Tag: Sprawl

Smart growth news – November 22

A land bank helped Flint, Michigan, expert says, and could help New York cities, too
The Business Review (N.Y.), November 22, 2011
Daniel T. Kildee, founder of the Genesee County Land Bank in Michigan, told a group of about 80 public and private sector officials in Albany, New York, that land banks can help local counties, cities and towns make better use of tax-foreclosed properties.

Valley gets $3.4 million to study development
The Morning Call (Pa.), November 21, 2011
Developers have long tried to lure commute-weary homebuyers with signs that say “If you lived here you’d be home by now.” A consortium of Lehigh Valley planning groups has been awarded $3.4 million by the federal government to try to make that dream — of living closer to work and enjoying an improved quality of life — reachable for more people.

N.J. gets $5 million HUD grant for regional planning
The Star-Ledger (N.J.), November 21, 2011
Federal officials today awarded New Jersey a $5 million grant to develop regional economic plans for 13 northern counties to attract businesses and jobs to areas with solid residential communities and good transportation systems.

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Smart growth news – November 15

Tech firms give downtown a new vibe
Northern Nevada Business Weekly, November 14, 2011
A handful of businesses are slowly changing the perception of downtown Reno. Longtime Reno residents still can call up images of gamblers walking Virginia Street cradling buckets of quarters and nickels. That image is changing as a growing number of software development and technical-services companies take downtown office space.

Add education to Zappos’ downtown investment forays
Las Vegas Sun, November 10, 2011
Hsieh (pronounced “shay”) said he was drawn to the program for several reasons, including a hope that the teachers will consider working and living downtown, where the company will move its headquarters in 2013. “We are excited about our partnership with Teach For America as well as the opportunity to help bring more energy and passion to downtown Las Vegas,” Hsieh said.

Baltimore-Washington region’s aging infrastructure a roadblock to growth
The Gazette (Md.), November 11, 2011
From both the public and private sectors come calls for more mass transit, including rapid bus transit. For Montgomery County, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s recommendations include expanding transit, bike paths and sidewalks “to achieve more sustainable, less congested communities.” The commission also recommends “building future homes near transit [to] create more opportunities for people to avoid driving.”

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Smart growth news – November 7

Sprawl’s spread speeds up
Sacramento Bee, November 7, 2011
Goodbye, farm. Hello, subdivision. Despite talk of smart growth, urban Sacramento didn’t check its sprawl in the past 10 years, but ballooned instead, spreading out at a faster pace than in decades past, according to a Bee analysis of new census figures.

U.S. House Likely to Address Infrastructure Bill by Year-End, Boehner Says
Bloomberg, November 6, 2011
“You’re going to see the House move, I think, before the end of the year on an infrastructure bill,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said on ABC’s “This Week.” Boehner said last week the House will consider legislation to finance infrastructure construction, in part, by expanding energy production.

Dan Gilbert’s development blueprint for Cleveland looks similar to Detroit’s
Detroit Free Press, November 6, 2011
If you think Quicken Loans founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert is having an impact on downtown Detroit, you ought to see what he’s doing in Cleveland. Since Gilbert bought the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team in 2005, he has renovated Cleveland’s renamed Quicken Loans Arena (The Q), opened a mortgage banking center that now employs 300, built a $25-million practice facility for the Cavs, and is deep into construction for a $350-million Phase I of his future Horseshoe Casino in a former department store downtown, with a 16-acre new casino to follow in a few years. Gilbert’s investments in and around downtown Cleveland will total close to $1 billion.

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Smart growth news – October 31

San Jose’s updated general plan emphasizes ‘smart growth,’ healthier communities
San Jose Mercury (Calif.), October 31, 2011
Called Envision San Jose 2040, the city’s fourth general plan since the mid-1970s is the community’s land-use constitution. The report lays out a long-term vision for the amount, type and phasing of development needed to meet the city’s social, economic and environmental goals. … For many, he said, it’s not having to drive as much. Horwedel and other planners envision “urban villages” closer to where San Jose residents live that offer a variety of ways to live, work, shop and play all at one location.

Suburban plight for poor
The Buffalo News (N.Y.), October 30, 2011
Buffalo may be one of the poorest cities in America, but a majority of the region’s poor now live in suburbia. Of the 159,000 people in the region living below the poverty line, more than half — 52 percent — reside in the suburbs of Erie and Niagara counties, according to an analysis of 2010 census data by a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

What’s up downtown?
The Roanoke News (Va.), October 30, 2011
Downtown Roanoke has seen its population surge from fewer than 50 residents in 2000 to more than 600 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The arrival of new businesses and the expansion of the Jefferson College of Health Sciences show the need for more downtown living spaces, more retail and more office space, Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill said.

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Smart growth news – October 21

Smaller is more beautiful
The Economist, October 22, 2011
Flint is in the middle of developing a 20-year master plan, the first since Jack Kennedy was in the White House. The old thinking was to sell tax-foreclosed property to whomever, even speculators. The new thinking is that land is an asset for the city. Since its creation in 2002, the Genesee County Land Bank has had the power to take control of and to redevelop vacant, abandoned or tax-delinquent properties.

Social Security office moving to high-visibility location
The Anniston Star (Ala.), October 20, 2011
A high-profile strip mall on Quintard Avenue at Eighth Street will be getting a facelift from a new tenant set to move in after the first of the year, and city officials hope the whole downtown core will benefit. The Social Security Administration will be moving to 801 Quintard from its current 13th Street office, where it’s been since 1967. The Quintard address had previously been occupied by Advance Auto Parts but has been empty for about five years.

