Office Owners Seen Gaining Edge Over in More U.S. Cities
Bloomberg – March 10, 2014
Young workers are flooding major cities and an influx of foreign investors is driving up property prices. Those increases eventually will find their way into rents, he said.
Why We Should Focus Infrastructure Spending on Urban America
Governing – March 10, 2014
Metropolitan areas are the homes of our economic engines, and that’s where the need for infrastructure investment is greatest.
Use of Public Transit in U.S. Reaches Highest Level Since 1956
New York Times – March 10, 2014
More Americans used buses, trains and subways in 2013 than in any year since 1956 as service improved, local economies grew and travelers increasingly sought alternatives to the automobile for trips within metropolitan areas, the American Public Transportation Association said in a report released on Monday.
A wiser way of counting
Better Cities & Towns – March 10, 2014
Those who most want change in the built environment — the individuals and groups least likely to be satisfied with sprawl — can accept a new urban math. Coming together under a big tent for synergistic growth that contributes to strong communities.
Urbanization is happening rapidly. Is this good or bad?
Huffington Post – March 10, 2014
Urban development is significantly more efficient with resources, because higher density yields lower waste.
Seniors Create Their Own Communities in Cities
Governing – March 7, 2014
More and more seniors are creating naturally occurring retirement communities, forcing cities to rethink zoning laws and how they provide services.
10 Lessons in More Engaging Citizen Engagement
Planetizen – March 7, 2014
With cities seeking to involve diverse voices in city-making to get beyond “the usual suspects,” Vancouver urbanists Brent Toderian and Jillian Glover examine how cities in their region are finding new ways to increase civic participation.
Why Do “Best Places to Work” Rankings Overlook Commuting?
Streetsblog – March 6, 2014
You’ve probably seen one of those rankings for your city that tells people where the “best places to work” are locally.
Urbanizing Metro Detroit’s Suburbia
See Michigan Startup – March 7, 2014
“The concept of city versus suburbs: drop it. It’s obsolete,” says Christopher Leinberger, non-resident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution and former professor and founder of University of Michigan’s graduate real estate development program. “We need a a new lexicon.”
On the left: A former car dealership in Clearwater, FL became a designated brownfield after the dealership closed. On the right: Today the site is home to the Harbor Oaks shopping center, complete with a new grocery store for the community.
You might be familiar with the concept of brownfields—vacant sites that are known or suspected to be contaminated and which must be remediated before they can be reused. A related, but less well-known concept is healthfields, which turn former brownfields into community health facilities. Healthfields are gaining wide support within regulatory and policy circles, and their popularity opens up new opportunities for real estate developers in these fields.
In many markets today brownfields are unfortunately common enough that land-use-related companies have evolved to specialize in brownfields redevelopment. These companies—including real estate developers, law firms and engineering firms, among others—have learned to navigate the complex regime of rules, procedures and standards that govern the redevelopment of brownfield sites. These companies have also become experts in the web of federal, state and local programs available for brownfields redevelopment, which are often what make brownfield site redevelopment financially feasible.
Cities Mobilize to Help Those Threatened by Gentrification
New York Times – March 3, 2014
Cities that have worked for years to attract young professionals who might have once moved to the suburbs are now experimenting with ways to protect a group long deemed expendable — working- and lower-middle class homeowners threatened by gentrification.
Building for Resilience Without the Feds Breathing Down Your Neck
Next City – March 6, 2014
One of New York City’s signature Sandy recovery efforts found itself in the international spotlight earlier this week.
Providence city planners unveil first comprehensive zoning update in 20 years
Providence Journal (RI) – March 5, 2014
Farmers’ markets, food trucks, nightclubs and even bicycle parking would be regulated in the new zoning ordinance proposed for Providence — which hasn’t had a comprehensive update in 20 years.
12 ways to make cities more child-friendly
Spacing – March 4, 2014
For far too long, many people have considered family life and urban life as being mutually exclusive. That trend is slowly reversing, as more and more parents choose to raise their kids in urban areas. However, city builders often fail to consider their smallest, most vulnerable users.
Flint, Michigan, Declares ‘War on Blight’
Planetizen – March 6, 2014
Flint Mayor Dayne Walling used the occasion of his recent State of the City speech to call for a $70 million “war on blight”
In Indianapolis, A Bike Path to Progress
New York Times- March 4, 2014
The trail is putting Indianapolis on the map as a place to see bold innovation.
Earlier today President Obama released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2015, focusing on economic growth, job creation for the middle class, and fiscal responsibility.
An important part of the administration’s priorities includes improving infrastructure and investing in urban and community development. Three federal agencies carry the brunt of that workload, and here is how the president’s proposal would affect each of them.
