Category: GICD

Smart Growth America’s Top 12 of 2012: Helping governors support state economies

From left to right: Parris Glendening, President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute and former governor of Maryland; Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey; James Lee Witt, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania.

We’re doing a special blog series highlighting some of Smart Growth America’s favorite accomplishments from 2012. This is the second of twelve installments.

In July, the Governors’ Institute on Community Design kicked off a new partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The announcement marked the beginning of a new, collaborative effort between the three agencies and the Institute, which was established in 2005 and is administered by Smart Growth America.

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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick introduces new workforce housing initiatives, adopts GICD recommendations

The following is crossposted from the Governors’ Institute on Community Design.

In July 2012, the Governors’ Institute on Community Design met with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and his Administration to identify policies and tool to meet the State’s housing needs. Last week, Governor Patrick announced an ambitious housing policy initiative that builds on those strategies.

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Request for proposals [update]

As part of our work with the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, Smart Growth America is seeking to augment our team with a contractor to act as technical experts at Governors’ Institute workshops. Smart Growth America is accepting proposals from firms interested in being part of a grant application to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for grant EPA-OP-OSC-12-01. The estimated project period for the grant will begin April 1, 2012, and may be up to five years.

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Merging smart growth and economic development in New Jersey

Photo of NJ Transit’s River Line light rail by Flickr user Schaffner.

New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the nation, has historically been a leader in smart growth efforts. In 1986 the state passed its State Planning Act which, among other things, mandated the creation of a State Development and Redevelopment Plan and a State Planning Commission to oversee the plan. The Plan was subsequently developed and laid out a vision for encouraging growth in areas with existing infrastructure while preserving farmland and open space. To help accomplish this vision, the Plan included a State Plan Map to guide investment decisions.

While New Jersey may have some of the strongest smart growth policies on the books, the results on the ground have been more mixed. Though many state agencies have integrated aspects of the State Plan into their regulations, widespread implementation of the plan does not exist at the state level, where individual agencies continue to pursue their own missions. Locally, the state’s strong home-rule tradition meant that the State Plan was merely advisory for municipalities, and attempts to incentivize compliance have been cumbersome and inconsistent. All of this has led to disappointing results in achieving the State Plan’s goals. While there have been smart growth success stories – like the revitalization of New Brunswick and the Gold Coast in Hudson County – the state continues to lose open space to low-density development at an alarming rate.

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Gov. Glendening to kickoff planning workshop in Ranson, WV

With help from grants from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the City of Ranson, WV, will gather city officials, residents, business leaders and a team of international consultants for a weeklong workshop to help improve the town’s economic development, transit options and community livability through strategic community planning and infrastructure improvements.

Governor Parris Glendening, President of the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, will deliver the keynote address at the kickoff event for the weeklong planning workshop at 7 PM on Sept. 8, 2011 at Washington High School. Gov. Glendening will be joined by federal officials from DOT, EPA and HUD, and the meeting is open to the public.

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North Carolina Sustainable Communities Grant Program announces first round of grant projects

North Carolina’s Sustainable Communities Task Force recently announced the recipients of the new Sustainable Communities Grant Program, which supports regional sustainable development partnerships and makes the connection between land use, housing, and transportation issues. Recognizing that regional planning and collaboration are critical to implementing sustainable economic and community development, the state of North Carolina created the grant program to encourage cross-border efforts.

The grant program is a great example of state government recognizing the significance of regional partnerships in sustainable development. By creating incentives to strengthen regional collaboration and providing tools to assess implementation, the program helps communities become more resilient through tough economic times and create innovative solutions to sustainable development.

Nine applications were selected in April 2011, with each grantee receiving between $10,000 and $50,000. Grant applications were evaluated based on four factors: regional collaboration, evidence of need, implementation of sustainable development principles, and project effectiveness. The Task Force awarded funds to the following entities.

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Governor Whitman: Great places are created by good design and smart policy

Crossposted from the Governors’ Institute for Community Design

Policy plays an important role in building great places. That’s the message Governor Christine Todd Whitman delivered to leading civic leaders, policymakers, urban designers, and entrepreneurs participating in the Ford Foundation’s 75th anniversary forum on July 14, 2011.

Gov. Whitman, a key member of the GICD’s Governors’ Council, spoke about the importance of design in creating great places. Stating that “one of things we found early on is that part of what defines neighborhoods is their physical aspects – what they look like,” she discussed how elements such as front stoops allow for the the development of community. She recounted how, as Governor of New Jersey, she saw first-hand how many well-intentioned rules and regulations prevented such design elements and planning strategies from creating great places.

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National experts advise the Christie Administration on state strategic planning

Crossposted from Smart Growth America’s coalition partner, New Jersey Future.

Last week, the Christie administration hosted a Governors’ Institute on Community Design workshop to explore advancing a state strategic plan that focuses on economic development and the importance of location. The event was a milestone in the administration’s state strategic planning project, which is developing recommendations for how to prioritize and support sustainable economic growth.

Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno along with cabinet members and other state officials attended the day-and-a-half long workshop. Visiting speakers included Doug Foy, President, Serrafix and former secretary of Commonwealth Development in Massachusetts; Mitch Silver, Director of Planning and Economic Development for Raleigh, North Carolina; and Daniel Hernandez, Managing Director of the Planning Practice at Jonathan Rose Companies. Kicking off the event were GICD Chair and former Maryland Governor Glendenning and former New Jersey Governor and GICD co-chair Christine Todd Whitman.

“Governor Christie was pleased to host the Governor’s Institute on Community Design, “said Wayne Hasenbalg, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy for the Christie Administration. “This Administration is taking a thoughtful approach to economic development that includes looking at the most efficient places to direct growth.”

The administration is expected to finalize recommendations to the Governor in July. For more information about these and other workshops, visit the Governors’ Institute on Community Design.

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