Smart Growth News — August 28, 2014

Want to See the Earth After Global Warming? Move to the City
Newsweek — August 27, 2014
According to a new paper published in Global Change Biology, cities exhibit many of these factors, making them a petri dish in which researchers can glimpse how the earth’s biological systems will be altered in the coming decades.

Biodesign: Why the future of our cities is soft and hairy
CNN Tech — August 27, 2014
According to the bio-architect William Myers, author of the book Biodesign, concerns for sustainability and increasing pressure on the world’s resources is leading to increasing collaboration between design and biology.

Cities With The Best — And Worst — Drivers
Forbes — August 27, 2014
Maybe it’s a cultural thing, or it has something to do with the environment, but statistics suggest some areas of the U.S. inherently breed more cautious drivers, while others tend to spawn some of the most accident-prone motor-vehicle operators on the road.

America is terrible at public transportation
The Week — August 27, 2014
For the first time since World War II, young Americans (in this case, millennials) drive less than previous generations. Just why this is happening is a matter of dispute, though probably the recession and changing living habits have a lot to do with it. (As a card-carrying millennial myself, I strongly dislike driving and don’t own a car.)

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Smart Growth News — August 27, 2014

The expense of sprawl
Reuters — August 26, 2014
It’s expensive to live in a big city. But what if it’s more expensive to live in a small city? The Citizen’s Budget Commission, a non-profit financial watchdog organization in New York, took a look at housing costs in US metro areas recently, then added in transportation costs. By these two metrics, New York City (and most dense metro areas with good public transportation) is one of the cheaper urban options.
What Cities Can Teach Marketers About Marketing
Forbes — August 26, 2014
While it may seem counterintuitive, I decided to ask the following question: What can consumer marketers learn from the people who successfully market their communities?  Put another way, what can “smart cities” and the men and women who promote them teach the private sector about marketing?
Preservation group to Congress: Save historic tax credit
The Syracuse Post-Standard — August 27, 2014
The Preservation League of New York State is worried Congress will kill a tax credit it says has saved many old buildings from the wrecking ball. The nonprofit organization called on Congress Tuesday to enhance the federal historic tax credit rather than repeal it.
Carper launching bridge tour to push for longer highway bill
The Hill — August 26, 2014
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is planning to visit a trio of bridges in his state on Thursday to make the case for Congress to approve a long-term transportation funding bill when lawmakers return to Washington in September.

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Pasco County, FL hosts workshop on revitalizing U.S. 19 corridor

A building in New Port Richey, Florida. Photo via Wikipedia Commons.
On July 30 and 31, 2014, officials and local residents of Pasco County, FL met with representatives from Smart Growth America as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop aimed to provide Pasco County with tools and techniques to implement plans to revitalize the Harbors, a portion of the U.S. Route 19 corridor that follows the county’s coastline.

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Smart Growth News — August 26, 2014

How Transit, Walkability Help Make Cities More Affordable
The Huffington Post — August 25, 2014
When typical housing and transportation costs are considered together and measured against incomes, cities generally thought to be relatively unaffordable because of high rents – such as San Francisco and New York – actually turn out to be more affordable than sprawling cities because of the high cost of driving in spread-out locations.
Discover The Playable City: The Happy Face Of The Urban Environment
Forbes — August 26, 2014
Watershed’s Playable City Award 2014 challenged artists and creatives from around the world to produce a future-facing artwork which uses creative technology to explore the theme of the Playable City.
Slowing Home Sales Show U.S. Market Lacks Momentum: Economy
Bloomberg — August 25, 2014
The pace of new-home sales fell to the slowest in four months in July, signaling U.S. real estate lacks the vigor to propel faster growth in the economy.
The first results of our State of the City Poll. 
Citylab — August 25, 2014
City centers and downtowns across the United States may very well be in the midst of a comeback or a renaissance, be reaching a moment of triumph or successfully transforming themselves into magnets for millennials and retiring boomers. But according to the new Atlantic Media/Siemens State of the City Poll, when it comes to overall community satisfaction, the suburbs are still king.

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Downtown revitalization helps Cheyenne, WY remain competitive

The WranglerDowntown Cheyenne, WY. Photo by Cliff, via Flickr.

Cheyenne, WY is at a crossroads. As the state capital of Wyoming, the city of 65,000 residents has long represented the cultural identity and values traditionally associated with the rural American West. Yet just 90 miles north of Denver, CO, Cheyenne is also a growing participant in the economy of the Front Range region, which includes Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Ft. Collins among other major and mid-sized metropolitan regions in northern Colorado.

“Residents in Cheyenne want to become a part of that growing Front Range economy, while still being rooted in the values of Wyoming,” says Cheyenne’s Planning Services Director Matt Ashby, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. For Ashby, balancing these two sides of the city is about attracting new investment to Cheyenne while preserving the city’s unique character.

