Smart Growth News — September 9, 2014

100 Resilient Cities Challenge: how accurately do cities perceive risk?
The Guardian (UK) — September 9, 2014
Analysis of initial applications for the Rockefeller Foundation’s global resilience project reveals a tendency among cities to underestimate their exposure to hazards
Can Parking Help Save Paradise?
The Huffington Post — September 9, 2014
The International Parking Institute (IPI) and its affiliate, the Green Parking Council are working to not only turn them into spaces that contribute to the environment, but also the aesthetic of the world around us, according to Rachel Yoka, Vice President of Program Development for IPI.
US to Spend $328 Million on Conservation Easements
ABC News — September 8, 2014
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $328 million in funding Monday to protect and restore farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the country.
They Built It. People Came. Now They Go.
The New York Times — September 8, 2014
In an enormous housing development on the edge of this scrappy Mexican commuter town, Lorena Serrano’s 11-foot-wide shoe box of a home is flanked by abandoned houses. The neighborhood has two schools, a few bodegas and a small community center that offers zumba classes.

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Downtown revitalization strategies in Frederick, MD

Revitalization Strategies WorkshopMaryland local leaders participate in a walking tour of historic Downtown Frederick, MD. 

Nearly two dozen Maryland members of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council met last Thursday for a Downtown Revitalization Strategies workshop sponsored by Smart Growth America and 1000 Friends of Maryland. Frederick, MD Mayor Randy McClement hosted the event, providing an in-depth look at the city’s revitalization successes. Following the workshop, Richard Griffin, Director of Economic Development, and Kara Norman, Executive Director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership, led participants on a tour of Downtown Frederick that highlighted revitalization initiatives.

Mayor McClement kicked off the workshop by describing the core of Frederick’s approach to revitalization. “The City’s concentration is on Downtown Frederick. Although Frederick is not just a downtown, but 20 square miles, the downtown is the thing that drives the city.” He continued by asserting that much of Frederick’s success owes to strong partnerships. “You cannot underestimate the power of partnerships. Find them, enhance them, and use them. Every city has groups that are interested in standing up to help,” he said.

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Now Hiring: Economic Analysis Fellow

Smart Growth America seeks an Economic Analysis Fellow to assist with in-depth studies and technical assistance on local government fiscal and economic development issues related to smart growth and land use. The Fellow will also work with the GW Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis on a variety of projects relating to a better understanding of walkable urbanism.

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Smart Growth News — September 8, 2014

Peduto on Meet the Press: cities could benefit from ‘shared partnership’ with D.C.
Pittsburg Post-Gazette — September 7, 2014
Mr. Peduto was among three chief executives from U.S. cities to appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” which was moderator Chuck Todd’s debut as host of the venerable news program. He appeared with Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City and Mayor Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma, Wash.

Repurposing old rail stations in the rust belt
Belt Magazine — September 2, 2014
Empty for over thirty years, the enormous edifice has endured vacancy, vandalism, and vicious Buffalo winters. The estimated cost for basic upgrades is around $65 million. The CTRC can use all the help it can get.

Cities Prepare for Warm Climate Without Saying So
ABC News — September 8, 2014
With climate change still a political minefield across the nation despite the strong scientific consensus that it’s happening, some community leaders have hit upon a way of preparing for the potentially severe local consequences without triggering explosions of partisan warfare: Just change the subject.

Anthony Foxx takes a futurist turn at the Department of Transportation
Politico — September 7, 2014
Foxx is leading a DOT effort to create a 30-year outlook for the state of transportation in the U.S., an ambitious effort he hopes will shift the country out of its stubborn, single-track focus on the short-term needs of keeping solvent the Highway Trust Fund.

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Join Smart Growth America at Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place 2014


The 2014 Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference is coming to Pittsburgh, PA September 8-11. Smart Growth America staff will be there, and we want to see you!

Join us first on Wednesday at 3:00 PM for Complete Streets: The Return on Investment of Safe Street Design. The session will discuss new research by Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition that examines the cost-effectiveness of Complete Streets, and how well the approach achieves transportation objectives while also supporting local economies. In this session, we will review both our challenges and findings.

