Webinar recap: HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition

New York, NY’s FDR Drive after flooding from Hurricane Sandy. Photo by David Shankbone, via Flickr.

Applications are currently open for HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition, and earlier this week, Smart Growth America hosted a webinar to discuss details of this $1 billion opportunity.

If you missed the webinar, you can now view the presentation slides online. The slides include an overview of the application process by Danielle Arigoni, Deputy Director, HUD Office of Economic Resilience, and Jessie Handforth Kome, Deputy Director, HUD Office of Block Grant Assistance.

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Smart Growth News — October 10, 2014

What Keeps U.S. Mayors Awake at Night?
NextCity — October 8, 2014
While we often get snapshots into how certain U.S. mayors feel about specific issues (like transportation or stadium subsidies or “poor doors”), we rarely get an integrated overview of the way our cities’ executive branches, on the whole, prioritize policies based on their political environs. To get that big-picture angle, former Boston mayor Tom Menino spearheaded a just-released study with the Initiative on Cities at Boston University.

Affordable Housing Without Representation
Forbes — October 10, 2014
With such a large and diverse housing stock, it is no surprise that the quality of the housing varies from property to property. However, when you look at the system as a whole, there is no ignoring the fact that the capital needs for our public housing are significant.

A Conversation on Future Urbanism, Tech Hubs
TechCrunch — October 9, 2014
It was a really interesting selection of panelists with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, former New York City director of planning Amanda Burden and Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh, who has been struggling to revive downtown Las Vegas, at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment summit yesterday in San Francisco.

The Mori Foundation’s ‘Global Power City Index 2104′ Ranks London #1, New York #2
Forbes — October 9, 2014
Today’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun notes the just-released 2014 Global City Power Index published by The Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Studies. The index is a ranking of top “global” cities by “qualitative attractiveness” in competition with other cities for people and corporations.

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Bring in the experts with a free smart growth workshop—applications are due October 23!

A scene from our walkability audit workshop in Salisbury, MD—one of 18 communities to receive free technical assistance from Smart Growth America in 2014. Photo by Neha Bhatt.

Thinking about applying for one of our 2015 free technical assistance workshops? Don’t wait! There are only two weeks left to apply.

Each year, Smart Growth America offers a limited number of community workshops at no charge. Our experts work with your community to understand your goals, show how smart growth development strategies can help achieve them, and develop a plan to make it happen. Now in its fourth year, our free technical assistance program has helped over 50 communities grow in ways that benefit both residents and businesses while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place.

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Smart Growth News — October 9, 2014

America’s 10 Best Cities for Commuting on Public Transit
WIRED — October 9, 2014
One of the great things about living in New York or San Francisco is that you don’t need to drive to get around. They’re dense cities with good transit systems, so it’s no surprise they take the top two spots in a new ranking of best American cities for commuting without a car.

Downtown Dystopia
Architect Magazine — October 6, 2014
The New York Times this week brought a forceful editorial on the destruction of Mecca. A city that very few of us non-Muslims have seen is apparently turning into a continuous sprawl of skyscrapers rising out of massive shopping malls into hotels and condominiums for the rich. That new mecca for capital is replacing the ancient sites and the intricate and, the author claims, both architecturally and socially heterogeneous city fabric, with “…an amalgam of Disneyland and Las Vegas.”

America’s Best and Worst States for a Green Commute
The Weather Channel — October 8, 2014
If you’re like the vast majority of Americans, you probably still head off to work every morning in your own car by yourself. But in certain states, commuters are finding greener ways to get to the office, according to Mashable.com. Whether it’s walking, biking, taking public transit, carpooling or simply working from home, leaving your car in the garage can help reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment.

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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.

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Smart Growth News — October 8, 2014

Most Innovative Cities
CNN Money — October 7, 2014
With “Most Innovative Cities,” CNNMoney set out to highlight creative solutions to urban problems that improve the quality of life and economic opportunities for the people who live there. We wanted to consider everything from transportation and technology to education and jobs. In two rounds of voting, we asked experts what cities they thought were the most innovative and why.
The most influential cities in the country, according to mayors
The Washington Post — October 7, 2014
When asked what cities they looked to for policy ideas, U.S. mayors mentioned New York, Boston, and Austin, more than any other cities, a Boston University Initiative on Cities survey found. The survey included responses from 68 mayors, including 18 of cities with at least 30,000 residents.
Behind every crumbling downtown is a billionaire who wants to save it
Grist — October 7, 2014
The Book Cadillac Hotel, in 1924, had been the tallest, and arguably one of the most glamorous, hotels in the world. By 2000, it had become a cavern of drooling plaster and water damage. I knew it from websites maintained by the kind of people who haunted the city’s abandoned buildings, took photographs and wrote hyperbolic prose about the tragedy that was Detroit. Now, just like that, it was fancy again.
Growth guru spreads word about what’s wrong with towns
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune — October 8, 2014
Charles Marohn, 41, is gaining attention for taking aim — in blog posts, podcasts and “curbside chats” — at national issues: car-focused development, federal transportation funding and “gluttonous” infrastructure growth. His story of why he left engineering — the field is ruining communities, he now says — catapulted his blog, called Strong Towns, into a national conversation about how American cities are built.
Teardowns are transforming the American post-war suburban landscape
London School of Economics — October 8, 2014
In many older American suburbs single-family housing is being demolished and replaced with new, larger single-family housing. “Teardowns” are dramatically transforming suburban neighborhoods. Using the inner-ring suburbs as a case study, Suzanne Lanyi Charles finds that teardowns occur in a variety of places ranging from modest middle-income neighborhoods to very highly affluent neighborhoods that often share a common proximity to well regarded schools.

