an enthusiastic candidate to support our work with State Departments of Transportation, and our transit-oriented development programs.

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What’s the value of a great downtown? Joe Minicozzi can tell you exactly, in dollars and cents.

minicozzi-joe-300x225One of the main reasons Smart Growth America advocates for compact, walkable urban development is because this approach can greatly benefit the finances of municipalities. Smart growth strategies can reduce infrastructure costs and ongoing expenses for cities while also boosting tax revenues. Smart Growth America’s own work has shown that, and we know this to be true too because of the outstanding work of others in the field like Joe Minicozzi, AICP and the principal at Urban3, LLC, a consultancy based out of Asheville, NC. We’re fans of their work and and cite it often as yet another illustration of how good smart growth can be for city finances. We want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the evidence Minicozzi has amassed over the years demonstrating smart growth’s fiscal benefits.

Urban3 has been hired by cities and towns across the United States and Canada to analyze the financial implications of their development strategies. Most city planners and elected officials understand that a city brings in more tax revenue when people shop and eat out, Minicozzi explained in 2012, but they often underestimate just how much more valuable this economic activity is when it happens downtown rather than on a city’s outskirts.

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City of Somerville, MA and LOCUS release results and next steps of program to balance economic growth and social equity in Union Square

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Today, the City of Somerville, MA, and LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors publicly released the results of the progress made to date, as well as the next steps, in the Union Square Strategic Planning and Community Benefits process, a public-private partnership between LOCUS and the City.

The recommendations report identifies a series of priorities for ensuring that social equity goals are interwoven with development goals as the city’s Union Square neighborhood undergoes redevelopment centered around the planned MBTA Green Line light rail extension. Shared priorities including displacement prevention, affordable and attainable housing, jobs and workforce development, sustainability, open space, small businesses supports and more, are identified.

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Recorded webinar: “The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015”

In 2015, more than 80 communities passed Complete Streets policies and this week the National Complete Streets Coalition released a closer look at all of them with The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015, our annual ranking of Complete Streets policies from the last year, including the 16 policies that were the nation’s best.

To kick off the report we hosted an online panel discussion to recognize all last year’s policies as well as the growing movement for safer streets nationwide. Representatives from top-scoring communities shared insight into how they passed the best policies, and ideas for how other communities can create a great policy of their own.

For those who weren’t able to join us on Tuesday, a recording of the webinar is now available.

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Smart Growth America welcomes Lynn Peterson as new senior transportation policy advisor

lynn-peterson2Smart Growth America is pleased to announce today the hiring of Lynn Peterson, former chief executive officer of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), as senior transportation policy advisor.

During her tenure at WSDOT, Peterson oversaw an agency responsible for 18,600 lane miles of highway, 3,700 bridges, airports, passenger- and freight-rail programs, and the Washington State Ferry system (the nation’s largest). She brought a renewed focus on agency efficiencies, accountability, and investments to the multimodal system, and supported the agency’s partnerships with cities, counties, businesses, transit agencies, and non-motorized transportation groups to cost-effectively build safe and healthy communities everywhere in Washington state.

Peterson is also a nationally recognized transportation and land-use integration expert having worked both as a transportation consultant and as a strategic planning manager for TriMet, Portland, OR’s regional transportation agency.

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