Smart Growth News — October 23, 2014

No Picket Fence: Younger Adults Opting to Rent
The New York Times — October 22, 2014
On a recent sunny afternoon, a half-dozen grinding and spinning cement trucks helped lay the foundation for what many real estate developers see as the most promising housing opportunity in postrecession America: apartment living. Here in suburban Vienna, about 16 miles west of downtown Washington, Joshua Solomon’s DSF Group is remaking a congested but nondescript intersection into a haven for young adults of the millennial generation.
 
6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal
The Ocean Beach Rag — October 21, 2014
For the last half century, cities have attempted to repair the damage to their urban cores from migration to suburbs and exurbs. However, while cities get the big picture, too often in my 25 years as a land use attorney, I have seen the same mistakes repeated.
 
Redfin Buys Walkability Startup to Make Online Home-Hunting a Little Less Maddening
Wired — October 23, 2014
If you’ve ever spent time looking at houses, you know how wildly a listing can differ from reality. In many cases, the text exaggerates the charm of decaying old homes. Photos make rooms look bigger than they actually are, while deftly avoiding problem areas. And the “great neighborhood” promised by a listing turns out to be anything but.
 
Bullet Trains Aren’t Magic
Bloomberg View — October 22, 2014
Forget the ideological arguments about cars versus mass transit, sprawl versus density: These cities are getting to the point where it is lot less physically possible to move more people around without putting in dedicated bus lanes or more rail.

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Complete Streets News – October 2014

U.S. Department of Transportation announces major street safety initiative — Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called it “the most innovative, forward-leaning” initiative “ever”, the department will be working toward safer places and safer policies for people on foot and bike, just as they do for people in cars, trucks, and airplanes. The initiative is heavy on changing the way we design our streets—the most important factor for improved safety—from start to finish. With new, research-based design guidance, partnerships with local, state, and national transportation staff and public interest groups, and a focus on interconnected networks, we expect big results. Read more >>

First-ever Puerto Rico Complete Streets Congress — Presented by AARP Puerto Rico on October 3, the Congress convened 160 transportation, public health, and other community leaders who wanted to elevate Complete Streets policies and strategies across the island. Participants focused on public health issues and implementation of the state’s 2010 Complete Streets law. Read more >>

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Smart Growth News — October 22, 2014

Climate-Friendly Communities, Made Possible Through Empathy
Forbes — October 22, 2014
Communities will be impacted by warmer global temperatures (on average), changing precipitation patterns, and observed increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme events like heat waves, leading to food shortages. Honest collaboration toward better planning and risk mitigation must be the new normal. If we don’t learn to work together … well, we’re going to be in a world of hurt, facing greater risks of civil conflict over increasingly scare resources.

Downtown Syracuse’s residential growth is part of a national trend
Syracuse.com — October 22, 2014
The residential building boom in downtown Syracuse isn’t happening in vacuum. Young people are moving to downtowns even in Rust Belt cities like Cleveland and Buffalo, according to the Times. The number of college-educated people between 25 and 34 living within three miles of city centers is up 37 percent since 2000.

These conservatives make the case for vibrant cities. Most of their friends ignore them.
Grist — October 21, 2014
At first glance, smart growth and New Urbanism would seem like issues that break down along typical partisan and ideological divides. But urbanism is actually growing in popularity among a small cadre of conservative intellectuals.

Experts discuss technology’s role in future of transportation
The Washington Post — October 21, 2014
Ask a transportation expert what America needs right now and you’ll get a fairly simple answer: better roads and bridges, enhanced public transit and improved rail lines, ports and airports. Ask a transportation expert how Americans will get from place to place in 20 years, and often the answer is a lot less certain.

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Green River, WY hosts workshop to align development code with master plan

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The sun sets over Tollgate Rock in Green River, WY. Photo by Jonathan Percy, via Flickr.

When a small town has big plans for changing its development patterns, how does it put them into action? From fixing restrictive codes to working with the real estate community—what the first steps to smart growth?

On August 27 and 28, 2014, officials and residents from Green River, WY met with representatives from Smart Growth America for an expert-led workshop focused on implementing the ambitious vision inside the new Green River Comprehensive Master Plan. Provided as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program, the two-day event was designed to provide the City with tools to modernize its development codes so that they encourage the types of growth outlined in the plan’s vision.

The Green River Comprehensive Master Plan was adopted in January 2013 after a year-long public input process. The plan lays out the community’s long-term vision and serves as a blueprint for future growth and investment within the city and surrounding areas. For the implementation process, Green River leaders sought technical assistance from Smart Growth America, hoping to bring the city’s development codes into better alignment with the master plan’s principles. The resulting two-day workshop helped Green River identify high-priority code fixes to promote infill development and redevelopment, preserve and revitalize existing neighborhoods, and promote orderly development in suitable outlying areas.

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Smart Growth News — October 21, 2014

Where Young College Graduates Are Choosing to Live
The New York Times — October 20, 2014
When young college graduates decide where to move, they are not just looking at the usual suspects, like New York, Washington and San Francisco. Other cities are increasing their share of these valuable residents at an even higher rate and have reached a high overall percentage, led by Denver, San Diego, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Portland, Ore., according to a report published Monday by City Observatory, a new think tank.