Sprawl not part of plan for jobs
Albany Times Union (N.Y.), October 20, 2011
If we’re going to grow, let’s not sprawl. That’s the message from the Capital Region Economic Development Council, which is moving forward on a five-year strategic plan for the greater eight-county area Hudson Valley region. Part of its draft plan would require new projects to conform to “smart growth” criteria adopted last year by the state.

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Smart growth news – October 20

Christie announces new state plan that focuses on business and job creation
NewJerseyNewsroom.com, October 19, 2011
The plan also calls for “effective planning for “vibrant regions,” including areas designated as “Priority Growth Investment Areas” where an effort would be made to promote urban areas with access to quality education, housing, public transportation and infrastructure, parks and recreation.

Administration Wants to Shelve Smart Growth Map
NJ Spotlight, October 20, 2011
The Christie administration is proposing a radical overhaul of the State Plan, a blueprint state officials devoted years trying to achieve, mostly unsuccessfully, by steering growth to established urban and suburban areas and away from open space and farmlands.

So happy together
The Economist’s Free Exchange blog, October 19, 2011
Taken together the data are suggestive of a recovery in housing driven by renters. This isn’t entirely surprising. New home construction has been at record low levels for several years now, amounting to a shortfall in construction far bigger than the deviation above trend from 2002 to 2006. Meanwhile, America’s population has kept on growing. This mismatch has begun to translate into falling rental vacancies and rent increases, which has in turn generated an small but growing upswing in construction of multifamily housing.

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Smart growth news – October 7

GOP takes aim at Smart Growth requirement
The Capital Times (Wis.), October 7, 2011
Republicans are seeking to undo Wisconsin’s “Smart Growth” initiative by allowing communities to opt out of the land-use planning law and eliminating the grant program that helped fund it.

Why a Fix-It-First Policy is Critical in Transportation Investments
NRDC Switchboard, October 6, 2011
A 2011 report from Smart Growth America found that states spent more than half their highway funds on building new roads – and less than half the pie went to maintaining the existing 99% of roads.

Administration Moves to Make It Tougher to Keep Sprawl in Check
NJ Spotlight, October 7, 2011
The Christie administration is moving to repeal an anti-sprawl measure that sought to discourage growth in undeveloped areas by imposing the cost of extending utility services on the developer or customers served by the extension.

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Smart growth news – October 6

Big-box development on outskirts of Woodland leaves downtown in decline
Sacramento Bee, October 6, 2011
Proud and provincial, Woodland was once a compact square surrounded by some of the state’s richest farmland. Victorian mansions, stately civic buildings and turn-of-the-century storefronts still line the city’s downtown streets, reminders of its past prosperity as the seat of Yolo County government. But in recent years, the city of 55,000 has struggled to define itself as it grew in an irregular patchwork to the south and east along Interstate 5 and Highway 113.

Planner: Lakeland’s Urban Growth Can Provide More Tax Revenue Than Malls
The Ledger (Fla.), October 5, 2011
City officials need to look downtown for tax revenue rather than sprawling, dense suburban developments. That’s what Peter Katz, director of smart growth/urban planning for Sarasota County, told more than a hundred people at the Downtown Lakeland Partnership’s State of Downtown lunch Wednesday at The Lakeland Center.

Insurer UnitedHealthcare merges into 2 new sites
Arizona Republic, October 5, 2011
Jones said UnitedHealthcare’s move was planned to help Phoenix bolster its downtown economy. “It also was an opportunity to consolidate our team and help with some efficiencies,” Jones said.

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Smart growth news – October 4

Build communities around people and their needs
The Grand Rapids Press (Mich.), October 4, 2011
Dan Gilmartin, the executive director and chief executive of the Michigan Municipal League, advocates building communities around people as a means of economic prosperity and sustainability. The league, headquartered in downtown Lansing, is bringing about 500 people to Grand Rapids this week to discuss issues facing municipalities and how to lead the state out of the doldrums.

Study: Transit Ridership Up in 2011
Transportation Nation, October 3, 2011
Transit ridership increased by 85.7 million trips, or 1.7 percent nationwide, in the first six months of 2011, according to a report released today by the American Public Transit Association, the pro-transit lobbying group.

Montgomery legislators to vote on controversial development proposal
Washington Post, October 3, 2011
The plan would help create a string of small, walkable cities in traditionally suburban areas where the county wants mass transit. Supporters say it could usher in a new era of more coordinated growth.

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Smart growth news – September 8

Culture change or fad? Twin Cities population shifts toward central core
Finance & Commerce (Minn.), September 7, 2011
All that talk in recent years about “transit-oriented” and “mixed-use” developments appears to be more than just talk: Regional planners now have the data to back it up. Planners for the Metropolitan Council released the information, which points to a statistically significant trend of more people in the seven-county metro region moving closer to the central core of cities and to more accessible transit options in higher-density areas. The land-use data also project a fast acceleration of the shift in the next 20 years.

Behind President Obama’s Call For More Infrastructure Projects
Streetsblog, September 7, 2011
Considering that politicians, including Obama, are looking to infrastructure as a job creator, they’d be wise to reassess those spending priorities. A Smart Growth America report earlier this year showed that stimulus-funded public transportation projects created 19,299 jobs per billion dollars spent, where the stimulus road projects created just 10,493 jobs for the same money.

MIT’s Free Urban Planning Software Will Help Build The Cities Of The Future
Fast Company, September 7, 2011
If we are to improve the quality of life in our cities–27 of which are expected to have more than 10 million people by 2020–we will have to find a better way to build them. MIT’s new software will help.

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