Category: GICD

Resilience summit discusses how states can help vulnerable populations prepare for and recover from disaster

Hurricane KatrinaThousands of people were unable to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina due to lack of access to transportation. These individuals were disproportionately elderly, low-income African Americans. Photo by Andrea Booher, via the FEMA Photo Library.

A community is only as resilient as its most vulnerable residents. States can do more to define who is most at risk in the face of natural hazards, and can begin to take steps to address these populations’ needs.

That was the takeaway from the panel of environmental justice experts who spoke at the Governors’ Institute on Community Design State Resilience and Economic Growth Summit in Washington, DC, last week. The panel discussion was part of a a two-day event that brought together experts on disaster recovery and long-term resilience to discuss best practices and new strategies for states.

“You can’t just talk about the general population and resilience and expect resilience to spread to all communities,” began Matthew Tejada, Director of the Office of Environmental Justice at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “It’s important that we save a special place to talk about resilience for those communities that are overburdened, that are vulnerable.”

Posted in GICD, Resilience | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

State and local partnerships prove essential at State Resilience Summit

080609-F-6967G-196Flooding in places like Lake Delton, WI prompted the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to focus on local disaster recovery strategies. Photo by Paul Gormond, via Wikimedia Commons.

How can states partner with local authorities to improve disaster resilience, while also addressing local economic, environmental and equity concerns?

An expert panel tackled this question earlier this week at the Governors’ Institute on Community Design State Resilience and Economic Growth Summit in Washington, DC. The two-day event brought together experts on disaster recovery and long-term resilience to discuss best practices and new strategies with state and federal leaders. The Governors’ Institute on Community Design is an initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation administered by Smart Growth America.

In a day two breakout session on “The Role of State and Local Partnerships”, participants heard from leaders on the challenges of building strong state-local partnerships for resilience implementation.

Posted in Blog, Events, GICD, Resilience | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Innovative partnerships drive economic discussion at State Resilience Summit

netherlandsA project in the Netherlands combined flood mitigation with local housing development. Photo by Royal Netherlands Embassy.

When state governments focus on resilience, who should be their key partners? How can unconventional stakeholders lend their support to the process?

Those questions took center stage today at the Governors’ Institute on Community Design State Resilience and Economic Growth Summit in Washington, DC. The two-day event is bringing together experts on disaster recovery and long-term resilience to discuss best practices and new strategies for states. The Governors’ Institute on Community Design is an initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation administered by Smart Growth America.

Posted in Events, GICD, Resilience | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in GICD, Massachusetts | Tagged , | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in GICD, Massachusetts | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in GICD | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in GICD, Members and Main, New Jersey | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in DOT, EPA, GICD, HUD, Partnership and Main, West Virginia | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment