Category: Members and Main

Voters strongly support smart growth measures on Election Day 2014

bar-harbor-meMaine’s small businesses, like these in Bar Harbor, will get new help thanks to yesterday’s passage of Question 3. Photo by Duluoz via Flickr.

On Tuesday, voters across America passed statewide, county-wide, and citywide measures in support of smart growth and better development strategies. Here’s a short roundup of what passed, what failed, and what it means for community development.

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Capital Ideas conference will discuss innovative transportation funding legislation, Nov. 13-14 in Denver, CO

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As Congress has repeatedly postponed tough decisions on federal transportation funding, a handful of states have stepped up and passed new transportation funding legislation. In early 2015, a host of new state legislators and governors will be sworn in—and in many state capitols, transportation will be on the front burner.

Transportation advocates and legislators are invited to Capital Ideas: Raising Money for Transportation Through Innovative State Legislation on November 13-14, 2014 in Denver, CO. This two-day conference hosted by Transportation for America will explore new ways to raise money for transportation projects.

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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

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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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