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FTA voices its formal support for joint development

Joint developmentTriMet’s joint development program in Portland, OR, helped build the Patton Apartments (above) on land once occupied by the Crown Motel. Photo via SERA Architects.

Developing land owned by transit agencies boosts ridership and supports local economies. So how come more agencies don’t do it?

New guidelines from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) encourage transit agencies to do just that. In guidance issued on August 25, 2014, the FTA came out in support of joint development—cooperation between local transit agencies and real estate developers to make the most of agency-owned land. The new guidance is the first time the FTA has publicly recognized the multiple benefits of such cooperation, which include increased ridership, better transit access for the community, greater revenue for the transit agency, and broader economic development. From the document:

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Councilmember Velma Johnson on the importance of community in Midfield, AL

Midfield, AL’s Splash Pad. Photo by City of Midfield via Facebook.

In the increasingly technologically connected, fast-paced, global economy-driven world of today, it can be hard for even the small towns of America to retain their ‘small town’ feel. And yet, that’s exactly what Midfield, AL is striving to maintain and preserve.

Located just outside of Birmingham, AL, Midfield, with a population just over 5,000, is known as “the Convenient City”. It’s a place where residents make it a point to “eat, shop, and do all of their business right in the city,” says Councilmember Velma Johnson, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council.

Those who live in Midfield say they have a sense of belonging—of knowing and being known by so many others in the community. “As humans we want to connect to one another,” says Johnson. “In Midfield, we’re fortunate to live in the type of community where police officers know children by name.”

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Smart Growth News — September 5, 2014

How the Suburbs Got Poor
Slate — September 4, 2014
Could it be that the problems plaguing St. Louis County reflect a larger failure of fragmented local government? The deeper problem is that the low-density suburbs of single-family homes that are common in this part of Missouri, and indeed across the country, are fundamentally inhospitable to those who find themselves at the bottom of the economic ladder.
The death of America’s suburban dream
The Guardian (UK) — September 5, 2014
America’s “inner-ring” suburbs – the group of small, independent municipalities that surround the largest US cities – are undergoing a remarkable transformation. In the 25 years or so that followed the second world war, these neighbourhoods were the classic aspirational destination.
The surprising places we go when we leave the cities we’re from
The Washington Post — September 5, 2014
In certain circles, Washington, D.C., often feels like a place where no one’s from, a city of migrants and job-seekers defined as much by its out-of-town-ness as its homegrown character.
Why Germany (and Europe) fears Uber
The Washington Post — September 4, 2014
Be it Airbnb, Uber or Lyft, the idea of sharing and earning or saving money at the same time has found many supporters here in the United States. Across the Atlantic in Europe, things look different.

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Now Hiring: Complete Streets Fellow

The Complete Streets Fellow will support the work of Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition, a diverse coalition of prominent national organizations working for the adoption and implementation of Complete Streets policies across the country. The Fellow will be …

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Smart Growth News — September 4, 2014

50 best U.S. cities for biking? New York tops list
USA Today — September 3, 2014
New York, long known for its subways and yellow taxi cabs, has doubled its number of bike commuters and now tops a list of the 50 best U.S. biking cities, followed by Chicago and Minneapolis.
Cities Of The Future: What Do They Look Like, How Do We Build Them And What’s Their Impact?
Forbes — September 4, 2014
These new types of cities typically leverage new technologies, infrastructure, design, and planning techniques to create what can only be described as a city which acts as a living breathing organism that can communicate with its residents and within itself.
Residents Worry Urban Drilling Will Turn Downtowns Into Oil Towns
NPR — September 3, 2014
Dawn Gioia lives just two blocks away from City Hall in Brighton, Colo., just north of Denver. She never expected to receive a thick envelope from Mid-Con Energy in the mail, proposing she sell mineral rights for oil and gas drilling.
The Most Important Transportation Innovation of This Decade Is the Smartphone
CityLab — September 3, 2014
Almost all movement in a major city now begins with a phone. Mobile apps and interfaces help people do everything from sort through route options to locate an approaching bus or hail a taxi or for-hire vehicle.

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