Category: Members and Main

Smart Growth America’s coalition members gather for annual meeting

coalition-mtg_3-2014Dru Schmidt-Perkins of 1,000 Friends of Maryland (left) with Tyler Grote of Smart Growth America at last week’s meeting.

Last week, members of Smart Growth America’s non-profit coalition gathered in Washington, DC for the coalition’s annual meeting and advocacy day on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, coalition members and Smart Growth America staff discussed the new issues and progress made in each member’s region. Staff from Smart Growth America and Transportation for America briefed the members about progress on projects including the National Complete Streets Coalition, innovative transportation policies in Michigan and projects to improve community health in the transportation planning process.

Then member organizations presented about their achievements in the last year and discussed the challenges within each region. The Alliance to Re-Industrialize for a Sustainable Economy (ARISE) Minnesota’s Zachary Zweifler gave an insightful presentation on how they are designing projects to transform former industrial sites into mixed-use developments using non-traditional approaches. And Kaid Benfield, co-founder of Smart Growth America and the author of People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities, shared a few of the major points from his book, which discusses topics as wide-ranging as “green” housing developments that are no such thing, the tricky matter of gentrifying inner cities, why people don’t walk much anymore, and the relationship between cities and religion.

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Join our annual Coalition Meeting and Advocacy Day – March 26 and 27, 2014

Coalition meetingSmart Growth America staff and coalition members at 2013′s meeting and advocacy day.

Smart Growth America’s ally coalition is a collaborative and broad group of non-profit organizations working on state and regional smart growth issues across the country.

On March 26 and 27, 2014, Coalition members will gather in Washington, DC for our annual Coalition Meeting and Advocacy Day. Coalition members and Smart Growth America staff will come together to discuss new issues in smart growth, public policy and how the coalition as a whole can work together to advance these important issues, as well as meet with members of Congress about smart growth issues at the national level.

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Placemaking, local businesses and the ‘knowledge economy’ at GrowSmart Maine’s annual summit

gsm-summit-1

On November 20, smart growth advocates and policymakers in Maine convened for our coalition partner GrowSmart Maine‘s annual summit. The conference drew members from across the state for an afternoon focused on the policies, trends, events, and projects that have strengthened Maine’s economy, environment and communities. 

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Applications now being accepted for Smart Growth America’s 2014 free technical assistance workshops

Technical assistance workshop
A technical assistance workshop in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Applications are now being accepted for Smart Growth America’s 2014 free technical assistance workshops. Each year Smart Growth America offers free assistance to local communities interested in building stronger local economies and creating great neighborhoods. These workshops will be awarded to a limited number of qualifying communities.

Now in its third year, this free workshop program helps city, county and regional leaders find solutions to local issues and concerns. Our workshops help participating communities to grow in ways that benefit families and businesses while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place.

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Creating streets that work for everyone in Montevallo, AL

Montevallo, AL
On the campus of Montevallo, AL. Photo by Larry Miller, via Flickr.

This is a guest post written by Ryan Parker, of our coalition partner Conservation Alabama.

Montevallo, AL is preserving its unique blend of college culture and country charm by making intentional decisions about expansion and development.

The small town of 6,000 residents in the heart of Alabama has a vibrant downtown, a Greenway National Recreational Trail, three beautiful parks, an art gallery, and Alabama’s only public liberal arts college, the University of Montevallo.

Over the last several years the City and the University have worked together on projects to make downtown Montevallo an even better place to live and work. “The very best colleges in the country, most of them have lively, attractive downtowns,” said John Stewart III, president of the University of Montevallo. “We literally want Main Street and the campus to blend into one plan.”

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New analysis of Nashville area development reveals opportunity for public savings

The Gulch
The Watermark restaurant in The Gulch district in Nashville. The Gulch generated far more revenue per unit than the two other development scenarios. Photo by The Gulch.

Tennessee taxpayers could save money by using smarter development strategies, according to new research published by Smart Growth America.

Fiscal impact analyses of three development scenarios in Nashville-Davidson County, TN (PDF) examines the public costs and benefits of three development scenarios in Nashville-Davidson County: The Gulch, a smart growth oriented development project; Lennox Village, a New Urbanist-style development in a ‘greenfield’ location; and Bradford Hills, a conventional suburban residential subdivision outside of the city.

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Advocating for great places: Smart Growth America and coalition partners visit Capitol Hill

Federal decisions about development, infrastructure and transportation impact communities across the country, and no one has a better understanding of how those decisions play out than the members of Smart Growth America’s national coalition.

Coalition members from across the country came together last week in Washington, DC to ask members of Congress to support the federal programs that are helping communities across the country achieve their economic development goals.

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Taking a close look at the federal government’s spending on real estate

The following post was crossposted on the U.S. Green Building Council’s blog.

The biggest real estate investor in the United States isn’t Donald Trump, and it’s not a private equity firm.

Spending or committing roughly $450 billion a year, the federal government is by far and away the largest investor in real estate in the country. This spending spans 50 federal programs at half a dozen agencies, and includes everything from loans and loan guarantees to tax credits to low-income housing grants. If you include the quasi-governmental enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the amount of money the government spends each year on real estate is even larger.

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