Tag: Revitalization

Smart growth news – December 7

Walkable Neighborhoods Gaining Popularity — Even in the Suburbs
Huffington Post, December 6, 2011
Last week, my colleague Chris Leinberger wrote a provocative op-ed in the New York Times titled “The Death of the Fringe Suburb.” Leinberger, who is president of LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, which is a project of Smart Growth America, highlighted the convergence of a number of factors in heralding the decline of far flung, auto-dependant exurbs. Rising gas prices, demographic changes, and shifting consumer preferences have all made these areas less attractive to homebuyers — a fact reflected in the financial troubles and foreclosure crises many of these communities face.

What the 2012 TED Prize Means for ‘The City 2.0’
Atlantic Cities, December 7, 2011
The organization behind the high-profile uber-conference TED has announced an unusual winner for the 2012 iteration of its TED Prize. The award is formally presented at the annual TED conference in February, when the winner announces his or her “wish” – a project that builds off the $100,000 prize money and the enthusiasm of the TED community to participate in somehow making the world a better place. This year’s winner, though, is a little different. It’s not a person, but rather an idea – and a big one: The City 2.0.

House, Senate Not Likely to Agree on Long-Term Transportation Bill This Year
Nation’s Cities Weekly, December 5, 2011
In remarks at a transportation meeting in Washington, D.C., last week, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) announced that the House would not move on a long-term surface transportation bill before the end of the year. Mica cited the lack of time on the House calendar as the reason for the delay after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had promised to pass a transportation bill before the end of the year. The current short-term extension of federal transportation programs expires in March 2012.

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Smart growth news – November 16

Congress strikes 2012 budget deal for some agencies
Federal Times, November 15, 2011
House and Senate negotiators have struck a deal on the 2012 budgets for five Cabinet-level departments, as well as NASA and a number of smaller agencies. The measure also would extend short-term funding for other agencies until Dec. 16 at close to last year’s levels. An existing continuing resolution expires Friday, meaning the new measure must pass before then to avert a partial government shutdown. Besides NASA, the $128 billion bill covers the Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments.

A Kentucky City Reinvents a Faded Downtown
New York Times, November 15, 2011
Like so many other American cities after World War II, Owensboro’s pattern of residential and business development spread out from the downtown core….Of late, though, this city of 57,265 and surrounding Daviess County, where 96,656 people live, have invested in an array of business development initiatives in health care, transportation, education, and tourism and travel that focused on making the city and county more competitive in attracting residents and businesses.

New Urbanism: Comparing Songdo, South Korea to Belmar, United States of America
Forbes, November 15, 2011
I grew up in a small town of 6,000 in northeastern Pennsylvania—a county seat surrounded by dairy farms. We walked to the elementary school, the neighborhood store for a loaf of bread and maybe a soda, and weekly shopping trips downtown–3 blocks from home.

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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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American Jobs Act would revitalize vacant properties with Project Rebuild

ForeclosureSmart Growth America supports President Obama’s call for federal investments that will create jobs, modernize America’s transportation infrastructure and support the country’s economy as part of the American Jobs Act. In particular, Smart Growth America supports Project Rebuild: Putting People Back to Work Rehabilitating Homes, Businesses and Communities, which has been allocated $15 billion under the proposed bill. From the White House’s description of the program:

The bursting of the housing bubble and the Great Recession that followed has left communities across the country with large numbers of foreclosed homes and businesses, which is weighing down property values, increasing blight and crime, and standing in the way of economic recovery. In these same communities there are also large numbers of people looking for work, especially in the construction industry, where more than 1.9 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of the recession in December 2007. The President is proposing Project Rebuild to help address both of these problems by connecting Americans looking for work in distressed communities with the work needed to repair and repurpose residential and commercial properties. Building on successful models piloted through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), Project Rebuild will invest $15 billion in proven strategies that leverage private capital and expertise to rehabilitate hundreds of thousands of properties in communities across the country.


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Smart growth news – August 22

How Anchor Stores Keep Neighborhoods Afloat
NPR, August 20, 2011
When major anchor stores like the Borders bookstore chain close their doors, what happens to the surrounding neighborhoods? Guest host Jacki Lyden talks about urban development issues with Chris Leinberger, who directs the University of Michigan’s real estate graduate studies.

O’Malley, Md. counties begin battle over development plan
Washington Post, August 19, 2011
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and county officials who oppose his plan to curb suburban sprawl fired opening shots Friday in a battle to set a statewide land-use plan that could dramatically affect whether local communities would be eligible to receive state funds for everything from school construction to new roads.

Challenging Baton Rouge
The Advocate (La.), August 22, 2011
The great cities of the 21st century will be well-managed, have an educated population and a sense of vibrancy, Tom Murphy, a former Pittsburgh mayor, said during his opening remarks at the Baton Rouge 2011 Smart Growth Summit.

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Smart growth news – August 3

Cities See the Other Side of the Tracks
New York Times, August 2, 2011
The High Line’s first and second sections cost $153 million, but have generated an estimated $2 billion in new developments. In the five years since construction started on the High Line, 29 new projects have been built or are under way in the neighborhood, according to the New York City Department of City Planning. More than 2,500 new residential units, 1,000 hotel rooms and over 500,000 square feet of office and art gallery space have gone up.

Bike share program coming to downtown areas of Oklahoma City
The Oklahoman, August 3, 2011
A bike share program like those embraced in other cities will be started later this year in downtown Oklahoma City. Such programs have “stations” where bicycles are checked in and out with a deposit placed on one’s credit card. A nominal charge is sometimes paid for use of the bicycles; final details of the downtown arrangements are pending negotiation of a vendor contract.

Residents fill long-empty Tempe tower
Arizona Republic, August 2, 2011
“They’ve taken an eyesore and turned it into an icon,” Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said of Zaremba finishing Tower 1 within six months of buying the property.

America’s Top Public Transportation Cities
Forbes’ The Jungle blog, August 1, 2011
To determine America’s top public transportation cities, we looked at estimates of the percent of workers 16 years of age or older who traveled from their community to work by public transportation from 2005 to 2009, provided in the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey.

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Grants will help revitalize communities through art

How exactly do art and smart growth fit together? The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) found a way to use art to help build great communities.

NEA recently announced its inaugural “Our Town” grants. Find out how they will help 51 communities reclaim their downtowns and revitalize their neighborhoods through art and smart growth strategies.


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Smart growth news – June 28, 2011

The Atlantic Looks for New Audience with Cities Site
Ad Week, June 27, 2011
The Atlantic, whose online push was key to getting the brand into the black last year, is launching another major expansion online, but with a new tack. In a first for the magazine, TheAtlanticCities.com is launching as a single-topic, standalone site. Coming in September, the site also is a departure in that it will be centered around Richard Florida, an urban studies expert who comes from an academic rather than a journalism background. Florida is the author of The Rise of the Creative Class, among other titles, and has a longstanding relationship with the magazine and its offshoots.

Sinking G.O.P. Poll Numbers May Put Florida in Play
New York Times, June 27, 2011
Mr. Scott’s unpopularity is mostly rooted in his aggressive push for large cuts in the budget and the public-sector work force, his decision to reject $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail project, and the dismissive and even abrasive way he deals with those who disagree with him or ask a lot of questions.

Housing vouchers a golden ticket to pricey suburbs
Washington Post, June 25, 2011
“There goes the neighborhood,” one homeowner said when she heard that her potential new neighbor had a federal housing voucher known as a Section 8. But Jackson could well be Pinebrook’s salvation, a means by which landlords can rent an empty, crime-magnet of a house to a tenant with a steady, government-backed check.

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EPA announces $76 million in grants to assess and clean up brownfields

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced a new series of investments to assess and clean up abandoned industrial and commercial properties across the country. Brownfield grants can serve as vital tools for struggling communities looking to revitalize by providing some of the resources necessary to redevelop contaminated properties, create jobs, and spur local economic growth. This round of EPA grants will include more than $76 million in funds distributed to a number of innovative efforts in communities in 40 states.

The Tamiami Trail Initiative in western Florida is one of these efforts. The Tamiami Trail Scenic Highway (US Highway 41) runs through Sarasota and Manatee counties and is plagued by more than 500 petroleum brownfields and a number of other contaminated properties. The revitalization initiative, which started in 2009, has brought together a diverse group of stakeholders – including government, nonprofits, business groups, environmental consultants, property owners, and community members – to inventory and cleanup petroleum sites along the corridor and help spur economic development opportunities in the process.

EPA has awarded the Sarasota/Manatee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) $1,000,000 to help continue the cleanup and revitalization work already underway along the route.

The Tamiami Trail Initiative is part of a growing trend among communities across the country using a corridor-wide approach to redevelop abandoned and vacant properties contaminated by petroleum and other hazardous chemicals. By planning to remediate a cluster of sites along a given transportation corridor – rather than one at a time – communities like those along the Tamiami Trail are able to create an economy of scale that helps leverage resources and overcome many of the barriers associated with smaller scale revitalization efforts.

For more information about the Tamiami Trail or brownfield grants and revitalization projects, visit EPA.gov.

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Ohio Looks to Pilot Area-Wide Brownfield Program

Last month, the State of Ohio took some important steps to support localities looking for better ways to redevelop abandoned gas stations and other contaminated land in their communities. Ohio officials met with community-based organizations from across the state to discuss starting a pilot state area-wide planning program that could kickoff as early as this summer.

Area-wide planning is a smart growth strategy that helps communities understand the combined impact of multiple brownfield sites. By looking at vacant and contaminates sites as a connected whole, rather than in isolation, communities can better plan for housing, transportation and infrastructure projects that support the entire community. An area-wide approach can help foster a new vision for communities impacted by brownfields and support the revitalization of all of the properties there. This is particularly useful for some sites, like abandoned gas stations, which may be more difficult to redevelop individually because of their smaller size.

Recognizing the benefits of this process, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched an Area-Wide Planning Pilot Program last year, which will provide the 23 communities selected for assistance with financial and technical support to implement area-wide planning strategies to revitalize the empty gas stations, closed landfills and abandoned factories inhibiting investment in their neighborhoods.

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