Tag: Regional Planning

Local leaders discuss engagement and regionalism at Leadership Academy for Sustainable Communities

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Cable car tracks in San Francisco, CA. Image by Prayitno, via Flickr.

Last week in Oakland, CA, Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council hosted a special track for local elected and appointed officials during the Leadership Academy for Sustainable Communities. Organized by the Institute for Sustainable Communities and sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the three-day workshop emphasized implementation strategies for recently completed regional sustainability plans. One dozen communities sent teams to the event, including local leaders seeking to help their communities achieve the visions outlined in their sustainability plans.

The Local Leaders Council–hosted track focused on developing an effective policy agenda that supports regional vision, building coalitions and partnerships to help move that vision forward, and talking publically about sustainability and infrastructure issues in ways that highlight local priorities. One of the primary takeaways was the need for a big-tent approach.

“Establishing a relationship with everybody, no matter what side of the aisle they’re on, is an important step in the process,” said Commissioner Yousef Rabhi of Washtenaw County, MI. Leaders in the room agreed that working toward a joint regional vision requires going beyond partisan thinking and keeping focused on positive, relatable economic and quality-of-life goals.

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Spotlight on Sustainability: South Central Kansas plans for a sustainable future

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Historically, local jurisdictions in South Central Kansas often competed against each other for jobs and economic growth. But thanks to a Regional Planning grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), they can now focus on working together on collective vision for their future development, instead of competing with one another.

Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, is the population and economic center of the South Central Kansas region; a region that includes Butler, Harvey, Reno, Sedgwick and Sumner counties. In February 2012, the region’s council of governments, the Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP), received a three year, $1.5 million grant from HUD to create a long-term regional plan for ensuring the health and productivity of the local economy – a plan now known as the South Central Kansas Prosperity Plan.

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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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