Initial speakers announced for the 2014 LOCUS Leadership Summit

locus-summit-2014-speakers
The 2014 LOCUS Leadership Summit is right around the corner! We are pleased to announce the addition of several exciting speakers to the Summit’s agenda.

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Smart Growth News – April 9, 2014

Density Isn’t a Hipster Conspiracy, Ctd.
D Magazine (TX) – April 9, 2014
Yesterday I wrote about how those who are starting to make the argument that tearing down I-345 is bad for poor people are indulging in crazy talk. Today we have some new numbers to back up that claim from Smart Growth America’s recently released Measuring Sprawl report. According to their research the compactness of cities has a direct relationship on economic mobility.

America’s Apartment Shortage: 8 Million Units
Planetizen – April 9, 2014
Consumer preference surveys have always been fairly useless when it comes to determining actual housing preferences.

‘We Razed 270 Houses and All We Got Was This Lousy Boat Shop’
Next City – April 9, 2014
Hitching the city’s hopes to a Bass Pro shop (boats are sold in a showroom, not in the water) is just the start.

Grassroots Miami group brainstorms to transform transit to and from work
Miami Herald – April 9, 2014
Hate your drive to and from work? Most of us do, and a group of Miami-Dade County activists is brainstorming to turn the daily commute from drudgery to “delightful.”

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Smart Growth News – April 8, 2014

Urban Sprawl: Get Fat, Stay Poor, And Die In Car Crashes
Fast Co. Design – April 8, 2014
That urban design improves the quality of people’s lives is an old idea. A new study, Measuring Sprawl 2014, now finds that people who live in densely populated regions benefit in many ways. In brief, they have greater economic mobility, they’re healthier, and they live longer.

Reversing Sprawl Through Connectivity
Memphis Daily News (TN) – April 8, 2014
This is why the work we’ve done over the last few years, starting with Sustainable Shelby, to create a more sustainable city and region is so important for our future.

The Search for Affordable Housing Is Pushing the Middle Class to the Exurbs
The Atlantic Cities – April 8, 2014
New data and maps from the real estate research firm Zillow shed light on the uneven nature of housing prices across several major U.S. cities and metros.

Having kids walk to school comes with risks, benefits
My Fox Philly (PA) – April 8, 2014
The likelihood of an accident depends more on the environment kids have to travel through — such as high-traffic areas — and they’re calling on policymakers to do more to make sure kids can safely walk or bike to school.

National media take aim at Dallas’ traffic, lack of walkable accessibility for Final 4
Dallas Morning News (TX) – April 8, 2014
“It’s not a knock on Dallas, but you need to have these events in places where you can walk and be downtown and have it all in one place,” Greer said.

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Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams on the challenges and opportunities of governing a rapidly urbanizing area

rsz_1rsz_6281804196_d5c3f601f2_bSalt Lake County, Utah. Photo by Photo Dean via Flickr.

Not every mayor can say that they govern nearly half of a state’s population in one single county. But that’s exactly the case for Ben McAdams, Mayor of Salt Lake County, Utah and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council.

Salt Lake County, with a population of over 1 million people, is located in a narrow valley sandwiched between two mountain ranges. Population growth over the past decade has reshaped the County, particularly following the 2002 Winter Olympics. Throughout the county, isolated pockets of development amidst farmlands and open space has evolved into an interconnected urban area that is populated from north to south and east to west. That population is projected to double in the next 20 to 30 years.

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Smart Growth News – April 7, 2014

Saving the planet, one old building at a time
Boston Globe (MA) – April 7, 2014
Why a tax reform proposal is raising alarms for historic preservationists and environmentalists.

Housing is the Key to Family-Friendly Cities
Planetizen – April 7, 2014
Why housing should take priority in the effort to attract families back to the city (and welcome them to stay awhile).

Building the Facebook of neighborhoods
Next City – April 7, 2014
Having her bike yanked from the utility closet of her San Francisco apartment building reminded Sarah Leary why she had spent the last three years building an online social network for neighbors.

