Tag: Economic Development

Spotlight on Sustainability: A smart growth corridor plan in North Central Massachusetts

Hmong Focus Group
A Hmong community focus group providing input for the Wachussett Smart Growth Corridor Plan.

A new smart growth corridor plan for North Central Massachusetts will set the stage for housing growth, mixed-use development, new jobs, and tourism opportunities, thanks to the combined efforts of local authorities and community leaders.

The Wachusett Smart Growth Corridor Plan is an ambitious effort to transform the North Central Massachusetts region into a destination for visitors and a transit-accessible magnet for housing and employment growth. The Montachusett Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) is working to coordinate the process, with three nearby municipalities—Fitchburg, Leominster, and Westminster, MA—serving as partners.

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LOCUS announces place-based social equity and affordable housing initiative

LOCUS President Chris Leinberger introduces Place-Based Model for Social Equity
LOCUS President Chris Leinberger introduces Place-Based Model for Social Equity

This week, LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, a program of Smart Growth America, announced a three-part national strategy to address housing and social equity calling upon developers to join them in the cause. The proposed initiative would be centered around new conscious place-based social equity metrics.

The announcement came Tuesday during the third annual Walkable Urban Places Conference, co-hosted by Urban Land Institute Washington and the George Washington University Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis. LOCUS sponsored the event along with Venable LLP.

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Equitable transit-oriented development in Seattle, WA


Images from the Community Cornerstones Project Brochure.

Southeast Seattle is home to the most diverse and immigrant-populated neighborhoods in Seattle, Washington. Now, as a result of the Community Cornerstones project, it could become the City’s next equitable transit-oriented development (TOD) success story.

Part of the strategy is to attract dense mixed-use development to several of Southeast Seattle’s neighborhoods that are in close proximity to the light-rail system opened in 2009, while also preserving the area’s affordability for existing residents through partnerships with community development and financial institutions. The area is already home to one of the most transit-utilized areas of Seattle, and through the project the area is likely to grow with more people, businesses, and jobs.

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Jim Bacon explains the fiscal and economic benefits of smart growth

Jim Bacon is creator and publisher of Bacon’s Rebellion, a Virginia-based blog that covers a range of infrastructure, growth and policy issues. In an interview with Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, Bacon discusses how he came to see smart growth strategies as a fiscally responsible approach to development.

A former editor of Virginia Business Magazine, Bacon has been following community development and transportation issues since the 1980s when northern Virginia was experiencing a building boom. “I was really concerned about costs of growth at the time,” says Bacon. “When you smear out growth over a large, huge land mass, it’s going to be far more expensive to build the roads, extend water and sewer, cable lines, and electricity.”

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Video: Joe Minicozzi on the fiscal benefits of a revitalized Asheville, NC

Many communities are coming to realize smart growth provides substantial economic benefits in addition to creating great neighborhoods. Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council recently sat down with Joseph Minicozzi, the principal of Urban3, LLC, a private consulting firm specializing in land value economics, property tax analysis and community design, to discuss how some communities are using smart growth strategies to their economic benefit.

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Mayor Ralph Becker on building a prosperous Salt Lake City, UT

TRAX SLC
Salt Lake City’s TRAX light rail line, one of Salt Lake City’s many innovative transportation projects. Photo by Matt Johnson via Flickr.

Mayor Ralph Becker, a charter member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is turning Salt Lake City, UT into one of this nation’s most prosperous urban centers. And he’s doing it by building accessibility, sustainability and livability into many city policies.

Becker’s efforts are evident across Salt Lake City. He has spearheaded one of the most ambitious rail systems in the country, building new light rail, bus rapid transit, streetcar AND commuter rail systems. He’s also made the city accessible for all users by more than doubling the number of bike lanes, launching a bike share program and focusing on walkability and pedestrian safety.

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Vice-mayor Hannah McKinney on saving municipal budgets through smarter growth in Kalamazoo, MI

Hannah McKinney believes that to create strong metropolitan areas in this country we have to focus on creating strong neighborhoods. As Vice Mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan; she’s working to make that happen in her region.

“That sense of being tied to a physical location is something that, for many people doesn’t exist anymore,” says McKinney, “We need to create neighborhoods that are unique, that are livable.”

An Advisory Board member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, Hannah McKinney has served on the City Commission for 16 years. She has a long history of working to make Kalamazoo a great place to live, work, and visit. In 2003, McKinney co-chaired the Convening our Community project; a community-building initiative focused on creating a smart growth report to guide land use decisions. McKinney worked on the city’s Comprehensive Plan update, Downtown Plan, and the creation of a 2010 Master Plan to guide future growth and development, all while protecting Kalamazoo’s unique character – – and that’s only part of it.

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Mayor Bryan Barnett on fostering a liveable Rochester Hills, MI

RIbp

Located 25 miles north of Detroit, the city of Rochester Hills, MI may seem like an unlikely place for smart growth to be taking hold. But local residents have taken to smart growth concepts on multiple fronts—from transportation, to preservation of open space to economic development. Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is committed to advancing them even further.

“To me smart growth is a philosophy and it’s a lifestyle,” Barnett says. “It’s not all economic development, it’s not all transportation. It’s about stepping back and looking at how our decisions impact where we want Rochester Hills to be a few years down the road.”

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City Councilmember Kristin Palmer on smart growth and resilience in New Orleans, LA

Kristin Palmer had long been interested in smart growth strategies, but smart growth really became a focal point of her first term on City Council in 2010, as New Orleans still struggled to rebuild five years after Hurricane Katrina.

“When you’re trying to rebuild from nothing, from ground zero, what are the things that make sense when you come back and rebuild? Access to public transportation and economic corridors was really part of that success,” says Palmer. “If you had access to grocery stores and you had a walkable community, and you could get to the resources you needed, those are the communities that rebuilt faster and better.”

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Warwick, RI Mayor Scott Avedisian on preservation and new development going hand in hand

Warwick, RI is the state’s second largest city, and with 39 miles of coastline and a “small town village feel,” Warwick could rest on its laurels. But Mayor Scott Avedisian, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, has an ambitious vision for his city, and is working to create a more vibrant public waterfront and a more diverse local economy.

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