Smart Growth Helps Combat Climate Change
Huffington Post – March 5, 2014
One opportunity that should be seized upon is the implementation of smart growth principles throughout our communities. Not only do these principles foster economic vitality, respect the environment, and improve quality of life, they also inherently help lower carbon emissions.
Fla. SunRail, Md. Purple Line among DOT ‘new start’ grant winners
The Hill – March 5, 2014
A proposed light rail in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., and a Florida commuter rail extension are among the recommended winners of “new starts” transportation grants in President Obama’s proposed 2015 budget.
Report: NY’s Brownfield Program Pays Off
Globe St. – March 5, 2014
Local communities across New York have received significant direct and indirect economic benefits from the State Brownfield Cleanup Program, according to a new report.
Beltline Visionary Calls For Transit Options, Cap On Sprawl
Curbed Atlanta – March 5, 2014
Whether the relatively brutal winter events of 2014 will evoke change in metro Atlanta’s transportation habits remains to be seen, but it’s a safe bet government officials and local scribes will keep trying to parlay Atlanta’s two-inch-snow malady into a call for large-scale alternate transit — and a control on sprawl.
A visualization of the Northfax node along Fairfax Boulevard illustrating a potential future condition. Photo courtesy of Dover Kohl & Partners.
In June, 2013 Smart Growth America visited the city of Fairfax, VA to help city leaders there figure out new strategies for development. How is Fairfax using that workshop to inform its work today?
Since 2007, the City has been working to revitalize Fairfax Boulevard, the main commercial corridor running through the city. The boulevard is currently home to strip mall-type retail and other low-density commercial businesses but recent developer interest in projects along Fairfax Boulevard made the City realize that low-density development on the corridor would not support the community over the long term. So the Department of Community Development and Planning applied for one of Smart Growth America’s free technical assistance workshops, viewing it as an opportunity to ground public discussions about development in sound fiscal policy.
Town ranked first for safety
Littleton Independent (MA) – March 4, 2014
Littleton recently ranked first in the nation by community improvement organization Smart Growth America for its newly-implemented policy of increasing pedestrian safety. In the same list, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation ranked 11th.
Las Vegas (Of All Places) May Be About to Reinvent Car Ownership
The Atlantic Cities – March 4, 2014
When your boss is Tony Hsieh, it’s not unusual to wind up in a bar for your last meeting of the day.
$302 Billion—Can We Get There?
National Journal – March 4, 2014
Give President Obama credit for (sort of) touching the third rail of modern American politics.
Anti-Smart Growth Tirade Sounds a Lot Like Urbanism
Streetsblog USA – March 3, 2014
What do proponents of healthy cities — or smart growth, if you prefer — really want? Is it top-down government bureaucracy interfering with everyone’s lives, or is it more choices? Like the choice not to live in tract suburbia and drive to work alone each day.
This multi-use sidepath in Anchorage, AK is maintained and used for transportation year-round. Photo courtesy of Lori Schanche, Anchorage Department of Public Works.
Last month, Senator Mark Begich of Alaska introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2014 (S. 2004), which requires states and regions to adopt Complete Streets policies for federally funded transportation projects.
Why would a Senator from the nation’s coldest state introduce legislation that supports walking, biking and transit? Complete Streets strategies aren’t just for big cities or warm climates. Smaller cities and towns across the country are embracing Complete Streets, with policies now in place in 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
In Alaska, communities as far north as Fairbanks and North Pole are putting Complete Streets principles to work as more and more residents get around without getting in the car. And these efforts are paying off. The state ranks highest in the U.S. in the percentage of walking and biking commutes and in per capita funding for non-motorized transportation, and third-lowest in fatality rate among walkers and bicyclists.
A new implementation brief about Complete Streets in Alaska has even more information about the strategies being used by this snowy state. Here are some highlights from the brief.
Peru street program ranks as one of best in nation
Kokomo Tribune (IN) – March 2, 2014
Coalition says city has detailed, long-term plan
Is Sprawl Development Simply Unaffordable?
Sourceable.net – March 3, 2014
Sprawl is a development pattern that prioritizes and thus nearly requires automobile use thanks to low density buildings built on previously undeveloped agricultural or “greenfield” sites.
2014 Navigating MAP-21 Workshop Dates Announced
Alliance for Biking & Walking – March 3, 2014
More and more Americans want to live in communities where walking and bicycling are safe, easy, and accessible.
States Reinvest in Once-Abandoned Freight Lines
Planetizen – March 3, 2014
Take 260 trucks off the road for every train, avoid costs for maintaining highways maintenance cost, and create multiple other environmental and economic development advantages—states are reinvesting in their rail lines.