Tag: Colorado

Applications close Friday for Smart Growth America’s 2014 free technical assistance workshops

coolplanningboulder
The City of Boulder, CO created this poster following their February workshop on cool planning.

The application window for Smart Growth America’s 2014 free technical assistance workshops is closing soon! If your community is considering applying for one or more of these workshops, applications are due by this Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:00 PM EST.

In 2013, 22 communities were awarded these free workshops, including small towns like Blue Springs, MO and Campbell, NY and major cities like Houston, TX. These communities have used what they learned at our workshops to inform new projects, new plans—and even posters!

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Northwest Colorado hosts workshop to discuss strengthening economy

Eagle CO

Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG) officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on August 8 and 9, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The two-day workshop provided tools and training to assist NWCCOG leaders as they develop strategies for the organization’s new role as a U.S. Economic Development Administration Economic Development District. These strategies will help NWCCOG communities to strengthen their economies while also maintaining the natural environment for which the region is known.

“NWCCOG is very excited about our upcoming Smart Growth America workshop,” said Rachel Lunney, Economic Development and Communications Manager for NWCCOG. “We are a newly-designated Economic Development District, and as such we have asked for assistance with planning for the economic and fiscal health of our member communities. Smart Growth America’s experts will help us advance toward our vision of a robust, diverse regional economy, made up of strong local businesses and jobs that pay well in communities with housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools.”

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Denver’s Sun Valley plans for brighter tomorrow

Sun Valley
Sun Valley neighborhood listening sessions. Photo via the Decatur-Federal Station Area Plan.

Denver, CO’s Sun Valley has a new chance to overcome many hurdles towards economic vibrancy thanks to a new light rail line and a Community Challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Sun Valley near downtown Denver is a remarkably diverse neighborhood home to a large immigrant and refugee population. The area is also one of Denver’s poorest, with an average annual income of $8,000 per household. More than 9 out of 10 of the area’s residents live in public housing. In addition to these demographic challenges Sun Valley is alo isolated geographically, cut off from Denver’s urban core by the South Platte River to the east, Sports Authority Field at Mile High to the north, and major roads to the west and south.

A new initiative will help Sun Valley overcome these chalenges and become a better place to live for current residents and future ones. At the heart of this work is the Decatur-Federal Station Area Plan, a transit-oriented development strategy for the larger Sun Valley region. Created by the Denver Department of Community Planning and Development and the Denver Housing Authority, the plan centers around a newly-completed RTD FasTracks light rail line. The line extends west from the heart of downtown Denver to Golden, CO, and connects Sun Valley to Denver’s economic opportunities and employment centers.

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Startup Places and the companies that call them home

Crossroads District
Baltimore Street in Kansas City, MO’s Crossroads District. Photo by Chris Murphy via Flickr.

This Thursday we’re hosting Tech in the City: Startup Communities in Startup Places, a conversation about DC’s startup companies and the neighborhoods they call home. Follow the conversation on Twitter later this week at #TechintheCity.

Small tech startups are coming together in cities across the country to build communities of innovation and collaboration. Why are these communities taking root in the places they do? And what can cities do to foster these leaders of the new economy?

It may seem counterintuitive for competing companies to move close to one another, but there are reasons for startups to work together. As Brad Feld explains in his book Startup Communities, startups can be more successful, create more jobs, and attract more talent by working together to create an inclusive community of people who gather together to share ideas.

Dozens of cities in the United States are now home to one or more startup communities. These clusters of companies are often grouped around a shared resource like co-working space, a tech accelerator or university. It takes more than that, though, for a startup community to flourish. In city after city these communities are forming in neighborhoods with a common set of characteristics.

I call these neighborhoods Startup Places. Whether in former industrial neighborhoods, a city’s downtown or an historic district put to innovative new use, Startup Places have places to gather, a dynamic mix of people nearby, and affordable commercial spaces. These neighborhood features meet the needs of startup communities by giving startup leaders places to meet fellow entrepreneurs, mingle with new ideas, and find flexible office space affordable enough for a new business. Here’s a closer look at how neighborhoods like these come about.

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Partnership in the News: Denver Neighborhood Focused on Residents’ Health


A redevelopment site in Denver, Colorado is seeking to create healthy lifestyles through healthy environments. The project, called Mariposa, featured in the New York Times this week, has gone to great lengths to improve the quality of life for its residents.

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Boulder, CO targets carbon reduction through transportation at smart growth strategy workshop


The Boulder Civic Area is a visionary “community driven” project to rethink and evolve the downtown’s most expansive public space. Image via Bouldercolorado.gov on Flickr.

Boulder, CO officials and local residents will meet with representatives from Smart Growth America on March 4 and 5, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops aim to find innovative travel and mobility strategies that will give Boulder the tools to achieve the next level of the city’s ambitious carbon-reduction goals.

Boulder residents are invited to join the workshops first day for an open house on the city’s 2013 Transportation Master Plan Update (from 4:30 to 6 p.m.) and a presentation by Smart Growth America (from 6 to 8 p.m.). The event will be held Monday, March 4, 2013 at the Hotel Boulderado Conference Center, 2115 13th Street, Boulder, CO.

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Small places with big goals win national awards for smart growth achievement


Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America (left) with representatives from seven communities honored with the 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement.

On Wednesday evening in a hearing room on Capitol Hill, the winners of this year’s National Award for Smart Growth Achievement gathered to discuss how their projects are helping their communities become better places to live and work.

The awards this year went to projects that have improved streets, redeveloped historic buildings, built new homes and stores in the heart of downtown, created better transportation choices and more. And though the projects are all very different from one another, none would have been possible without community support and collaboration.

“That’s the word of the day, partnerships,” said Kenneth Chandler, former City Manager of the City of Portsmouth, VA. Portsmouth’s comprehensive overhaul of the city’s development and land use regulations won it the Programs and Policies award. Portsmouth’s new codes are already creating a more livable and pedestrian-friendly city with opportunities for economic development and reinvestment.

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The seven most innovative development projects – and policies – in the country


The BLVD in Lancaster, California is one of seven communities being honored this year by the EPA. Photo by Charlie Essers via Flickr.

What do a boulevard in California, a Denver neighborhood, new zoning ordinances in Virginia and an organic food co-op in Vermont all have in common?

They are all being honored with the 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Office of Sustainable Communities. The seven winning communities – including four winners and three honorable mentions – were announced this morning.

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Coding for a Better Neighborhood

Successful plans for growth are informed by the vision of community members. Now, an innovative web-based effort is helping that vision go mobile.

As the people most knowledgeable about and invested in their neighborhoods, local community members are key participants in any new planning effort. Residents of a town or neighborhood often understand the area in ways planners don’t, and by getting involved in new planning efforts residents can help make sure new development plans are in line with the community’s goals.

PlaceMatters is working to make this public engagement more effective and equitable, and they’re harnessing the power of web developers and public data to make it happen. The organization will host Colorado Code for Communities this coming weekend, July 27-29, in Denver, Colorado. The event will gather web programmers to collaborate and create digital apps full of civic information. The apps are intended to address specific questions or local concerns, using state and federal data to power their information.

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Denver, CO

In the areas of Denver surrounding the South Platte River, industrial buildings, coal-fired power plants, and blighted communities contrast with newer greenspace, trails, natural spaces and emerging mixed use developments. Over the past few decades, efforts at revitalization have made major progress in creating more walkable and recreational spaces, as well as cleaning up the river itself. But many of the surrounding neighborhoods and industrial areas are still disadvantaged, isolated, and underutilized. The City of Denver is now conducting a study to identify opportunities to spur economic development and revitalization in these communities.

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