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Smart Growth News — August 25, 2014

Rebuilding America, one bridge at a time
The Washington Post — August 21, 2014
We know from the excesses of the past what the drivers for growth going forward cannot be: headlong health-sector expansion, a balloon in home equity or unsustainable consumer credit. So what is the logical big driver for the next round of growth?
Walkability or the Ability to Walk
The Colorado Springs Independent — August 23, 2014
So you want to design your commercial project for “walkability”, huh? Let’s start by getting a good understanding of what it means to be “walkable.” There is a profound and distinct difference between “walkable” and the “ability to walk” within a place.
The Future Of Urban Planning: Zoning For Drones
Popular Science — August 22, 2014
A century ago, as cars first emerged into the world, cities and laws that were designed for horses suddenly had to adapt to a whole new presence in their space. Cities didn’t know how to handle these fast machines, and fatal accidents in the early age of cars led to legal battles between pedestrians and cars over who had the right to the road.

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Smart Growth News — August 21, 2014

The cities where housing is more expensive than you would expect
The Washington Post — August 20, 2014
When you pay for a place to live, you pay for both the building and the location, and, as any real estate agent will tell you, the latter is far more important. When the housing market in a city heats up, it’s not the buildings that have suddenly become more desirable. It’s the location, the land values.
What exactly is transit-oriented development?
Finance and Commerce — August 21, 2014
TOD offers an option that is scarce within the region, where most existing developments reflect the auto dominance of the last 60 years. We know there is strong demand for TOD since every new development that meets the definition fills up quickly and charges premium rents, unless all or some units are explicitly limited to those who qualify for affordable housing.
U.S. Cities Are Hot and Getting Hotter (Interactive)
The Weather Channel — August 21, 2014
Cities are almost always hotter than the surrounding rural area but global warming takes that heat and makes it worse. In the future, this combination of urbanization and climate change could raise urban temperatures to levels that threaten human health, strain energy resources, and compromise economic productivity.
GOP senators predict highway funding will change
The Hill — August 20, 2014
Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) predicted this week that lawmakers will find a new way to pay for U.S. transportation projects beyond the gas tax, according to the Fort Smith, Ark., Southwest Times Record. The federal gas tax, which is currently priced at 18.4 cents per gallon, has been the traditional source of revenue for transportation projects since the inception of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s.

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Smart Growth News — August 20, 2014

Bloomberg Offers Grants to Help Cities Innovate
ABC News — August 20, 2014
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charitable foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, is announcing on Wednesday that it’s putting $45 million into Innovation Delivery grants. The grants are to help cities create teams that use data and other tools to come up with ideas for how to tackle problems.
Cities Are Getting Even Hotter
US News and World Report — August 20, 2014
America’s cities, which already tend to form “heat islands” that are warmer than the rest of the region, are now getting “dramatically” hotter at faster rates than their surrounding rural areas – potentially threatening the health of hundreds of millions of Americans, a new study finds.
Why haven’t China’s cities learned from America’s mistakes?
The Guardian — August 20, 2014
In the wake of economic reforms in the 1990s that helped set off the largest urban migration in history, China had the rare opportunity to embrace cutting-edge city-building approaches as it expanded its skyline. It could have avoided the mistakes that made Los Angeles into the land of gridlock, or bypassed the errors that turned the banlieues of Paris into what one American planner calls “festering urban sores”.
US Transportation Secretary Foxx awards $4.03 million to accelerate transportation innovation
EIN News — August 19, 2014
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced more than $4 million in grants from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) designed to accelerate innovation in highway project delivery. The funds, which offset the cost of demonstration projects, will help to get roads and bridges repaired and built faster and more efficiently. Additional grants will be announced in coming weeks.

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Placemaking done right: three successful approaches

An improved storefront in Soldotna, AK. Photo courtesy of City of Soldotna.

It is often hard to quantify what makes a place memorable, successful or special, but to paraphrase an old adage, “You know it when you see it.” Some urban planners have described placemaking as the deliberate re-shaping of the built environment to facilitate social interaction and improve quality of life. While there is no universal blueprint for creating great places, there are successful examples worth noting, especially given the numerous benefits that come with great placemeking.

Placemaking improves the physical, psychological, health and public safety aspects of a community. Creating attractive places where people want to be increases foot traffic and helps support the local economy, which is critically important. Interesting places with more community interaction also reduce crime and instill a sense of identity to a neighborhood. So, how does good placemaking happen? The following examples from Philadelphia (PA), Soldotna (AK) and Orlando (FL) showcase three approaches on different scales, achieved by different means.

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Smart Growth News — August 19, 2014

It’s hard to build cities for kids. But do they really need them?
The Washington Post — August 19, 2014
It’s 2014, and Washington D.C.’s municipal government is blessed. The city has become a magnet for young, educated, ambitious people with healthy incomes, which they shower on the swanky shops and restaurants that have bloomed along former riot corridors of the resurgent capital.
America’s 15 Best Cities For Young Professionals
Forbes — August 18, 2014
The American economy has pumped out more than 200,000 jobs a month for six months running, as of the latest (July) numbers. Still, more than 2 million college-educated workers age 25 or older are unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The double threat of climate and land use change enhances risks to biodiversity
Science Codex — August 18, 2014
Researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, have developed a new approach to measure the combined exposure of species to both climate and land use change. This new metric was used to assess the risk to species in the face of combined rates of climate and land use for the US from 2001 to 2051.
The Bullet Train That Could Change Everything
Government Technology — August 18, 2014
With Central Japan Railway’s efforts to sell high-speed trains on the U.S. coasts going nowhere, Texas has emerged as the company’s best hope for introducing its wildly successful technology to the American market. It also may turn out to be a transformative event in the history of the nation’s transportation system.

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