Author Archives: Smart Growth America

Now Hiring: Communications Fellow for LOCUS Coalition

Smart Growth America seeks a Communications and Policy Fellow to support LOCUS, a national network of smart growth real estate developers and investors. The Fellow will be a core member of the LOCUS team and provide direct support to the LOCUS network of real estate developers and investors advocating for smart growth policies at the federal and regional levels.

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Inside “The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Boston”

walkup-boston-coverMetropolitan Boston is poised to be one of the most walkable metro areas in the country. This is one of the exciting findings of The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Boston, a new report unveiled in Boston today at LOCUS’s first-ever New England Leadership Summit.

The new research defines—for the first time—the form and function of all land use in metropolitan Boston’s 3,100 square miles, identifying 57 regionally significant walkable urban places (or “WalkUPs”) in metro Boston and ranking them based on economic performance, measured by the real estate valuations for each product type and the fiscal revenues generated for local governments, and by social equity performance, measured by accessibility, opportunity, and affordability for residents. Looking ahead to future opportunities, the report also identifies emerging and potential WalkUPs where new development could go.

As shown by substantial and increasing real estate valuation premiums in all real estate product types (office, hotel, rental apartment, retail, and for-sale residential), the report found strong and growing signs of pent-up demand for walkable urban neighborhoods in the Boston area—marking a reversal in real estate development that has long followed the drivable suburban model. Even more remarkable is the fact that these WalkUPs, account for just 6% of the total land area in the Boston metro region.

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Coming soon: “The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Boston”

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Walkable real estate development projects and places are on the rise nationwide. Over the past year, LOCUS has looked at how these trends are playing out in Atlanta and Washington, DC.

On March 11, we’ll reveal new analysis of which walkable urban places—or “walkUPs”—are changing the real estate landscape in another major American city: Boston

The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Boston will, for the first time ever, analyze the different forms and economic use of all land use across metro Boston and rank Boston-area communities based on economic and social equity metrics. 

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Hear the recap: The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014

On Tuesday we revealed The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014, and to celebrate we hosted an online discussion with representatives from a few of this year’s top-scoring communities. If you missed the discussion, here’s a recap of the kickoff event.

Watch the archived webinar
Download the presentation (PDF)


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New program will help Vermont communities coordinate land use decisions and transportation investments

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A street sign in Vergennes, VT, one of the first participants in VTrans and ACCD’s Strong Communities, Better Connections program. Photo by The Selby.

In a new collaboration to support vibrant community centers and increase in town and regional transportation options, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development are pleased to announce the Strong Communities, Better Connections Pilot Grant Program has funded three projects that help align land use planning and community revitalization efforts with transportation investments.

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Announcing the Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014

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Guadalupe Street in Austin, TX. Austin had one of the highest-scoring policies of 2014. Photo courtesy of the City of Austin.

A total of 74 communities adopted Complete Streets policies in the United States in 2014. These laws, resolutions and planning and design documents encourage and provide for the safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel.

The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014, released today by Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition examines and scores each Complete Streets policy enacted in 2014. The report outlines ten ideal elements of a Complete Streets policy and scores individual policies based on these ideals. Policy elements refine a community’s vision for transportation, provide for many types of users, complement community needs and establish a flexible approach necessary for an effective Complete Streets process and outcome.

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National Complete Streets Coalition to unveil top Complete Streets policies of 2014


Livermore, CA passed one of the best Complete Streets policies of 2013. Which communities will be on the 2014 list?

Over 70 communities passed Complete Streets policies in 2014 and on February 10, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition will unveil which ones were the best.

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Join Smart Growth America at the 2015 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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Become a 2015 sponsor of the National Brownfields Coalition

Smart Growth America’s National Brownfields Coalition is the only national campaign dedicated to advocating for brownfields cleanup and redevelopment in Washington today. We encourage members of Congress and the Administration to support legislation and direct investment in brownfields cleanup and redevelopment.

Brownfields cleanup is a win-win-win-win: it creates jobs, spurs broader economic revitalization, helps people lead healthier lives, and protects the environment—all for a modest public investment. That’s something legislators on both sides of the aisle and from every state can get behind.

Made up of over 6,000 elected officials, professionals, business leaders, and advocates, the National Brownfields Coalition is the leading voice uniting the brownfields movement. We are proud to be at the forefront of this important national movement, and we welcome new allies to join our work.

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Third edition of “The Innovative DOT” provides new tools for states looking to improve transportation while reducing costs

innovative-dot3-cover-thumbState transportation officials across the country are facing the same challenges: Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking but transportation demands are continuing to grow.

Innovative approaches can help transportation officials succeed in the face of these challenges, and an updated resource from Smart Growth America and the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) outlines how.

The third edition of The Innovative DOT, released today, provides 34 strategies that transportation officials can use to position their agencies for success in a new era of constrained budgets. Originally released in 2012 and developed with input from top transportation professionals and agency staff from around the nation, the handbook documents many of the innovative approaches state leaders are using to make systems more efficient, government more effective and constituents better satisfied. The second edition was released in January 2014, and provided three additional tools and 20 new case studies.

“State DOTs across the country are using the tools in this guidebook with great success,” said Roger Millar, Vice President of Smart Growth America. “The third edition contains even more ideas for how DOT staff can lead and improve their agencies’ work.”

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