Housing code
Times-Union (NY) – April 7, 2014
Realty ads have their own special way of using words

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Smart Growth America’s coalition members gather for annual meeting

coalition-mtg_3-2014Dru Schmidt-Perkins of 1,000 Friends of Maryland (left) with Tyler Grote of Smart Growth America at last week’s meeting.

Last week, members of Smart Growth America’s non-profit coalition gathered in Washington, DC for the coalition’s annual meeting and advocacy day on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, coalition members and Smart Growth America staff discussed the new issues and progress made in each member’s region. Staff from Smart Growth America and Transportation for America briefed the members about progress on projects including the National Complete Streets Coalition, innovative transportation policies in Michigan and projects to improve community health in the transportation planning process.

Then member organizations presented about their achievements in the last year and discussed the challenges within each region. The Alliance to Re-Industrialize for a Sustainable Economy (ARISE) Minnesota’s Zachary Zweifler gave an insightful presentation on how they are designing projects to transform former industrial sites into mixed-use developments using non-traditional approaches. And Kaid Benfield, co-founder of Smart Growth America and the author of People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities, shared a few of the major points from his book, which discusses topics as wide-ranging as “green” housing developments that are no such thing, the tricky matter of gentrifying inner cities, why people don’t walk much anymore, and the relationship between cities and religion.

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Smart Growth News – April 4, 2014

Residents of compact metro areas do better financially: Study
Voice of Russia – April 4, 2014
A report released this week by Smart Growth America and the University of Utah’s Metropolitan Urban Center shows that “People in compact, connected metropolitan regions are more likely to move up the economic ladder.”

There’s a difference between sprawl and smart growth
Spokesman-Review (WA) – April 4, 2014
Does Spokane have a bad case of sprawl? Or is the condition in check?

Strategies for Big Cities to Streamline Development Services
Planetizen – April 4, 2014
Kevin Keller, Director of Planning and Housing Policy under Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, provides insight into the city’s development services reform.

Time for Nashville to grow smart
Tennessean – April 4, 2014
The Nashville metropolitan area is growing fast. But is it going to grow smart?

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Your questions about “Measuring Sprawl,” answered

We received a lot of great questions during Wednesday’s discussion about our new report, Measuring Sprawl 2014. We got so many great questions, in fact, that we weren’t able to answer all of them during the call. So we’ve collected some of the most common questions and will answer them here.

Q. The first edition of this report was published in 2002. Looking back, is America trending toward more sprawl or less sprawl? What about my particular metro area or county?
Both our methodology and the geographic boundaries have changed significantly since 2002. The bad news is that means comparisons over time are not accurate. The good news is that the 2014 methodology represents an significantly improved measure of sprawl.

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BUILD Act moves through committee

This morning, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works voted unanimously to pass the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013. The bill will go next to the full Senate for a vote. The BUILD Act …

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Hear the recap: “Measuring Sprawl 2014″ online discussion

Yesterday Smart Growth America released Measuring Sprawl 2014, a look at sprawl in the United States and what it means for Americans’ day-to-day lives.

To launch the new findings we hosted an online panel discussion with the report’s authors and local leaders from across the country. If you weren’t able to join yesterday’s event, the recorded version is now available.

Watch the archived webinar

Speaking on yesterday’s call were Alex Dodds, Deputy Director of Communications, Smart Growth America; Ilana Preuss, Vice President and Chief of Staff at Smart Growth America; Reid Ewing, Professor at the University of Utah and researcher at the Metropolitan Research Center; David Berrigan, Program Director at National Institutes of Health’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences; Elizabeth Tyler, Community Development Director of Urbana, IL; Bill Fruhling, Principal Planner for the city of Madison, WI; Mayor Ken Moore of Franklin, TN; and Ralph Schulz, President of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

Thank you to everyone who participated in yesterday’s call. The event provided great information for experts and newcomers alike about how better development decisions can help Americans live healthier, safer, more prosperous lives.

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