Join us to discuss HUD’s new disaster resilience grants

Joplin, MO. Photo by Bob Webster via Flickr.

Communities recovering from natural disasters have an important choice: rebuild damaged areas as they were, or change investments and policies to be more resilient to future environmental and economic shocks?

This decision will impact how communities are able to recover from future disasters, and ensure that investments made today withstand the impacts that may come with climate change.

A new grant opportunity from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is designed to help communities understand the implications of these choices, and how to remain resilient in the face of natural disasters for decades to come.

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Smart Growth News — September 29, 2014

Walkable communities can help old and young alike thrive
Deseret News — September 28, 2014
TransitCenter, a philanthropy that focuses on promoting mass transit, released a survey last week that found great and unmet demand for neighborhoods that include housing, retail and commercial space, mixed together. While 58 percent consider that mix an ideal neighborhood, only 39 percent of the nationally representative sample said they live in such a neighborhood.

As Global Leaders Stall, Cities Move To Cut Emissions, Boost Efficiency
International Business Times — September 27, 2014
In the face of global and federal paralysis on climate-change policy, local officials in the U.S. are already moving to cut their cities’ emissions and make their infrastructures less vulnerable to environmental threats. In Dubuque, Iowa, municipal leaders are rolling out data technology to help residents use less water and electricity.

Study: “Bioregional” approach can help improve human and environmental health
News Medical — September 27, 2014
“City planners, health officials and researchers are combining knowledge and action in new ways to promote healthy placemaking,” said Keith Pezzoli, PhD, UC San Diego Department of Communication and director of the Urban Studies and Planning Program. “Our health is not entirely hardwired genetically. It is also affected by environmental exposures, stress, diet, urban design and behavior. In our region, we can’t think about health on just one side of the border because animals, sick people and pollutants move back and forth.”

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Huntington, WV hosts workshop to implement Plan 2025’s vision of reinvestment

featured image-Huntington
Pullman Square in downtown Huntington, WV. Photo by Nicholas Eckhart via Flickr.

On August 5 and 6, 2014, Huntington, WV officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The city recently updated its comprehensive plan, Plan 2025, and this workshop aimed to provide Huntington with tools and techniques to implement Plan 2025’s vision of reinvestment in local infrastructure, housing and businesses. The workshop focused on how shifting development patterns towards more compact, transit-oriented development could benefit the local economy and local government finances.

“The City of Huntington is committed to seeking the tools and training to help develop strategies that reduce negative outcomes from a combined stormwater and sanitary system and encourage quality housing, and business development,” Mayor Steve Williams said. “We’re excited to work with Smart Growth America to find solutions to these and other local issues that will make our city even more attractive in the future.”

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Supervisor Sandy Ballard aims to build on the history of “The Sweetest Place on Earth”

7633359228_be2e8253e8_kHershey, PA. Photo by Jon Dawson via flickr.

In the early 1900s, Milton Hershey had a plan for a chocolate factory. Using proceeds from the sale of his caramel company, Hershey bought land for the factory in central Pennsylvania’s Derry Township, near his birthplace. What would follow, however, was much more than just a factory. Based on Hershey’s vision, Hershey, PA grew to include schools, shops, a theater, a stadium, and even the Hershey Amusement Park, which was originally intended for the recreational use of employees and their families. The indelible imprint that Hershey left on Derry Township can be seen in everything from the Milton Hershey School, which continues to educate underprivileged children, to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, founded after Hershey’s death through an endowment of his trust, to the Hershey’s Kiss–shaped street lights that adorn downtown Chocolate Avenue.

A model smart growth town, Hershey, PA was built as a place where residents could live, work, and play. High quality housing, an affordable transportation system, tree-lined streets, and cultural opportunities combined to offer Hersey’s residents a uniquely high quality of life. The vision of Milton Hershey was as much about progress as it was about whimsy, as much about opportunity as it was inspiration, and as much about community as it was chocolate.

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Smart Growth News — September 26, 2014

Developers Build Luxury, Bike-Friendly Buildings
The Wall Street Journal — September 25, 2014
As cities, suburbs and rural communities race to add bike-share programs and lanes and trails for cyclists, developers and home-builders are rolling out amenities designed to woo more bike riders and stand out from the competition. And by bulking up on bike-friendly amenities, developers can go after both ends of the demographic spectrum—20- and 30-somethings who want to live closer to work as well as older baby boomers looking for a more walkable, bike-able lifestyle.
5 Big Announcements For Cities at Climate Week
Inside Climate News — September 26, 2014
Even as nations gathered in New York this week to discuss global-level action on climate change, there was strong recognition that cities, not countries, have so far played the pivotal role in the world’s fight against climate change—and will continue to do in the decades to come.
HUD’s Castro: New Instruction Coming on Fair Housing
NBC News — September 25, 2014
Castro, who moved into the Cabinet job in July, spoke at the Asian Asian American Advancing Justice conference, a summit of civil and social justice groups advocating for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. He said the fair housing guidance, which should be final in coming months, is part of a recommitment to uphold fair housing, anti-discrimination laws.
Foxx Touts Reliable Bus Service As Economic Lifeline
Roll Call — September 25, 2014
In Jesse Jackson’s stump speech when he ran for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination were the memorable lines about the working poor: “They work hard every day. I know, I live amongst them. They catch the early bus.” In a speech Thursday at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx spoke up for those who catch the early bus — and the late bus, too, as he announced a $25 million grant to the city to purchase 50 new buses.

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Upcoming webinar: Investing in Healthy Communities

Walkable real estate is a priority in downtown Indianapolis, IN. Photo via Flickr.

Across the country, public- and private-sector investment in walkability is on the rise. Join LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors on October 8, 2014 for an online presentation to discuss new and innovative models for building walkable development projects that generate health and economic benefits for the entire community.

During the webinar, expert panelists Colleen Carey, president of the Cornerstone Group and Elizabeth Schilling, Senior Policy Manager at Smart Growth America will discuss every facet of the development process including:

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Webinar recap: All about our free technical assistance workshops

epa-ta-webinar-2014Applications are currently open for Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance workshops, and earlier this week we hosted a webinar to discuss details of the opportunity.

If you missed the webinar, you can now view the presentation slides. The slides include an overview of the application process, everything you need to know about each workshop type, and the components of a strong application. Still have questions? Email and we’ll do our best to answer them.

This opportunity is currently open, but applications are due soon! Submit your application by October 23, 2014 by 5:00 PM EDT.

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Two new federal opportunities to help communities build in better ways

san-antonio-txSan Antonio, TX’s Eastside neighborhood was one of the first five designated Promise Zones. Photo by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, via Flickr.

Two new opportunities from the federal government are now open to communities and states interested in growing in more strategic, economically resilient ways.

On September 17, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new grant program to help communities rebuild and increase their resilience to future disasters. The National Disaster Resilience Competition will make available nearly $1 billion to support innovative resilience projects at the local level while encouraging communities to adopt policy changes and activities that plan for the impacts of extreme weather and climate change, as well as rebuild affected areas to be better prepared for the future. The opportunity is open to all communities that experienced a Presidentially declared major disaster in 2011, 2012 or 2013.

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Smart Growth News — September 25, 2014

Even as Sun Belt Cities Grow, Many Are Left Behind
National Journal — September 24, 2014
Fueled by the energy boom, this sprawling and steamy city has added significantly more jobs since 2000 than any other U.S. metropolitan area. Yet about one-sixth of its people remain mired in poverty—higher than the average for the nation’s largest cities. And in a city where minority students now fill more than 90 percent of its public-school desks, it sometimes seems it might be easier for young people from the heavily Hispanic East End to walk to the moon than to climb to a job in one of its glassy downtown office towers.
We should pay more attention to what cities are doing about climate change
Vox — September 24, 2014
Every city trying to cut emissions will look to different specific policies — what works in New York City may not work in Lagos. But the C40 report — written with UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg — lists four broad steps that could reduce emissions significantly.
The Dystopian City and Urban Policy
Slate — September 24, 2014
Science fiction has inspired scientists and political activists, but it should be an inspiration for municipal governments too.
What are the fastest growing cities (by socioeconomics) in the U.S.?
The Houston Chronicle — September 24, 2014
Wallet Hub released its ranking of the U.S.’s fastest growing cities after examining data from 2008 to 2013. The group identified the 516 small, midsize and large cities that have expanded most rapidly in socioeconomic terms between 2008 and 2013.  It analyzed metrics ranging from population growth rate to unemployment rate decrease.
Why Sprawling LA Could Be Denser Than NYC in a Decade
Gizmodo — September 24, 2014
By 2025, the biggest cities in the world will not only be bigger, but exceptionally denser. According to a new study, Hong Kong will be the densest megacity on the planet, almost twice as crowded as the runner up. And here in the U.S.—and this might be a real shocker—Los Angeles may be more dense than New York City.

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Smart Growth News — September 24, 2014

Bloomberg presents city-centric climate report to U.N.
Capital New York — September 24, 2014
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg released a report Tuesday at the U.N. climate summit detailing how 228 cities around the world could cut 13 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
UN Climate Summit: Obama flexes US muscle in global climate fight
Christian Science Monitor — September 23, 2014
At a UN Climate Summit in New York Tuesday, President Obama said the US was beginning to take action to fight climate change, but must do more. Mr. Obama called on the international community to make strong commitments on clean energy ahead of next year’s climate talks in Paris.
Vice President Joe Biden to talk infrastructure Wednesday
Daily Press (Norfolk) — September 23, 2014
Biden will visit the Port of Virginia’s Norfolk International Terminals, where he will discuss the “importance of investing in infrastructure to grow the economy and create jobs,” an advisory from his office stated.
Study: States Are Actually Driving Transportation Funding Declines
Governing — September 23, 2014
It has become an oft-repeated talking point in discussions over how to fix the federal transportation funding formula: The federal government has become an unreliable partner to the states. But states are at least as much to blame for the drop in transportation spending over the last decade as the federal government.

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