Category: Local Leaders Council

Leaders discuss downtown revitalization at Policy Forum 2015

local-leaders_6-23-15_roomParticipants at the second annual Local Leaders Council Policy Forum on June 1, 2015 in Washington, DC. Photo by Aimee Custis.

Earlier this month, local leaders from across the country came together for the 2015 Local Leaders Council Policy Forum in Washington, DC. The over 30 speakers talked about a wide range of smart growth topics, including creating housing options, fighting blight, meeting the needs of new demographics, and walkable design.

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Planning Director George Atta on planning for a more convenient Honolulu, HI

honoluluArtist’s rendering of light rail service through downtown Honolulu. Image via AIA Honolulu.

Honolulu, HI is known for its natural beauty. The city unfortunately also has third worst traffic in the nation. To help remedy that, the City of Honolulu is working to create alternate ways for residents to get around the island and George Atta, the Honolulu Planning Director and a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is one of the leaders making it happen.

Atta grew up in Honolulu and has been in the planning profession for many years. Doing this work on a small island, he explains, makes many smart growth lessons more immediate.

“Planners on an island see the consequences of our actions pretty quickly,” Atta says, “The problems we create stay here. So it’s been easy for us to understand the benefits of a smart growth approach.”

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Councilmember Mike Kasperzak brings a smart growth approach to Mountain View, CA’s boomtown

Google_Campus,_Mountain_View,_CAGoogleplex in the North Bayshore of Mountain View, CA. Photo by Austin McKinley via Wikipedia.

Mountain View, CA, is booming. New companies are brining new residents—and with them worsening traffic congestion and rising home rental prices. Mike Kasperzak, a Councilmember in Mountain View and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is using a smart growth approach to help Mountain View solve these problems now and stay vibrant for the long term.

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Green Carts are tackling New York City’s food deserts

Green Carts in New York City, NY. Photo via the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. How difficult is it for you to pick up a tomato for tonight’s dinner or some apples for the week? Unfortunately, for over 23 million people in …

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Councilmember Michael Wojcik on creating a community that works for all

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Summer Market in Rochester, MN. Photo by Rochester, MN via Facebook.

Driving home from work one day in Rochester, MN, Michael Wojcik came across an accident where a 6-year-old girl riding her bicycle with her family had been struck and killed by a vehicle. The family lived in a subdivision, and had to cross two major county roads to get anywhere. That is what they were doing that day, when three lanes of traffic had stopped—but the fourth did not.

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Neighborhood revitalization workshop teaches Maryland leaders new strategies and ways to overcome challenges

Maryland revitalization workshopLocal leaders from Western Maryland and Maryland’s Eastern Shore discuss revitalization challenges and successes.

Nearly twenty members of the Maryland Chapter of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council gathered in Silver Spring, MD on Friday, March 13 for a Revitalizing Downtowns and Regional Centers for the Triple Bottom Line workshop sponsored by Smart Growth America and 1000 Friends of Maryland. Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer, an Advisory Board member of the Maryland Chapter, sponsored the event at the Silver Spring Civic Building in the heart of Downtown Silver Spring.

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Department of Planning Executive Director Rick Bernhardt on community engagement for a better Nashville, TN

rbernhardtRick Bernhardt, right, discusses different development strategies with Nashville residents. Photo by NashvilleNext via Twitter.

Nashville, TN, is a creative city with a rich history in the arts that has recently seen new growth in both its population and economy. Rick Bernhardt, the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County Planning Department and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is working to make sure the city’s development supports that growth.

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Councilmember Amber Waldref on improving corridors and quality of life for residents in Spokane, WA

City of Spokane, WA. Photo via City of Spokane on Facebook.

At the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Spokane, WA, is using smart growth to manage growth and improve quality of life for residents.

Spokane is a scenic city centered on the Spokane River with a population of 210,000. According to Amber Waldref, District One Councilmember and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, the city is an “urban area with a small town feel.” Several smart growth projects—including updating design standards, a new form based code, improved transit, and building incentives downtown—will help Spokane be the vibrant, walkable city that residents desire.

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