Tag: Regional Planning

Spotlight on Sustainability: Charm City works to improve housing, transportation, and jobs


Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Kevin Labianco via Flickr.

The Baltimore metropolitan area is planning for the region’s future development thanks to a Regional Planning Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

The Opportunity Collaborative for a Greater Baltimore Region spans a diverse landscape ranging from the dense urban streets of Baltimore to the rural, pastoral landscapes of Northeastern Maryland. The project encompasses Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Carroll County, Harford County and Anne Arundel County – an area home to more than 2.5 million people.

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Smart Growth Stories: A region collaborates in Southern Maine

Balancing development with environmental and economic concerns is one of the biggest challenges facing Southern Maine today.

“Maine has a lot going for it: its sense of place, its scenery, its quality of life,” says Carol Morris, President of Morris Communications and lead consultant for Sustain Southern Maine, a regional partnership of organizations, communities and businesses working to make Maine’s economy, environment and sense of community stronger. “If we lose that, we’ll never get it back, and people understand that, so there’s a fair amount of local support for balancing it all together.”

Sustain Southern Maine is addressing these important challenges with a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach to planning. Aided by a Regional Planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the partnership is working to make sure development in small, rural communities as well as larger urban areas like Portland – Maine’s biggest city – will benefit the communities and economies of the entire region.

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Partnership in the News: Erie County Prime For Economic Development Plan

An editorial in the Erie-Times News details an exciting planning process about to begin in Erie County, NY. With the help of a $1.8 million Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Planning grant, the country will undertake the creation of a new Master Plan in order to:

…add jobs, improve housing, provide better transportation service and, in general, spark economic development.

Barbara Chaffee, the [Erie] Regional Chamber’s president, promises that the plan will be “actionable.” In other words, there will be specifics about such issues as public transportation, job training, education and government efficiency that can be put in place. “It gives us an opportunity to redefine ourselves,” says Chaffee.


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Know of a great smart growth project in New Jersey? Nominate it!

Do you know of an innovative project, plan or initiative that deserves to be honored for bringing smart growth ideals to light in New Jersey? Smart Growth America’s coalition member New Jersey Future is looking for nominees for their 2012 Smart Growth Award.

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Free smart growth tools that local governments can use now

The application period for Smart Growth America’s free technical assistance closed yesterday, but we still offer a number of free tools for communities interested in smart growth strategies.

Smart Growth America’s Smart Growth Implementation Toolkit was published in 2007 and provides detailed guidelines for community leaders to examine zoning, policies, incentives and other regulations that influence development. The toolkit is free and available to everyone.

These tools can be used to help communities develop their own assessments and strategic plans related to growth. Read on to find out more about the available tools.

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Upcoming Webinar: Brownfields Redevelopment, Community Revitalization, and Regional Planning: Making It Work Together

Join us Tuesday, October 25th at 4:00 PM ET for the next Sustainable Communities Network webinar: “Brownfields Redevelopment, Community Revitalization, and Regional Planning: Making It Work Together.” This event is hosted by Smart Growth America and NALGEP.

We will hear from the Environmental Protection Agency on how the federal government is working to streamline investments in community brownfield redevelopment and regional planning efforts, particularly through the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities. We then will hear the stories and lessons learned from a community in West Virginia already working on brownfield cleanup in conjunction with other economic development projects.

Speakers include Adhir Kackar and Stacy Swartwood from the EPA; and Dawn Seeburger, Environmental Resources & Consulting who is currently working on brownfields issues in Ranson.

What: “Brownfields Redevelopment, Community Revitalization, and Regional Planning: Making It Work Together”
When: Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 at 4:00 PM ET
Where: Webinar information will be sent to registrants
RSVP: Click here to register


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Smart growth news – September 22

Select Cities See Brain Gain
Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2011
Despite a decade of technological advances that make it possible to work almost anywhere, many of the nation’s most educated people continue to cluster in a handful of dominant metropolitan areas such as Boston, New York and California’s Silicon Valley, according to census data released Thursday.