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Innovative partnerships drive economic discussion at State Resilience Summit

netherlandsA project in the Netherlands combined flood mitigation with local housing development. Photo by Royal Netherlands Embassy.

When state governments focus on resilience, who should be their key partners? How can unconventional stakeholders lend their support to the process?

Those questions took center stage today at the Governors’ Institute on Community Design State Resilience and Economic Growth Summit in Washington, DC. The two-day event is bringing together experts on disaster recovery and long-term resilience to discuss best practices and new strategies for states. The Governors’ Institute on Community Design is an initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation administered by Smart Growth America.

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Smart Growth News — October 7, 2014

Report: Transit-oriented development dominating in major metros
Finance & Commerce — October 6, 2014
The report released last week, “Urban Development: Faster Greener Commutes Key to Sustained City Growth, ”explores population growth in 10 North American metro areas and shows how transit-oriented development helps to relieve congestion and provides better access to talented workers.
Livable Streets or Tall Buildings? Cities Can Have Both
Streetsblog NYC — October 6, 2014
Kaid Benfield’s new blog post on density is getting a lot of buzz over at NRDC’s Switchboard blog. Benfield, a planner/lawyer/professor/writer who co-founded both LEED’s Neighborhood Development rating system and the Smart Growth America coalition, has some serious street cred when it comes to these matters. And on this one, he’s with Danish architect Jan Gehl, who says wonderful places are built at human-scale density — three to six stories.
NITC researchers release Complete Streets design guide
OTREC — October 6, 2014
NITC researchers have created a design manual to aid traffic engineers, transportation planners, elected officials, businesses and community stakeholders in re-envisioning their streets. The Complete Streets movement, a new way of approaching street design, is gaining ground as planners and engineers work to build road networks that are safer, more livable and can accommodate all modes of transportation.
What 50 Years of Bullet Trains Have Done for Japan
The Atlantic — October 6, 2014
Fifty years ago this month, Japan’s bullet trains completed their first trips and were welcomed by hundreds of people who had waited overnight in the terminals. The new high-speed line connected two massive economic hubs, Tokyo and Osaka, cutting the travel time between them from about seven hours to four. The shinkansen, as it’s called in Japanese, has carried roughly 10 billion riders since then, with a pristine record of safety and dependability: There haven’t been any fatal train derailments or collisions, and the average delay is 36 seconds.

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Smart Growth News — October 6, 2014

Remembering the human scale in walkable city neighborhoods
The Huffington Post — October 6, 2014
Have you ever noticed how those of us who promote walkable, “smart growth” city neighborhoods often choose historic districts to illustrate what we advocate?  Take the photo at the top of this article, for example: It was chosen by the advocacy group Smart Growth America to illustrate the group’s recent tweet “Healthy, diverse smart growth neighborhoods attract talent, commerce, and investment.”
Battle of the Upstarts: Houston vs. San Francisco Bay
The Daily Beast — October 5, 2014
Today we are seeing yet another shuffling of the deck among American regions. New York remains the country’s preeminent city, but its most powerful rivals are likely to be neither Chicago nor Los Angeles, but rather two regions rarely listed in the hierarchy of influential regions: the San Francisco Bay Area and Houston.
The Fading Distinction Between City and Suburb
CityLab — October 5, 2014
Most of us who are sometimes labeled “urbanists” believe the new age of the city is squarely upon us. Cities and urban neighborhoods once counted for dead are adding people, in some cases faster than the suburbs; at the same time, we’re seeing shortages of affordable housing in some of America’s largest and most vibrant cities. This is what Alan Eherenhalt dubs “the Great Inversion”—a reversal of fortunes in which cities grow as suburbs decline.
Technology Takes the Wheel
The New York Times — October 5, 2014
Google’s driverless car may still be a work in progress, but the potential for semiautonomous vehicles on American roads is no longer the stuff of science fiction. By the end of the decade, a growing number of automakers aim to offer some form of hands-off-the-wheel, feet-off-the-pedals highway driving where a driver can sit back and let the car take control.

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Councilmember Julie Palakovitch Carr on building around transit in Rockville, MD

Rockville Town SquareRockville Town Square in Rockville, MD. Photo by Dan Reed via flickr.

Located just outside Washington, DC to the northwest, suburban Rockville, MD is one of the largest municipalities in Maryland with a population just over 63,000. Rockville serves as the county seat of Montgomery County—the largest county in Maryland by population, with over 1 million residents.

Rockville’s Councilmember Julie Palakovich Carr, a member of the Maryland Chapter of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is working to use transit access to help make Rockville a place with a unique identity and a strong sense of community. “Being a suburb of Washington, DC, we are struggling with traffic congestion and other issues that come with rapid growth and redevelopment,” she says. “A lot of it is just managing those things in a way that we are maintaining a good quality of life with nice neighborhoods where people can enjoy open space and parkland, while trying to envision a future where people may be using their cars less and people will be walking more and able to ride their bikes.”

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