Category: Virginia

Councilmember Kathy Galvin commits to bringing equitable development to Charlottesville, VA

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Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, VA. Photo by Bob Mical via Flickr

Charlottesville, VA, is setting itself apart from other college towns through a focus on equitable development. The city, which comprises just 10 square miles in central Virginia’s Albemarle County, boasts a rich heritage with connections to Thomas Jefferson and colonial America. Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia as well as many historic sites, most famously including Monticello.

For nearly 30 years, Albemarle County has protected its rural areas through strong preservation practices—and residents have felt the benefits. The city has a strong downtown and walkable core, including the downtown pedestrian mall—one of the most successful in the country—and much of the city is within a 15-minute drive from nearby natural areas. Councilmember Kathy Galvin, a long time Charlottesville resident and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is committed to further strengthening the city’s core and making sure it in an equitable place for all current and future residents.

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Since the workshop: Fairfax, VA identifies new development potential along Fairfax Boulevard

Dover Kohl VisualizationA visualization of the Northfax node along Fairfax Boulevard illustrating a potential future condition. Photo courtesy of Dover Kohl & Partners.

In June, 2013 Smart Growth America visited the city of Fairfax, VA to help city leaders there figure out new strategies for development. How is Fairfax using that workshop to inform its work today?

Since 2007, the City has been working to revitalize Fairfax Boulevard, the main commercial corridor running through the city. The boulevard is currently home to strip mall-type retail and other low-density commercial businesses but recent developer interest in projects along Fairfax Boulevard made the City realize that low-density development on the corridor would not support the community over the long term. So the Department of Community Development and Planning applied for one of Smart Growth America’s free technical assistance workshops, viewing it as an opportunity to ground public discussions about development in sound fiscal policy.

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Councilmember Michael DeMarco has a plan to keep the City of Fairfax, VA competitive in its region

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Old Town Fairfax, VA. Photo by Brandon Wu via Flickr.

City Councilmember Michael DeMarco may just be in his first term of elected office, but he has a strong vision for the future of the City of Fairfax, VA.

As the previous Chair of the city’s Economic Development Authority, DeMarco is focused on smart growth and development for his city of 6.3 square miles and just under 25,000 residents. Fairfax is located in Northern Virginia and part of the growing greater Washington, DC metro region. “It’s not a question of when we will grow,” says DeMarco. “It’s a question of how we will grow.”

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Virginia Beach, VA aims to attract new businesses and residents with more walkable neighborhoods

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Virginia Beach, VA’s Town Center. Photo by Barb Watson via Flickr.

Virginia Beach, VA is already a popular summertime destination. Now, city leaders are working to attract more year-round businesses and residents, and they’re using smart growth strategies to make it happen.

Virginia Beach is beginning to implement its comprehensive plan, beginning with the city’s Central Business District Core. The neighborhood is one of the city’s eight strategic growth areas, and Virginia Beach residents have said they want it to have “a mix of urban uses, great streets, mobility and transit alternatives.”

Posted in Complete Streets, Smart growth stories, Virginia | 1 Comment

Transportation in the City event highlights the changing the face of transit in DC

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On Wednesday, September 25, Smart Growth America’s Transportation in the City event brought together a panel of transportation and startup experts, representatives from innovative transportation services operating in DC, and Washington residents to discuss the growth of transportation options over the past few years – and the challenges that lay ahead.

The panel included Donna Harris, Co-founder, 1776; Sita Vasan, Executive Director, SwitchPitch; Martin Di Caro, Transportation Reporter, WAMU; and Tom Fairchild, Director, Mobility Lab. Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth made the opening remarks and the panel was moderated by Smart Growth America Vice President and Chief of Staff Ilana Preuss.

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County Board Member Chris Zimmerman on building better in Arlington, VA

“Arlington has long been known as a community of neighborhoods. It’s one of the things that for many, many decades has been most appealing about Arlington. People like living in a place where they know their neighbors, where they can …

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Video: Bill Fulton speaks on planning for economic and fiscal health in Fairfax, VA

As part of Smart Growth America’s free technical assistance program for local governments, Smart Growth America’s Vice President of Policy Development and Implementation Bill Fulton gave a presentation on “Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health” to community members and government officials in Fairfax, VA on June 6, 2013.

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City of Fairfax, VA to host public workshop on planning for economic and fiscal health

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Fairfax, VA’s City Hall, where next week’s meeting will take place. Photo by TJ Hanton via Flickr.

Smart Growth America is headed to Fairfax, VA next week to meet with local officials and residents about the city’s development policies and regulations, as well as its approach toward the continued investment in high-quality public infrastructure.

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