Category: SGA News Clips

Smart Growth News — July 21, 2014

Cities Use Civic Tech Tool that Maps Zoning Codes for Potential Businesses
Government Technology — July 18, 2014
To ease the burden on officials, required to regulate, and on business owners, who must navigate city codes, one civic tech startup has released a new question-and-answer tool that maps open zoning areas based on an applicant’s interests. The tool, called ZoningCheck, comes from OpenCounter, a Code for America Accelerator company and Knight Foundation grant recipient.
 
Opinion: As climate shifts, local government must change, too
HeraldNET — July 20, 2014
As climate change and its impacts on the environment become clearer, the need to address these impacts at the local government level becomes more pressing. These updates present an opportunity to adopt policies and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to prepare for changes already underway as a result of climate change.
 
What ‘urban physics’ could tell us about how cities work
Boston Herald — July 20, 2014
What does a city look like? If you’re walking down the street, perhaps it looks like people and storefronts. Viewed from higher up, patterns begin to emerge: A three-dimensional grid of buildings divided by alleys, streets, and sidewalks, nearly flat in some places and scraping the sky in others. Pull back far enough, and the city starts to look like something else entirely: a cluster of molecules.
 
What They’re Saying Around the Country: Build America Investment Initiative
Whitehouse.gov — July 19, 2014
This week, President Obama spoke about the importance of long-term investments in our country’s infrastructure in front of Delaware’s Interstate 495 Bridge. In his remarks, President Obama discussed how much the economy has rebounded over the past few years and how we’ve got a “huge opportunity to keep this momentum going…but also to make sure that growth is broadly shared.”

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Smart Growth News — July 18, 2014

The 15 Most Walkable States in America
The Weather Channel — July 17, 2014
Nobody likes braving the cold weather just to walk a few blocks to pick up groceries and other essentials. Driving or taking public transportation to the store can be a warmer, faster and more pleasant experience. But don’t tell that to people living in these states.
 
What Recovery? Home Building Took a Dive in June
The New York Times — July 17, 2014
Remember when 2014 was going to be the year home building finally got out of the doldrums and accelerated back toward health — or at least to filling something closer to its usual role supporting growth? Yeah, never mind.
 
Fed’s Rosengren Says Cities Program Helps in Ways Easing Can’t
Bloomberg — July 18, 2014
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren said new community development initiatives to spur cooperation between cities and businesses can go beyond monetary easing as a way to support lower-income Americans amid an economic recovery that’s still incomplete.
 
Public Problems, Private Dollars: Obama Seeks Infrastructure Repair Money
The New York Times — July 17, 2014
How can a president fix more roads and bridges without any new money to spend? President Obama’s answer on Thursday was to announce new initiatives to encourage private-sector investment in the nation’s infrastructure

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Smart Growth News — July 17, 2014

Automated cars may boost urban sprawl, fuel use, Toyota scientist says
Auto News — July 16, 2014
Toyota Motor Corp., among carmakers developing driverless technology, said the appeal of autonomous cars carries the risk of adding to urban sprawl and pollution as they may encourage commuters to travel farther to work.
 
Affordable Housing Leads to Smarter Kids
Governing — July 15, 2014
In the world of human services, everything is linked, and one of the main axles around which things connect and spin is stable, affordable housing. If ever there was any doubt about housing’s importance, particularly where it relates to the healthy development of kids, a new study erases it.
 
Rural Co-Ops See the Light on Renewable Energy
The Huffington Post — July 17, 2014
Today, thankfully, many rural electric co-ops are working on ways to bring the next phase of electricity — clean, renewable energy — to their members, giving farmers and other residents of rural areas the same sort of access to solar, wind and other forms of clean energy as the rest of America.
 
Obama presses for more lasting highway funding
Politico — July 15, 2014
President Barack Obama said Tuesday he supports temporary measures to keep federal transportation aid flowing to the states and to keep construction crews on the job, while he also pressed Congress for a more permanent solution to the longstanding shortfall in funding for road and bridge-building projects.

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Smart Growth News — July 16, 2014

What it would take for cities to eliminate the need to own a car
The Washington Post — July 15, 2014
Let’s take a break for a moment from the repetitive story in Washington over which budget gimmicks Congress will adopt to temporarily stave off crisis in the antiquated system of how we pay for our crumbling roads. In another world, people are talking about the much more fundamental and interesting questions of how to design smarter transportation for a 21st century when most everyone will have smartphones and fewer of us will own our own cars.
 
Should Housing Policy Support Renters More?
The New York Times — July 15, 2014
In many of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, buying a home again looks like a risky investment, and in places like Boston, Miami and Washington prices have risen enough that buying is no longer the bargain it seemed to be a few years ago. That perhaps explains why the American public is now divided on whether home ownership is a good long-term investment, and a majority now see home ownership as less appealing than it once was.
 
NIMBYs are costing the US economy billions
Vox — July 15, 2014
While the wage difference between St. Louis and San Francisco is large, the difference in housing costs is even bigger. A programmer in St. Louis might get a big raise by moving to San Francisco to take a job at a technology company there, but he might still be left worse off thanks to the much higher rents there.
 
House Passes Interim Fix for Highway Trust Fund
The New York Times — July 15, 2014
The House on Tuesday easily approved a short-term fix to the nearly depleted federal highway trust fund, as the prospects of hundreds of thousands of job losses and stalled road construction in August overwhelmed the protests of conservative groups that opposed the bill.

