Category: Massachusetts

Smart Growth America’s state smart growth partners meet to discuss shared goals

Coalition members visited Winthrop, MA, pictured above, to learn about smart growth strategies in the small coastal town. Photo via Facebook.

Smart Growth America works with over 50 organizations from across the country as part of our coalition of allied non-profits. Many of these organizations work exclusively on smart growth issues in their respective states, and last month these partners came together to discuss shared challenges and goals.

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LOCUS talks about new development in Somerville and state policy change at two events in Massachusetts

Somerville, MA
The City of Somerville, MA collected ideas from residents for new development around forthcoming Green Line stations at a public meeting. Photo by Interactive Somerville via Flickr.

In November LOCUS joined two events in Massachusetts to connect real estate developers there with both local and state officials, and to discuss the policy changes needed to facilitate walkable, sustainable development throughout Massachusetts.

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Massachusetts announces a “common vision” for housing, transportation, and the environment

Boston from above
Boston from above.

This post is crossposted from the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, a program run in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Smart Growth America.

In fiscally challenging times, states can achieve more when their agencies work together toward common goals. Massachusetts is doing exactly that.

Yesterday at a Multi-Family Housing Summit in Boston, three members of Governor Deval Patrick’s cabinet announced their common vision for growth in Massachusetts. The vision highlights the housing, transportation, and environment agencies’ strong commitment to plan ahead for future growth and the Commonwealth’s Sustainable Development Principles.

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Partnership in the News: Sustainable Berkshires presents first results

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), a Massachusetts recipient of a Regional Planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has completed the first phase of its “Sustainable Berkshires” plan. On Tuesday, December 11th, the BRPC presented to the public the plan for economic development, conservation, and historic preservation. Next spring, the next phase of the plan will address housing and neighborhoods, regional energy, transportation and infrastructure.

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Smart Growth America’s Top 12 of 2012: Helping governors support state economies

From left to right: Parris Glendening, President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute and former governor of Maryland; Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey; James Lee Witt, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania.

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

In July, the Governors’ Institute on Community Design kicked off a new partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The announcement marked the beginning of a new, collaborative effort between the three agencies and the Institute, which was established in 2005 and is administered by Smart Growth America.

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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick introduces new workforce housing initiatives, adopts GICD recommendations

The following is crossposted from the Governors’ Institute on Community Design.

In July 2012, the Governors’ Institute on Community Design met with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and his Administration to identify policies and tool to meet the State’s housing needs. Last week, Governor Patrick announced an ambitious housing policy initiative that builds on those strategies.

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Partnership in the News: Forming a vision for the future of business in North Adams, MA

On September 12, local business owners convened at a workshop in North Adams, MA to voice their concerns and priorities for the future of business in their area. This meeting was part of an effort to form a Master Plan for the city, a part of the broader Sustainable Berkshires initiative, funded with grant support from a HUD Regional Planning Grant.

Mayor Richard J. Alcombright emphasized the city’s need for a growth plan, saying,

“This is a very important process for the city, which, on a whole, hasn’t had a master road map in 40 years. Coming from the business world, we always had a plan. It needs to be a design that is in a very bendable, soft cover book, because it needs to be a fluid road map to success. It needs to keep the community on track, but also allows us to change direction. We are definitely a city that is at a crossroads. Our immediate need is growth, and a good solid plan is key to that.”

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From Heavy Industry to Great Neighborhood: Lawrence, Massachusetts leverages its community resources

As one of the last planned mill cities in the Northeast, Lawrence, Mass., was engineered specifically to maximize the water energy potential flowing on the Merrimack River. Between the 1840s and the 1960s, the city’s textile industry generated a constant flow of financial capital, luring other businesses and workers and contributing to a healthy, vibrant community.

But in the aftermath of World War II and a steady decline in domestic manufacturing, the city lost its economic engine and suffered the flight of its middle-class white population to the suburbs. What was a manufacturing powerhouse 40 miles north of Boston is now New England’s most heavily populated Latino City, home to multiple generations of mostly Caribbean immigrants who came as low-wage labor but have stayed to make the city their own.

Since the decline of manufacturing, the city has struggled to stay afloat amid volatile economic and development trends. The recession and resulting public budget crisis have encumbered it even further.

There is hope on the horizon, however: Lawrence possesses a dynamic civil community of nonprofit groups, residents, local property owners and small businesspeople who are charting a new course. Collectively, these groups are spearheading a movement to pump life back into the economy by leveraging Lawrence’s historic resources in a new way.

The textile boom left the city’s rivers and canals lined with 12 million square feet of mill buildings. “Some of these buildings are the same size as skyscrapers lying down,” said Andre Leroux, who has lived and worked in the city and is now the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance (MSGA). “At the time that they were in operation, they were the biggest buildings in the world.”

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