Category: Blog

Inside Dangerous by Design: Pedestrian fatalities among people of color

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Pedestrians walking in the Atlanta metro region. Photo via Flickr.

Pedestrian deaths are a national epidemic in the United States. Within that epidemic, though, some populations have been hit harder than others.

In Dangerous by Design 2014, we ranked America’s most dangerous metropolitan areas for walking using our Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI). We investigated the nature of over 47,000 pedestrian deaths from 2003 through 2012 and identified the regions that most needed to improve pedestrian safety. In more recent years, many of them, including the Florida Department of Transportation, have started taking steps to keep people on foot safe.

But our analysis of demographic data, included in the report from a state-by-state view, also told a story of inequity.

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Equitable transit-oriented development in Seattle, WA


Images from the Community Cornerstones Project Brochure.

Southeast Seattle is home to the most diverse and immigrant-populated neighborhoods in Seattle, Washington. Now, as a result of the Community Cornerstones project, it could become the City’s next equitable transit-oriented development (TOD) success story.

Part of the strategy is to attract dense mixed-use development to several of Southeast Seattle’s neighborhoods that are in close proximity to the light-rail system opened in 2009, while also preserving the area’s affordability for existing residents through partnerships with community development and financial institutions. The area is already home to one of the most transit-utilized areas of Seattle, and through the project the area is likely to grow with more people, businesses, and jobs.

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Smarter parking codes to promote smart growth

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Unless you’re walking to your destination in a busy downtown neighborhood, chances are good that you need parking at the end of the trip. Nowadays, several cities are changing their thinking on parking regulations in response to the growing demand for car-light living.

Typically, parking rules are used to establish the minimum number of off-street private car parking spaces that must be provided in new residential and commercial developments. This helps manage traffic and congestion as new projects and more people come to the area, and it helps keep parking demand from overtaking supply over time. However, the following cities are modernizing their approach and tackling the parking issue in new ways.

Posted in Blog, California, District of Columbia, Local Leaders Council, Pennsylvania | Leave a comment

Hear it from LOCUS first

The Director’s Legislative Bulletin is an exclusive, bi-monthly service with the actionable news, and data on public policies impacting smart growth real estate. As a member of LOCUS, you will receive timely updates that cuts through the noise to ensure you stay ahead of the curve.

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Since the workshop: Houston, TX continues to improve streets for all users

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A scene from Sunday Streets HTX on Westheimer Road. Photo by Andrew Seng / University of Oregon Emerald via aaonetwork.org 

It’s little secret that Houston, Texas, is on the rise. From 2000-2010, Census data shows that the city’s metro population grew by 26 percent to 5.95 million people. In 2013, that number had risen to 6.34 million, and the Houston metro expects to add another 1 million residents by 2020. While this growth is exciting, it also creates new challenges like stress on existing street infrastructure.

Posted in Blog, Technical assistance, Texas, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New York tours offer look at urban manufacturing’s revival


Urban small-scale manufacturers at work. Photo by Nicolas Lemery Nantel for OHNY.

In today’s American economy, where so much is imported from other countries, American cities are rediscovering their manufacturing roots. Industry shakeups and the economic downturn demonstrate the vulnerability of cities that rely on single-industry manufacturing sectors like steel and automobiles. But while large-scale industries suffer from lack of resilience, small-scale manufacturing is creeping back into our cities and strengthening our local economies.

Today, though the manufacturing sector makes up just 12% of US GDP, the sector has grown at roughly twice the pace of the country’s overall economic growth since the end of the recession. Manufacturing provides high-wage, low-barrier to entry jobs with the average manufacturing salary roughly $10,000 more than the average U.S. job. Between 2010 and 2012, manufacturing jobs grew by over 400,000—many of them in small businesses. The opportunity for local job growth is great.

Posted in Blog, District of Columbia, New York, Smart growth stories | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Creating revitalization in slow markets

Small town main street

In communities where the market is slow, attracting developers and investors can be a tough challenge. A slow market can have many causes such as an economic downturn, a geographic disadvantage or a weak competitive edge within the region. Local leaders of small towns from states like Mississippi, Louisiana, Iowa, Maryland and California discussed the issues that impact attracting growth and development in a weak market during a session titled “Creating revitalization in slow growth markets” at the June 2014 Local Leaders Policy Forum in Washington, DC.

“Slow growth is relative to the market,” remarked Mayor Andrew Fellows of College Park, MD, and other leaders agreed. Mayor Ruth Randleman of Carlisle, IA pointed to other communities in the immediate Des Moines metropolitan region as their major competition. Former Mayor John Robert Smith of Meridian, MS suggested that sister cities in the greater geographic region and neighboring states were their biggest competition. “Our problem was that we were trying to be Gulfport of Biloxi, when we didn’t realize that we had strengths of our own,” said Smith.

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Introducing Urbanful: A new way to celebrate the best of our communities

At Smart Growth America, we work to make neighborhoods great, provide a range of housing choices, support thriving businesses, and create more options for how we get around. Now, we’re launching a new project to celebrate the result of all that hard work – the fun, vibrant side of city living – Urbanful.

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