Smart Growth News — October 15, 2014

The Return of the American Streetcar
WNPR (Conn.) — October 14, 2014
Could streetcars be the mass transit solution we’ve been waiting for?

Scrunched in Seattle
Politico — October 14, 2014
The country’s fastest growing city (population 640,500), Seattle is the pioneer of micro-housing—tiny, one-room dwellings that are in turn hailed as an affordable, sustainable alternative to the high cost of city living, and disparaged as an inhuman experiment in downsizing.

Crumbling U.S. Fix Seen With Global Trillions of Dollars
Bloomberg News — October 15, 2014
“America needs the upgrade and modernization of our infrastructure, and I don’t think you’ll get there if you keep excluding, or at least discouraging, private capital.”

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Resilience summit discusses how states can help vulnerable populations prepare for and recover from disaster

Hurricane KatrinaThousands of people were unable to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina due to lack of access to transportation. These individuals were disproportionately elderly, low-income African Americans. Photo by Andrea Booher, via the FEMA Photo Library.

A community is only as resilient as its most vulnerable residents. States can do more to define who is most at risk in the face of natural hazards, and can begin to take steps to address these populations’ needs.

That was the takeaway from the panel of environmental justice experts who spoke at the Governors’ Institute on Community Design State Resilience and Economic Growth Summit in Washington, DC, last week. The panel discussion was part of a a two-day event that brought together experts on disaster recovery and long-term resilience to discuss best practices and new strategies for states.

“You can’t just talk about the general population and resilience and expect resilience to spread to all communities,” began Matthew Tejada, Director of the Office of Environmental Justice at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “It’s important that we save a special place to talk about resilience for those communities that are overburdened, that are vulnerable.”

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Smart Growth News — October 14, 2014

In latest U.S. Census figures, cities continue growing
USA Today — October 7, 2014
Americans’ growing love affair with cities shows few signs of abating, with several large cities, including this one, growing last year at several times the national rate, suggest new findings from the U.S. Census Bureau.

NLC releases its City Fiscal Conditions report
National League of Cities — October 14, 2014
This year’s survey reveals that although the worst is behind, cities’ fiscal conditions have not yet returned to full recovery following the Great Recession.

The economics of building a factory in Brooklyn
Washington Post — October 13, 2014
MakerBot built a 150-employee, 3-D printer factory down the street in Brooklyn – one of the most expensive places to live and work in the United States.

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State and local partnerships prove essential at State Resilience Summit

080609-F-6967G-196Flooding in places like Lake Delton, WI prompted the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to focus on local disaster recovery strategies. Photo by Paul Gormond, via Wikimedia Commons.

How can states partner with local authorities to improve disaster resilience, while also addressing local economic, environmental and equity concerns?

An expert panel tackled this question earlier this week at the Governors’ Institute on Community Design State Resilience and Economic Growth Summit in Washington, DC. The two-day event brought together experts on disaster recovery and long-term resilience to discuss best practices and new strategies with state and federal leaders. 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.

In a day two breakout session on “The Role of State and Local Partnerships”, participants heard from leaders on the challenges of building strong state-local partnerships for resilience implementation.

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Council Member Vi Lyles on expanding transportation options in Charlotte, NC

lynx-light-railA planned expansion of the Blue Line on Charlotte’s LYNX light rail system will connect the center city to the NoDA art district and University of North Carolina Charlotte Campus. Photo by Reconnecting America, via flickr.

Charlotte is the largest city in the state of North Carolina, with a metropolitan area population of 2.3 million as of 2013. Over the last half century Charlotte’s economy grew primarily around the financial sector, and as the home of Bank of America’s headquarters, the former headquarters of Wachovia, and a host of Fortune 500 companies the city was the  second largest banking hub in the country when the economic recession hit in 2008. In recent years leaders in Charlotte have worked to make the city’s economy more resilient by cultivating and expanding other industries, particularly energy, logistics, defense and healthcare.

In line with these efforts, there is a growing movement among many city leaders to provide a high quality of life in Charlotte’s unique and diverse neighborhoods, which radiate out from the historic center city, in order to attract and retain new businesses and residents and promote Charlotte as a great place to live, work and play. At-Large City Council Member Vi Lyles, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is working to provide these neighborhoods with a greater variety of transportation options to help foster a sense of community and connection to the city among residents. “We are focusing on making Charlotte a place where people want to be. To do that, we have to provide those people with choices,” says Council Member Lyles.

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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 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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