Category: Tools

Top 10 of 2013: Building better budgets through new, original research

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This month, we’re looking back at some of Smart Growth America’s brightest moments and greatest accomplishments from 2013. Today’s highlight? Our July report that showed just how much smart growth strategies can benefit municipalities’ bottom lines.

Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development set out to find how much cities and towns have saved, on average, by using smart growth strategies. The report collected 17 studies from cities across the country that compared two or more development scenarios. The majority of these studies found that a smart growth approach would improve the city’s finances, whether by saving money on upfront infrastructure, reducing the cost of ongoing services or by generating greater tax revenues in years to come.

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Reno, NV hosts workshop on smarter development

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Downtown Reno and the Truckee Meadows. Photo by Tonya Poole via Flickr.

In October Smart Growth America visited Reno, NV, to meet with residents and local officials there as part of a “Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health” technical assistance workshop.

The workshop aimed to lay the groundwork for the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency (TMRPA) to examine different development models for the region, with the ultimate goal of creating a regional plan for sustainable development.

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Cuyahoga County, OH hosts public workshop on Complete Streets

[caption id="attachment_29143" align="alignnone" width="700"]Photograph Courtesy OzinOH (via Flickr) Cuyahoga County Courthouse Photograph courtesy OzinOH (via Flickr)[/caption]
Cuyahoga County officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on May 1 and 2, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops aimed to give Cuyahoga County strategies to create a built environment that focuses on better and more accessible transportation options for all residents.

“Providing a multi-modal transportation network is a key component to Cuyahoga County’s guiding principles of designing a place-based development strategy. Under the leadership of County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, the County also recognizes the momentum of the City of Cleveland’s efforts to implement a Complete and Green Streets policy and embraces this opportunity to explore the concept of Complete Streets on the regional level,” said Glenn Coyne, Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission.

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Houston hosts workshop on implementing Complete Streets

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Local residents and officials in Houston, TX  met with representatives from Smart Growth America on April 17 and 18, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops aimed to give Houston the tools to develop a Complete Streets policy in their Museum Park Neighborhood, which will lay the foundation for future Complete Streets policies in other neighborhoods throughout the city.

“Museum Park, in partnership with the City of Houston’s Office of Sustainability anticipates that the Complete Streets workshop will take Houston a step closer to achieving a few of Mayor Parker’s stated goals for her second term, such as “sustainable development, public safety, infrastructure and quality of life,” said Kathleen O’Reilly, Vice President of the Museum Park Super Neighborhood. “Museum Park, with its mix of 14 museums, Hermann Park, 3,000 homes, schools, health care, churches and more offers the ideal mix to craft the highest standards for transit and quality of life in Houston. As we launch ReBuild Houston, the timing of this exciting collaborative effort couldn’t be better.”

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Village of Park Forest, IL hosts workshop on sustainable land use

Local residents and officials in Park Forest, IL met with representatives from Smart Growth America on April 18 and 19, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops aimed to give Park Forest the tools to assess the effectiveness and sustainability of its current land use codes and create strategies to carry its smart growth vision forward.

“We are very pleased to have the expertise of our friends from Smart Growth America as we review our ordinances and make sure they are up-to-date, especially in regards to sustainability,” said Mayor John A. Ostenburg.

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Town of Campbell, NY hosts workshop on smart growth zoning codes for small cities

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Photo courtesy of Dougtone via Flickr

Officials and local residents in Campbell, NY met with representatives from Smart Growth America on April 24 and 25, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops gave Campbell the tools it needs to preserve its character, while creating strategies that allow the town to move toward a more sustainable future.

“The Town of Campbell feels very fortunate to have been selected for this technical assistance workshop,” said Town Supervisor David Tennent. “We’re eager to learn what Smart Growth America has to teach us regarding strategies for improving our zoning code and planning for sustainable growth in our town.”

Nicolette Barber, AICP, with Hunt Engineers, Architects & Land Surveyors, a consultant for the town and working closely with the technical assistance team said, “Campbell is a small town that would like to maintain and enhance its rural character. In planning for its future, the town is not looking to compete with the regional shopping centers or expand its population by leaps and bounds. Rather, what residents would like are more opportunities for local shopping, social events and recreation. To the extent that the Comprehensive Plan Committee could help promote that through smart growth strategies learned from Smart Growth America, they would like to do so.”

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Virginia Beach looks to implement complete streets policy through strategy workshop

Photo courtesy of justinrummel via Flickr. Officials and local residents in Virginia Beach, VA met with representatives from Smart Growth America on April 24 and 25, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops provided the …

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Announcing new resources for communities implementing Complete Streets policies


A bicyclist in California, from the cover of the California Department of Transportation’s Complete Streets Implementation Action Plan, one of the resources included in the new overview.

New resources are now available to help communities successfully implement Complete Streets policies.

The National Complete Streets Coalition’s Implementation tools include general guidance and specific strategies to help leaders and advocates address design standards, concerns about funding costs and measuring outcomes.

These resources are designed to be used by local leaders working to put Complete Streets policies into action. Throughout those pages you can find best practices, suggested activities, and resources to help guide your community through Complete Streets implementation. We provide examples of materials that are used by communities of all sizes from across the country at all stages of policy implementation.

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