Announcing the recipients of Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance

The City of Franklin, TN is one of 14 communities that will receive a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America in 2015.

Smart Growth America is pleased to announce the 14 communities selected to receive free workshops in 2015 as part of our free technical assistance program.

Posted in Featured Content, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, South Dakota, Technical assistance, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Smart Growth News — December 11, 2014

America’s Foreign-Born Population is Moving to the Suburbs
National Journal — December 11, 2014
America’s immigrant population is increasingly dispersed and more likely to live in suburban areas than just a decade ago. The changes are part of a long-term trend that experts predict could, when coupled with President Obama’s recent executive action, dramatically reshape communities around the United States.
Highway Funds Fall Low Enough That Republicans Seek Taxes
Bloomberg — December 10, 2014
Falling fuel prices, crumbling roads and bridges and a gridlocked Congress have U.S. states, even those run by Republicans, debating higher taxes.
Cities look to get smart with technology
U-T San Diego — December 10, 2014
In big cities of the future, commuters will get text messages telling them not only whether their train is on time but also suggesting that they walk two blocks and catch the express bus, which will get to their destination faster.
Spending Bill Increases Mass Transit Funding
Roll Call — December 10, 2014
The $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled Tuesday night includes important transportation policy provisions. Here’s a brief summary.

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Smart Growth News — December 10, 2014

How The Suburbs Highlight The Divide Between America’s Haves And Have-Nots
Forbes — December 10, 2014
Even as many urban areas have experienced a marked resurgence, America’s farthest-flung suburbs have been facing deep and substantial challenges, as their rates of growth have slowed and their crime and poverty rates have risen. Alan Ehrenhaltdubbed this reversal of metropolitan fortunes “the great inversion.”
Secretary Jewell Announces New Tools to Help Communities Build Resilience to Climate Change
U.S. Department of the Interior — December 9, 2014
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced the release of two new hubs of datasets that are part of the Climate Data Initiative (CDI), a key feature of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to help local and state leaders build greater community resilience in the face of climate change.
Fifty U.S. cities bond together to home-grow broadband
The Washington Post — December 9, 2014
There is a club of U.S. mayors fixated on improving the way broadband Internet works in their cities. And, while it’s new, it’s growing. Called Next Century Cities, the group added Medina County, Ohio, this week and now numbers 50 cities (and the occasional county).
Senate panel approves Obama highway safety pick
The Hill — December 9, 2014
President Obama’s nominee to lead the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) was approved by Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

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Donate for safer streets


Every child knows to look both ways before crossing the street. But in many places, looking both ways isn’t enough: almost 18,000 children are hospitalized each year for pedestrian injuries.

We can do more to keep kids safe while walking or biking. A Complete Streets approach is fundamental to make streets safer for everyone—of all ages—who uses them. But towns can’t do it without our help.

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Smart Growth News — December 9, 2014

Want To Stop Your Brain From Getting Old? Live In A Walkable Neighborhood
Fast Co.Exist — December 8, 2014
At Kansas University, assistant professor of psychology Amber Watts is gearing up for a large study on how the walkability of neighborhoods impacts cognition—and maybe even dementia. An initial pilot study on 25 people she conducted with a fellow Alzheimer’s researcher and two architects found that the sample of older adults who lived in more “walkable” neighborhoods performed much better on cognition tests.
Heartland project could help Lincoln, other cities adapt to climate change
Lincoln Journal-Star (NE) — December 8, 2014
Climate change isn’t a myth for the public officials involved in the Heartland Climate Adaptation/Resilience Project. The project’s goal is to help communities identify and cope with its long-term effects. Based on scientific evidence, they believe climate change is a reality and they want their communities to be ready for water shortages, rising temperatures, increased flooding and other potential consequences.
Copenhagen Lighting the Way to Greener, More Efficient Cities
The New York Times — December 8, 2014
On a busy road in the center of town here, a string of green lights embedded in the bike path — the “Green Wave” — flashes on, helping cyclists avoid red traffic lights. On a main artery into the city, truck drivers can see on smartphones when the next light will change. And in a nearby suburb, new LED streetlights brighten only as vehicles approach, dimming once they pass.
Why Mixed-Use is Staple of New Construction
GlobeSt Real Estate — December 8, 2014
Mixed-use and transit-oriented developments are emerging as a staple of new construction across the Southeast, though they are still less visible to the capital markets. It’s rare to see a new office or condo building rise without ground floor retail or a hotel component.

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Anderson, CA works build a resilient economic identity

lake shasta
Impressive natural features such as Lake Shasta surround Anderson, CA. Photo by U.S. Forest Service via Flickr.

Like many small cities in America, Anderson, CA is proud of its unique and welcoming character. Also like many cities, however, the commuter town of 9,900 residents is reliant on local revenue—and needs to ensure dependable revenue growth without sacrificing that character. A former hub of mining and timber activity, Anderson now largely functions as a bedroom community for nearby Redding. But local officials and community members alike aspire to carve out a more coherent and resilient niche in the regional economy. That’s where Smart Growth America came in.