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Smart Growth News — July 15, 2014

Cities 3.0: How Cities Are Driving the Revitalization of Our Nation
The Huffington Post — July 14, 2014
The U.S. economy is far from fixed, but recent forecasts indicate a recovery is under way. A new report released last week by the US Conference of Mayors shows that growth in cities will propel nation to levels of economic activity not seen since the early 2000s. Next year, all metros are projected to grow, with half of them growing by more than 3 percent.
 
What is rural? The definition varies
Calaveras Enterprise — July 15, 2014
Now we talk about how to preserve rural character while we struggle to define what it is and, simultaneously, grapple with the academics of the urban-rural interface, foodsheds, exurbia, rural land use, and a sustainable rural economy. Rural has become difficult to define because the definition changes depending on who you ask.
 
White House Report: Economic Analysis of Transportation Infrastructure Investment
The White House — July 14, 2014
The White House today released a new report from the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council on the long-term economic benefits of transportation investment and why conditions in the infrastructure sector are ripe for innovation, with new technologies and approaches promising significant gains in productivity, efficiency, and resilience.
 
Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama DOT Chiefs Outline Impacts of Highway Funding Crisis
For Construction Pros — July 14, 2014
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sent a letter to state transportation departments to let them know the steps the Federal Highway Administration will take should the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) drop below a $4 billion balance, which is expected to happen by the end of this month (July, 2014) month without a solution from Congress.

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Smart Growth News — July 14, 2014

Cities with the most abandoned homes
USA TODAY — July 13, 2014
While there are a variety of options for homeowners in foreclosure, many have chosen to cut their losses and abandon their property. The housing market has been improving across much of the nation. However, some cities still have a long recovery process ahead of them as the market deals with a glut of homes in foreclosure, which can often stay in the system for several years.
 
A ‘nationwide gentrification effect’ is segregating us by education
The Washington Post — July 11, 2014
Census data suggests that in 1980 a college graduate could expect to earn about 38 percent more than a worker with only a high-school diploma. Since then, the difference in their wages has only widened as our economy has shifted to bestow greater and greater rewards on the well-educated. By 2000, that number was about 57 percent. By 2011: 73 percent.
 
How Cities and Businesses Are Working Together to Address Climate Change
Triple Pundit — July 14, 2014
This is a little ironic; no, it’s more than a little ironic. Congress won’t act on climate change for fear of adversely impacting businesses. So, cities and states are picking up the slack, taking aggressive action, in order to protect their… wait for it…businesses.
 
Some homeowners miss out on housing recovery
Chicago Tribune Business — July 14, 2014
Scott and Caroline Schmauderer know all the acronyms and the nitty-gritty details of the federal government’s various programs to help homeowners like themselves, whose plans were derailed by the housing bust.
 
Congress is abandoning the principle that drivers should pay for highways
Vox — July 12, 2014
The trust fund that pays for federal transportation spending in the United States is running out of money in August, prompting a big congressional debate over how to refill its coffers. But the the main proposals offered by the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee both miss a crucial fact: Americans are driving less than they used to.

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Smart Growth News — July 11, 2014

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan confirmed as director of OMB
HousingWire — July 10, 2014
Donovan’s nomination was confirmed by the Senate Thursday by a 75-22 margin. When Donovan’s nomination was announced, President Obama praised his work over the last six years. Donovan has been a member of President Obama’s cabinet since Obama took office in 2008.
 
House Dems introduce housing finance reform measure
The Hill — July 10, 2014
Three House Democrats introduced on Thursday the latest legislative volley aimed at overhauling the housing finance system. Reps. John Delaney (Md.), John Carney (Del.), and Jim Himes (Conn.) offered a bill that preserves the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and uses private-sector pricing to reduce the risk of future bailouts for taxpayers.
 
Helsinki’s ambitious plan to make car ownership pointless in 10 years
The Guardian — July 10, 2014
The Finnish capital has announced plans to transform its existing public transport network into a comprehensive, point-to-point “mobility on demand” system by 2025 – one that, in theory, would be so good nobody would have any reason to own a car.
 
No gridlock: Highway deal nears
The Hill — July 10, 2014
House and Senate committees both approved measures on Thursday to fund highway projects into next year, raising hopes that Congress could soon reach a deal to prevent sidelining construction projects this summer. The two measures rely on similar provisions to provide roughly the same amount of money — just under $10 billion — for highway projects.

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Smart Growth News — July 10, 2014

New urbanism isn’t just for liberals — conservatives should embrace it too
The Week — July 10, 2014
Conservatism has somehow become associated in the popular imagination with sterile suburbia, obnoxiously large McMansions, and gas-guzzling SUVs, while liberalism evokes images of city-living in close quarters, with public transportation or bicycle commutes from high-rise lofts to open-floor workspaces.
 
Julián Castro Confirmed by the Senate as the Next HUD Secretary
Whitehouse.gov — July 9, 2014
This afternoon, the Senate overwhelmingly approved San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to be the next Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The vote was 71-26. As mayor of San Antonio, Castro revitalized the city, implementing housing and economic development projects that have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in investments.
 
Not an urban legend: Cities are hotter, and we know why
USA TODAY — July 9, 2014
Scientists, for the first time, have a clearer picture of what causes the “urban heat island” effect, a common phenomenon that makes cities swelter by as much as 22 degrees more than the nearby countryside, especially at night in the summer.
 
Senate Committee Said to Agree on Highway Trust Funding
Bloomberg — July 10, 2014
Lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate plan to advance measures that would provide short-term infusions of cash into the Highway Trust Fund, setting up a clash over their dueling approaches. The biggest difference between the proposals is the Senate plan’s inclusion of two tax-compliance changes projected to generate $3.4 billion over the next decade, according to a summary released by the Joint Committee on Taxation today.

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