Author Archives: Smart Growth America

Join Smart Growth America at the 2016 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

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The annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference brings together public officials, development professionals, advocates, and civic organizations to connect with experts from across the country and catch up on the evolving best practices in smart growth. Hundreds of speakers cross disciplines to share insights, tools and strategies for making smart growth a success in communities across the country.

This year’s conference will take place January 29-31, 2015 in Baltimore, MD, and Smart Growth America is excited to be one of the many organizations participating. If you plan to attend the conference, be sure to catch the following sessions featuring Smart Growth America’s members and staff.

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FDOT’s new Complete Streets implementation plan will take policy into practice

fdot-cs-plan-coverIn September 2014, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) adopted a Complete Streets policy to help make streets safer for everyone in the state. Now, a new plan created in partnership with Smart Growth America will help turn that policy into on-the-ground changes.

On December 7, 2015, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) released its Complete Streets Implementation Plan, an ambitious and comprehensive commitment to change the way roads are designed and built in Florida to make them safer for all types of travelers, while also promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life. FDOT developed the plan in partnership with Smart Growth America and our program the National Complete Streets Coalition over a period of nine months through our Multimodal Development and Delivery technical assistance process.

For many years, Florida ranked among the most dangerous states in the nation for pedestrians, with disproportionately high rates of pedestrian fatalities according to our 2011 report, Dangerous by Design. The department’s 2014 Complete Streets policy laid the foundations for making streets safer. Early last year FDOT took the next step and asked Smart Growth America to help fully integrate a Complete Streets approach into the department’s practices, decisions, and investments.

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Your questions answered from “(Re)Building Downtown”

Thanks to everyone who joined us on Monday for the kickoff panel discussion of (Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization. We had a fantastic conversation with our five panelists, and got to answer several questions from listeners during the Q+A session. We had so many questions remaining at the end that we decided to follow up on them in a blog post. Chris Zimmerman, Smart Growth America’s Vice President for Economic Development, gave some more insight into the questions listeners had. Here are the answers.

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Recorded webinar: Learn more about the new Ladders of Opportunity technical assistance workshops

Transportation plays a critical role in connecting Americans and communities to economic opportunity. The National Public Transportation/Transit-Oriented Development Technical Assistance Ladders of Opportunity Initiative, a project of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in partnership with Smart Growth America, will provide state and local leaders with new ideas, resources, and capacity for building transit-oriented development.

Requests for technical assistance workshops are now open and on December 10, FTA and Smart Growth America hosted an informational webinar to discuss in detail the technical assistance workshops and the application process. A recording of the webinar is now available.

Watch the archived webinar

Click here to view the archived webinar
Click here to download the presentation (PDF)

Speaking on the webinar were Kimberly Gayle, Director of the Office of Policy Review and Development at the Federal Transit Administration; Chris Zimmerman, Vice President of Economic Development at Smart Growth America; and Beth Osborne, Senior Policy Advisor at Smart Growth America.

Community leaders who have received FTA-funded transit projects grants and are considering TOD, or need ideas and assistance with TOD, are invited to request assistance. Requests are due by 5:00 p.m. EST Tuesday, January 19, 2016. Visit TODresources.org to learn more and apply.

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Recorded webinar: “(Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization”

rebuilding6Are you interested in helping your community revitalize its downtown, but don’t know where to start?

Yesterday, Smart Growth America released (Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization, a new resource for local leaders who want to re-invigorate and strengthen neighborhood centers of economy, culture, and history through a smart growth approach to development. The guide lays out in straightforward language seven main steps to help (re)build downtowns and Main Streets, and is designed to be used by any community, no matter where they are in the revitalization process.

As part of yesterday’s kickoff, we hosted an online conversation all about downtown revitalization. Participants heard an overview of the new guidebook, and discussed revitalization efforts in three different communities. A recorded version of the webinar is now available.

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Introducing “(Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization”

Downtowns, Main Streets, and city centers across the country are witnessing a renaissance. As more Americans chose the convenience and connectivity of walkable neighborhoods, communities are seeing new businesses, restaurants, and shops open in areas that were formerly vacant or economically distressed.

This movement is an exciting opportunity for communities. But for many places, the work needed to create a vibrant downtown can seem daunting. A new guidebook is designed to help.

(Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization, released today, is a new guide for local elected officials who want to re-invigorate and strengthen neighborhood centers of economy, culture, and history through a smart growth approach to development. The guide lays out in straightforward language seven main steps to take, and it’s designed to be used by any community, no matter where you are in the revitalization process.

We’ll be talking all about this guide during a kickoff panel discussion today at 1:00 pm EST. Register to join us for this free online event.

Joining the conversation will be Alex Morrison, Executive Director at Macon-Bibb County, GA Urban Development Authority; Mayor John Engen of Missoula, MT; and Will Schroeer, Executive Director, East Metro Strong of Saint Paul, MN. We welcome your questions and ideas for our panelists or about the new guidebook. Join the conversation on Twitter at the hashtag #RebuildingDowntown.

Today’s new guide is a fantastic resource for any community interested in a stronger, more vibrant downtown. Check out the new guidebook to learn more.

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LOCUS calls provisions in transportation bill a major step forward for walkable urban development

Today, as the President is expected to sign into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the long-awaited five-year federal transportation bill, Christopher Coes, Managing Director of LOCUS, a program of Smart Growth America, issued the following statement.

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Safe streets provisions in FAST Act represent a huge step forward in the effort to strengthen local communities

Late last night, Congress passed a five-year, $305 billion transportation bill—the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Notably, the bill requires all design for National Highway System roadways to take into account access for all modes of transportation. It also makes NACTO’s Urban Design Guide one of the standards for when the U.S. Department of Transportation designs roads, and it permits local governments to use their own adopted design guides if they are the lead project sponsor, even if it differs from state guidelines.

Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, issued the following statement in response.

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Announcing the recipients of Smart Growth America’s 2016 free technical assistance

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Kansas City, MO is one of the communities that will receive a 2016 free technical assistance workshop.

Smart Growth America is pleased to announce seven communities that have been selected to receive our free technical assistance workshops in 2016.

Each year, Smart Growth America makes a limited number of technical assistance workshops available to interested communities at zero cost. This competitive award gives communities a chance to understand the technical aspects of smart growth development and build a strategy to achieve their goals through a one- or two-day workshop on a subject of their choosing.

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Now hiring: Senior fellow for arts and culture

Smart Growth America, and our main transportation initiative Transportation for America (T4A), is seeking a senior fellow for arts and culture to help communities across the country better integrate arts, culture and creative placemaking into urban revitalization and transportation planning efforts.

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