Which Is America’s Best City?
Business Week, September 20
Ask most people which city they would most want to live in and usually their answers would be shaped by such realities as proximity to their jobs and what they can afford. But suppose you could choose to live anywhere you wanted regardless of cost? What if you could live in a city that offered a wealth of culture, entertainment, good schools, low crime, and plenty of green space? Many people might opt for obvious choices such as New York or San Francisco, but great as they are, data reveal other cities are even better.

Cleveland and Cincinnati among poorest big cities
Houston Chronicle, September 22, 2011
A new census report shows two out of the 10 poorest big cities in the U.S. are in Ohio. The American Community Survey released Thursday shows Cleveland has a 34 percent poverty rate. That makes it the No. 3 poorest city with a population of 200,000 or more, behind Detroit and San Bernardino, Calif.

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Smart growth news – September 16

The Case for a D.C.-Baltimore Mega-Region
Atlantic Cities, September 16, 2011
Last Friday, Maryland released the latest draft of PlanMaryland, the state’s ambitious effort “to encourage smart growth and to discourage sprawl.” The new draft takes into account comments received since the previous version, which was released in April. It makes a compelling case for developing Maryland into higher density residential pockets strategically placed along established lines of road, transit, and water infrastructure. If it succeeds, Maryland circa 2035 will be dominated by a strong orange-red D.C.-Baltimore mega-region.

Philadelphia plan aims high for vitality, resilience
NRDC Switchboard, September 16, 2011
Earlier this year, the city adopted the first key phase of the plan, a “Citywide Vision” that stresses such important topics as efficient transportation and connectivity, parks and open space, diverse and authentic neighborhoods, and taking advantage of legacy industrial areas ripe for redevelopment.

‘Slice of Saugatuck’ highlights neighborhood’s resilience
Westport News (Conn.), September 15, 2011
“We wanted to bring a neighborhood and village feel back to Saugatuck,” said Gault President Sam Gault. “The vision was to have a true smart-growth, mixed-use project where you have people working and utilizing the retail shops as well as people living there.”

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“Regional Planning with Peter Calthorpe” webinar materials now available online

Is your agency or organization looking to start or advance a regional plan? In this latest webinar from the Sustainable Communities Network, award-winning planner Peter Calthorpe shares advice on how to begin, implement and successfully navigate the regional planning process, and ideas about how to leverage regions’ unique qualities to meet fiscal goals, land use challenges and transportation needs.

Listen in: Click here to view the archived webinar

Peter Calthorpe has over 30 years of experience in the field and is known for such successful projects as Envision Utah. His most recent book, Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change, documents new work and analysis relating patterns of development to energy and carbon consumption, along with other environmental, social and economic impacts.

Want to know about webinars like this one before they happen? Join the Sustainable Communities Network, an online community of state and local government officials, business leaders and non-profit professionals interested in the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The Network provides opportunities to ask questions, learn best practices and share ideas with others from around the country. The Network also shares updates about federal initiatives, upcoming events, webinars and conferences to support vibrant, sustainable communities. Click here to subscribe.

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Video: Planning for growth in the Northeast

Smart Growth America’s coalition partner Regional Plan Association works on plans and policies to accommodate and encourage future growth in the Northeast corridor. The Northeast has a number of unique features and challenges, but the Regional Plan Association’s work is exemplary of how regions across the country can identify future growth and transportation challenges and work now to find solutions.

For the Northeast, RPA explains, building a high speed rail network in the region could avert imminent transportation problems. The region is projected to gain 18 million new residents over the next generation but roads connecting towns and cities in the region are already congested. High speed rail could better connect residents and businesses in the area and that doesn’t just mean less traffic: it means a stronger regional economy and better opportunities for economic growth:

In particular, U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, 3rd District of Connecticut, explained the economic boost such a system would bring to her area:

When we begin to connect cities and rural areas – cities like New York, New Haven, Providence, Boston – what you are doing is producing economic growth and economic competitiveness…It is the direction we ought to be moving in in order to look at job growth, competitiveness, economic development, and a key to our economic future.

High speed rail has been controversial in some places, but many of the arguments in this video apply to transportation options of all kinds, including buses, streetcars or subways. Creating these transportation options means better serving more people, accommodating more travelers in the same space and creating more efficient ways to get between home, jobs and stores. Large or small, every community can use smart growth techniques to give people the freedom to choose how they get around.

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