Now Hiring: Leadership Institute Fellow

Smart Growth America is currently in search of a Fellow to support our Leadership Institute and technical assistance work. The Fellow will be an integral part of the technical assistance team and will play a vital role in managing the day-to-day operations of our workshop program for local communities around the country. Core responsibilities include: providing logistical and research support for workshops and policy summits, coordinating with workshop instructors and communities receiving workshops, authoring blogs, and promoting our technical assistance through social networking.

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Now Hiring: LOCUS Massachusetts State Director

LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors is seeking a talented and motivated individual to organize smart growth real estate developers in Massachusetts.

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Federal Realty Trust and Lucas Thornton recognized with 2015 LOCUS Leadership Awards

AwardWinners

Since 2012, LOCUS has presented the national LOCUS Leadership Awards to developers and investors who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to public leadership, smart growth development, and furthering LOCUS’ mission.

This year, we received a record-breaking number of nominations from all over the country, and our decision was more difficult than ever before. That said, we are pleased to announce the following winners of the 2015 LOCUS Leadership Awards.

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A new push to make brownfield cleanup more affordable

esty-brownfields-bill-2015Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and Mayor Patricia Murphy of New Milford, CT visit New Milford’s Century Brass mill, a brownfield site, in 2014. Photos via The News-Times.

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT-5) is fighting hard to reinstate a tax incentive to help cleaning up contaminated land more affordable and more feasible.

Late last month, Esty introduced the Brownfields Redevelopment Tax Incentive Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2002), a bill to re-establish the Brownfields Tax Incentive which ended in 2011.

Originally signed into law in 1997 and codified through Section 198(h) of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax code, the Incentive allowed taxpayers to fully deduct the costs of brownfield sites’ environmental cleanup the year the costs were incurred—making the arduous process more affordable for those who take it on.

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Complete Streets News — May 2015

Photo by Dylan Passmore

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Show your support for Safe Streets — Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA-5) and David Joyce (R-OH-14) introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2015 (HR 2071) on April 28. The bill would require states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to adopt a Complete Streets policy for planning, designing, and building streets. Representatives Matsui and Joyce were joined by 17 additional original cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

Join us in supporting the Safe Streets Act by telling your Representative that you care about Complete Streets. It only takes a few minutes. Send a letter today >>

Senator Brian Schatz, joined by eleven colleagues, sent a letter to Senator Jim Inhofe, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, urging him to promote and prioritize safety for all users in the upcoming reauthorization of federal transportation law. Read more >>

AARP launches Livability Index — The AARP Public Policy Institute introduced its interactive, easy-to-navigate tool to measure quality of life in communities. The Livability Index pulls together data on 40 metrics and 20 policies in categories such as housing affordability, transportation access, air and water quality, and health statistics to create a composite quality of life score for users to compare communities and identify areas of improvement. The Index is searchable by address, city, and zip code, and scores can be weighted by personal preferences. See more >>


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Join the 2015 LOCUS Leadership Summit for walking tours that highlight infrastructure in action

It’s Infrastructure Week here in Washington, and everyone inside the Beltway is talking about the benefits of investments in roads, bridges, and transit. In two weeks, as part of the 2015 LOCUS Leadership Summit, we’ll hold three walking tours that showcase neighborhoods transformed by investments in infrastructure—and you’re invited to join us.

hstreet2 H Street NE
One of the Washington, DC’s most historic neighborhoods, H Street has been home to legendary performance venues such as the Atlas Theatre and the H Street Playhouse. Now the center of a redevelopment renaissance—including construction of a new streetcar line—H Street NE is fighting to maintain affordability for residents both old and new.
brooklnad Brookland
This once-small neighborhood has grown steadily over the last few decades, and more recently boomed with the construction of large mixed-use development project, Monroe Street Market, one of the most prominent examples of transit-oriented development in the DC metro area.
tysons Tysons, VA
Once an “edge city” of primarily office and retail space, Tysons has taken a leap into new residential and commercial markets. The Silver Line, Metro’s most recent addition to its system, has garnered interest in mixed-use development and walkability in Tysons. Explore the newest investments toward this goal, including the Greensboro Park Place.


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Changing zoning codes to make Charlottesville, VA more vibrant and sustainable

charlottesvilleDowntown Pedestrian Mall in Charlottesville, VA. Photo by Abi Bhattachan via Flickr.

Charlottesville, VA has ambitious plans to grow its economy while becoming a healthier, more sustainable place to live. In 1998, Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County adopted Sustainability Accords and in 2013 completed a regional livability plan. These plans have put forth an ambitious vision and to help achieve those goals, Charlottesville brought in some expert help.

On April 28 and 29, 2015, a technical assistance team from Smart Growth America visited Charlottesville to conduct a Sustainable Land Use Code Audit workshop. Our instructors met with community members to review key portions of the zoning code and to identify zoning changes that could help the city become more sustainable, healthy, and economically vibrant.

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New analysis examines the fiscal implications of development patterns in West Des Moines, IA

fiscal-implications-wdm-coverIn early April, Smart Growth America released a new model for analyzing the fiscal performance of urban development. The City of Madison, WI, was the first city to use the new model in their development planning.

Today we’re proud to release new analysis of development patterns in West Des Moines, IA. The new research examines four different strategies for West Des Moines’ growth over the next 20 years. Each scenario assumes the development of 9,275 housing units and 2.69 million square feet of commercial space, which is in keeping with West Des Moines’ current growth.

The four scenarios have different densities and a different mix of home types. A “base density” scenario approximates the average density of development in West Des Moines today; a “low density” and “higher density” scenario represent incrementally lower, and higher development densities, respectively, than the base. And a “walkable urban” scenario has the highest density of all scenarios considered and represents a more dramatic departure from the typical development pattern in West Des Moines (though does not propose any high-rise development).

The model calculates average annual public costs for each scenario. Our researchers subtract that from the average annual public revenues generated by each scenario. The result is the net fiscal impact of each type of development.

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Secretary Anthony Foxx to deliver keynote address at 2015 LOCUS Leadership Summit

summit-foxx-700px

Great, walkable neighborhoods are stronger when people of all income levels can afford to live there. Next month, real estate developers from across the country will gather to talk about how they can help make that happen as part of the 2015 LOCUS Leadership Summit.

Transportation is a crucial part of this discussion and no one is more important in this arena than the U.S. Department of Transportation. The good news is that USDOT will join the Summit to speak frankly about how developers and transportation advocates can work together to build walkable, equitable communities.

We are excited to announce that U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will deliver the keynote address at the 2015 LOCUS Leadership Summit. Under Secretary Foxx’s leadership, USDOT is working to make sure transportation investments support working families and America’s broader economy. Foxx’s keynote will provide insights into USDOT’s current programs, its plans for the future, and how real estate developers can be part of the national effort for more equitable, walkable communities. Register today to join the event:


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Bipartisan coalition introduces the Safe Streets Act of 2015

safe-streets-act-2015

A new bill in the House of Representatives would help communities across the country make streets safer and more convenient for everyone who uses them.

Late yesterday, Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH) introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2015 (HR 2071), a bill which would require all new federally-funded transportation projects to use a Complete Streets approach to planning, designing, and building roads.

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