Tag: sustainability

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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Mayor Ruth Randleman on creating prosperous, livable, and fiscally responsible communities

Carlise, IA
Fourth of July in Carlisle, IA. Photo by the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce.

This post was originally published on The Tomorrow Plan Exchange, a community forum for discussing, sharing ideas, and imagining a more sustainable tomorrow for Greater Des Moines. The post was authored by Ruth Randleman, the Mayor of Carlisle, IA, a member of The Tomorrow Plan’s Steering Committee and an Advisory Board member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council.

As a member of The Tomorrow Plan Steering Committee, and as a mayor of a metropolitan area community that is addressing the issues required to move a community forward, I hope to add a perspective from an “on the ground” and “in the trenches” view on the often misunderstood and overused terms of “smart growth” and “sustainability.”

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American Sustainability: What I Learned From My 80-Year-Old Father

My father turned 80 last month. For a birthday present he asked his children to let him know what they learned from him. I have been thinking about this as I travel the country talking about sustainability, smart growth and the importance of planning for the future. Where did my commitment to sustainability, smart growth, whatever, come from?

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Madison, WI

Unsustainable growth, lack of economic opportunities, community health concerns, and loss of natural resources—these are issues facing cities and towns across the country, and Madison, Wisconsin is no exception. But, regional planning organizations in the Greater Madison area are now attempting to confront these endemic issues in a strategic and sustainable way that utilizes Madison’s strengths rather than allowing its weaknesses to be barriers to an effective response.

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Smart growth news – January 25, 2012

SGA in the News:

Anderson: Address the Housing Crisis’s Underlying Issues
Roll Call – January 25, 2012

In rebuilding our economy, lawmakers and the administration must take a concerted look at where America is going, with market demand and community support as the key indicators. Comprehensive housing and real estate finance policy change is the only solution that will promote economic recovery and enable the creation of great neighborhoods nationwide.

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Local Sustainability Matching Fund Announced

The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth, in partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Fund, announces the launch of the Local Sustainability Matching Fund.

The purpose of the Matching Fund is to catalyze partnerships between local government (city or county) sustainability directors and local, place-based foundations to advance important community-based sustainability initiatives. The Matching Fund is intended both to support significant urban sustainability projects and to build bridges between public sector sustainability leaders and local foundations. The Fund will provide matching investments from national foundations on a competitive basis to build partnerships between sustainability directors and local place-based foundations to advance discrete sustainability initiatives that demonstrate broad-based community support and engagement.


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Spotlight on Sustainability: Thurston County, Washington

The following is based on an interview with Kathy McCormick, Senior Planner for the Thurston Regional Planning Council.

When the state of Washington adopted a Growth Management Act in 1990, local jurisdictions set about creating Comprehensive Plans; soliciting public participation in the process. