Category: Blog

Our technical assistance workshops have helped 50+ communities. Apply today!

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The Culture Trail of Indianapolis, IN—one of 19 communities to receive technical assistance from Smart Growth America in 2014. Photo via visitindy.com.

As we announced earlier this month, Smart Growth America is accepting applications for our 2015 free technical assistance workshops now through October 23. You’ve already seen how our 12 ready-to-go workshops are designed to help communities tackle local development challenges. But have you visited our Past Workshops page recently?

Our chronicle of past workshops is a great resource to see how local leaders and residents across the country have worked with Smart Growth America to develop the knowledge, tools, and strategies to make their communities more livable, sustainable and vibrant places through both our free technical assistance program and our fee-for-service workshops.

To date, our technical assistance program has provided workshops to over 50 urban, suburban, and rural communities in 34 states from Hawaii to Maine.Want to see how Tacoma, WA’s experience might help your community? How about Salisbury, MD or Des Moines, IA? You can find information about the context, content, and outcomes of each of our past workshops on the past workshops page.

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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.

A model smart growth town, Hershey, PA was built as a place where residents could live, work, and play. High quality housing, an affordable transportation system, tree-lined streets, and cultural opportunities combined to offer Hersey’s residents a uniquely high quality of life. The vision of Milton Hershey was as much about progress as it was about whimsy, as much about opportunity as it was inspiration, and as much about community as it was chocolate.

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Upcoming webinar: Investing in Healthy Communities

Walkable real estate is a priority in downtown Indianapolis, IN. Photo via Flickr.

Across the country, public- and private-sector investment in walkability is on the rise. Join LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors on October 8, 2014 for an online presentation to discuss new and innovative models for building walkable development projects that generate health and economic benefits for the entire community.

During the webinar, expert panelists Colleen Carey, president of the Cornerstone Group and Elizabeth Schilling, Senior Policy Manager at Smart Growth America will discuss every facet of the development process including:

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LOCUS announces place-based social equity and affordable housing initiative

LOCUS President Chris Leinberger introduces Place-Based Model for Social Equity
LOCUS President Chris Leinberger introduces Place-Based Model for Social Equity

This week, LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, a program of Smart Growth America, announced a three-part national strategy to address housing and social equity calling upon developers to join them in the cause. The proposed initiative would be centered around new conscious place-based social equity metrics.

The announcement came Tuesday during the third annual Walkable Urban Places Conference, co-hosted by Urban Land Institute Washington and the George Washington University Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis. LOCUS sponsored the event along with Venable LLP.

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Applications now being accepted for Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance workshops

ta-workshops-2015Participants break into small groups to discuss local development issues at one of our past workshops. 

Is your city interested in smart growth, but not sure how to make it happen? Bring in the development experts with one of Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance workshops.

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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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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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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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