Millennials Continue Urbanization Of America, Leaving Small Towns
North Carolina Public Radio — October 21, 2014
It turns out the millennial generation is only accelerating the demographic shift toward urban living. In fact, this may be the most “bright lights, big city” generation in history. While the number of millennials is ticking slightly upward in small towns and rural areas, it’s nothing compared with the growth of their numbers in suburbs and cities.

When Planning for Retirement, Consider Transportation
The New York Times — October 17, 2014
According to the American Journal of Public Health, Americans are outliving their ability to drive safely — a woman, on average, by 10 years, a man by seven. Over all, the ability to drive safely as one ages depends on health. Some people can drive into their 90s while others begin to cut back at 65.

In Texas, Toll Roads Proliferate—and a Backlash Builds
The Wall Street Journal — October 20, 2014
Toll roads are experiencing a growth spurt around the U.S. as states strapped for cash look to relieve traffic congestion without raising taxes. But a political backlash is rising in Texas, one of the states that most aggressively encouraged toll-road construction, as residents realize that many major urban freeways are increasingly no longer free.

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Introducing the Urbanful Marketplace

district-marketplace

In July, we announced the launch of Urbanful, an urban culture magazine highlighting the innovations in design, technology, culture, and transportation that are changing how we live in cities. Urbanful’s stories highlight social entrepreneurs, planning innovations, arts, and culture in American cities large and small.

Now, we’re excited to announce the launch of Urbanful’s Marketplace, a one-stop shop for innovative products by urban manufacturers and artisans. The new Marketplace will make it much easier to connect directly with makers, their stories and their products.

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Commissioner Conan Smith aims to improve opportunities for all residents in Washtenaw County, MI

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Downtown Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County, MI. Photo by the Michigan Municipal League, via Flickr.

Washtenaw County, MI is located immediately west of the Detroit metropolitan area, with a population of just over 350,000 residents. A former manufacturing region, the county currently houses several major institutions that are playing a growing role in shaping the region’s economy and development patterns. The seat of Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor, MI, is home to the University of Michigan, which employs more than 30,000 people and has contributed to the growth of a vibrant, walkable business and entertainment district in Ann Arbor’s downtown. The county also houses Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, and a major U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical center.

While Washtenaw County has seen significant job growth over the past several years—a recent economic forecasting study estimates that between 2009 and 2016 the region will have gained 31,147 additional jobs—economic inequality is a growing challenge for the community. County Commissioner Conan Smith, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is working to address this issue by promoting economic development strategies that provide all county residents with greater access to opportunities.

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Smart Growth News — October 20, 2014

How Walkable Communities Are Good for Us
The Huffington Post — October 20, 2014
We know from exhaustive past research that walkable neighborhoods and cities reduce driving, associated emissions, and living costs. Three important academic studies published earlier this year demonstrate that they are good for our health, too.

Cities Left Behind By Economic Change
Forbes — October 20, 2014
When I was a child, my family visited the Calico ghost town in the California desert. A half century after the silver mines closed, Walter Knott (founder of Knott’s Berry Farm) purchased the town, restored the buildings, and operated it as an amusement park.

Housing First: the ‘counterintuitive’ method for solving urban homelessness
The Guardian (UK) — October 20, 2014
Despite the Great Recession, the gutting of the auto industry and the city’s much-publicised bankruptcy, homelessness in Detroit has actually fallen (albeit by less than 1%) since 2010, according to the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries. Nor is it the only city. Across the US, homelessness in cities is dropping almost across the board.

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Smart Growth News — October 17, 2014

Do the Most Hipster Thing Possible—Move to Des Moines
National Journal — October 16, 2014
Ambitious minds are in the process of building a new Des Moines, a tech hub in Silicon Prairie, an artistic center in the Heartland, a destination for people who want to create something meaningful outside of the limits imposed by an oversaturated city like Chicago or New York.

The link between housing policy and student achievement
Washington Post — October 16, 2014
It is impossible to divorce a student’s life outside of school with how well he or she does in class.

A Chat with Amtrak’s CEO on the State of U.S. Passenger Rail
City Lab — October 16, 2014
Year after year, Amtrak sets ridership records along with the pace of intercity travel in the all-important Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston via New York, where it reaps big profits. And year after year, Amtrak gets hammered for needing huge amounts of federal taxpayer money to maintain costly (yet mandatory) long-distance operations—even as highways require far, far greater subsidies.

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El primer congreso de Calles Completas en Puerto Rico

AARP PR Director Jose AcaronJosé Acaron, director of AARP Puerto Rico, speaks before the Puerto Rico Complete Streets Congress. Photo by AARP Puerto Rico, via Facebook.

The first-ever Puerto Rico Complete Streets Congress for Professionals, presented by AARP Puerto Rico on October 3, convened 160 transportation, public health, and other community leaders who want to elevate Complete Streets policies and strategies across the island.

Covering topics ranging from the benefits of Complete Streets to best practices in implementation to design guidance, the event was featured insights from Complete Streets workshops instructor Paul Zykofsky; Ana Rius, Secretary of Health Department for Puerto Rico; Miguel Torres, Secretary of Transportation and Public Works for Puerto Rico; Zaki Mustafa, past present of Institute of Transportation Engineers, a National Complete Streets Coalition Steering Committee member; and long-time Complete Streets advocate Dan Burden.

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