To begin articulating a vision for the city’s long-term economic development, Anderson officials and residents welcomed experts from Smart Growth America on October 14 and 15, 2014. Over the course of a two-day technical assistance workshop, Smart Growth America provided local stakeholders with the tools to begin thinking through scenarios for Anderson’s future economic identity.

Posted in Blog, California, Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health, Technical assistance, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

San Diego works to align zoning laws with sustainability goals

Little Italy
A mixed-use development in San Diego, CA’s Little Italy. Image by Chris via Flickr.

If all goes according to plan, San Diego, CA will soon pass a Climate Action Plan full of ambitious goals for reducing emissions. Integral to the plan is a vision of smart growth: adopting more sustainable land use patterns, particularly through walkable mixed-use, transit-oriented development.

In advance of the plan’s passage, the City of San Diego suspected that its zoning code could be doing more to encourage sustainable development. So they brought in the experts.

On October 9, 2014, a technical assistance team from Smart Growth America and Clarion visited San Diego for a Sustainable Land Use Code Audit workshop. The instructors worked with stakeholders to review key portions of the zoning code to identify how they could better support the mixed-use and transit-oriented development envisioned by the City’s General Plan and made all the more urgent by the anticipated Climate Action Plan.

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Smart Growth News — December 8, 2014

Cities and Markets Can Fight Climate Change
Bloomberg View — December 8, 2014
Representatives from every national government are meeting this week to work toward a global climate agreement, and the location of the conference — Lima, Peru — offers critically important lessons for negotiators.
Is Jan Gehl winning his battle to make our cities liveable?
The Guardian (UK) — December 8, 2014
Jan Gehl had just graduated as an architect; it was 1960 and he had been schooled in how to “do modern cities, with high-rises and a lot of lawns and good open space – good windy spaces”.
More People in Cities Today Live in Poverty Than in 1970
NextCity — December 5, 2014
In the past year, there have been countless headlines decrying the trend of coffee shops, craft breweries and loft apartments infiltrating inner-city neighborhoods. It would be easy to think that displacement is the new economic normal, but how many neighborhoods that used to have high rates of poverty have actually gentrified and how many people have actually been displaced by this new development?
The Tax That Dare Not Be Hiked
The Atlantic — December 7, 2014
In theory, advocates of an infusion of spending to fix the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges have found the perfect political moment. Fuel prices are plunging to their lowest level in years. The Highway Trust Fund is broke, and Congress faces a spring deadline to replenish it. The obvious answer—the only answer, according to many in Washington—is to raise the 18.4 cent-per-gallon gas tax, which hasn’t gone up in more than 20 years.

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Smart Growth News —December 5, 2014

A suburban world
The Economist — December 5, 2014
In the West, suburbs could hardly be less fashionable. Singers and film-makers lampoon them as the haunts of bored teenagers and desperate housewives. Ferguson, Missouri, torched by its residents following the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, epitomizes the failure of many American suburbs. Mayors like boasting about their downtown trams or metrosexual loft dwellers not their suburbs.
Why Cities Can’t Afford to Lose Their Artists
CityLab — December 4, 2014
What do we really know about the role of art in the city? Does it help to drive economic growth and development or does it contribute to gentrification? Are leading edge arts clusters found just in big cities, like New York and Los Angeles, or can they spread to smaller and medium sized ones as well?
Cities in Climate Change Danger, Warns Scientist
WIRED — December 5, 2014
Cities have been getting a lot of love these days, as home to more than half of the world’s population and sites of revitalization, innovative governance strategies, and cultural vibrancy. But urban locations may also be ground zero for climate change, both as perpetrators of a warming atmosphere and as victims of its multi-tiered effects.
As Boston, Other U.S. Cities Pursue Olympics, Critics See No Upside
NPR — December 4, 2014
It’s one of four U.S. cities that submitted bids on Monday — along with Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco — and by most accounts is in the lead. And while many Bostonians are buzzing with excitement, a resistance movement called No Boston Olympics, headed by Dempsey, is out front opposing the bid.

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Building partnerships to support smart growth in Elizabeth, NJ

A view of downtown Elizabeth, NJ. Photo via City of Elizabeth.

Home to more 125,000 residents and the largest industrial seaport in North America—all in the space of just 11 square miles—the city of Elizabeth, NJ presents unique challenges for fostering smart growth. “There’s not a lot of room to enhance our city or grow it by expanding the boundaries or adding residents,” says Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. “So the process of smart growth—and making sure there is open space as well as economic development—is extremely important for the mayor of a community like Elizabeth.”

Through 32 years of service as an elected official—22 of them spent in the Mayor’s office—Bollwage has helped guide the city in striking a balance between environmental and economic responsibilities, supported by funds and expertise from diverse sources. One example currently under construction is the Elizabeth River Trail, connecting downtown Elizabeth with the nearby Arthur Kill waterway. When completed, the trail will be 2.5 miles long and accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, and features like kayak launches and public art.

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