Category: Smart growth stories

Rhode Island is making good on an old plan to grow smarter

RhodeMap RI
Courtesy Rhode Island Division of Planning

Rhode Island is America’s smallest state in terms of land area, so finding the best planning solutions can be a delicate matter that demands a variety of voices. The Ocean State has a mix of cities, small towns, rural areas, and suburbs, and is home to commuters to Boston and other locations out of state.

RhodeMap RI: Building a Better Rhode Island is the state-led effort to create strategies for housing, growth, and economic development in the form of a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development.

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Smart Growth Stories: Resourceful Development in Martin County, FL

bonitaWhen envisioning ways to create jobs and revitalize business in a community, stormwater and sewer projects might not typically be at the top of the list. But one county in Florida showed that with some creative thinking and a resourceful application of funds, projects that might otherwise seem one-dimensional can go a long way toward building stronger communities.

Planners in Martin County, Florida realized that a stormwater and sewer project on a neglected commercial corridor in the Golden Gate neighborhood of Stuart, FL, was an opportunity not just to provide vital infrastructure, but to spur private investment that would create jobs and help revitalize the neighborhood.

In 2012, the Martin County Redevelopment Agency (CRA) completed the ‘BCD Sewer Project’ referring to Bonita, Clayton and Delmar Streets that were part of the reconstruction. The aim of the project was to increase the availability of basic sewer services in the Golden Gate neighborhood, which relies heavily on septic tanks. The construction would require a near complete replacement of the area roads, so the CRA conducted extensive public outreach to find out what improvements residents would want to see incorporated into a new design.

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Mayor Madeline Rogero on a revitalized Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, Tennessee is refocusing development toward the city’s historic core and older neighborhoods, and the strategy is driving an economic turnaround for the city.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, a member of the Advisory Board of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, says the city has focused on “strong, safe neighborhoods; living green and working green; an energized downtown and job creation and retention” during her time in office. The approach is bringing new businesses and residents to downtown Knoxville.

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Smart Growth Stories: Mayor Ken Moore on balancing preservation with growth in Franklin, Tennessee


Main Street in downtown Franklin, TN. Photo via Flickr.

Franklin, TN’s historic Main Street is more than a pretty place. It exemplifies Franklin’s historic heritage and has become the heart of the city’s new economy.

“We like to say we’re a community that balances preservation with growth,” says Franklin Mayor Ken Moore. Moore is on the Advisory Board of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, a nonpartisan group of municipal officials who share a passion for building great towns, cities, and communities. As a member of the Local Leaders Council, Moore is one of many elected leaders across the country using smart growth strategies to help their hometowns generate better return on taxpayer investment and compete in today’s economy.

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Smart Growth Stories: Mayor Marilyn Strickland on development in Tacoma, WA

Tacoma, WA Mayor Marilyn Strickland considers her city “the best kept secret in Washington State,” and smart growth strategies are helping make the city an even better place to live and work.

“Tacoma kind of got bypassed during the whole urban renewal phase of the late 60s and 70s, so as a result a lot of historic property did not get razed,” Strickland says. “So we have this beautiful stock of old warehouses and historic property.”

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Smart Growth Stories: Mayor Rick Danner leads by example in Greer, SC

Since the early 1990′s, the city of Greer, SC has tripled in population and quadrupled in size. Mayor Rick Danner has been there for much of this change.

“We were growing at such a rapid rate that we were losing our sense of community, that small town feel,” Danner says in an interview with Smart Growth America. “And there was an overwhelming desire to be able to retain this sense of uniqueness that comes with the feel of a small town regardless of what size it is or population that it is. And we knew that the heart of that was going to be the downtown area.”

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Public-private partnerships lead the way in a Cincinnati neighborhood’s revival

At first glance, the history of Cincinnati’s ‘Over-the-Rhine’ neighborhood resembles a storyline familiar to many of America’s urban neighborhoods – a once thriving immigrant community and booming industrial hub turned impoverished and destitute, only to experience a renaissance after decades of disinvestment.

However, there is more than meets-the-eye in regards to the dynamic history of Over-The-Rhine and it’s recent (and unlikely) revival. A unique partnership between city leaders, local corporations and private developers helped to pave the way for what is becoming one of America’s greatest smart growth success stories.

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Smart Growth America’s Top 12 of 2012: Telling the story of smart growth

The Cabinet Mountains in northern Montana. Photo by Daniel Liu via Flickr.

We’re doing a special blog series this month highlighting some of Smart Growth America’s favorite accomplishments from 2012. This is the tenth of twelve installments.

In 2012, we spoke with people across the country who are using better development strategies to create great places. We highlighted towns and cities that are seeing new residents and businesses after years of decline. And we shared plans about new projects yet to be built. Here are a few of these Smart Growth Stories from 2012.

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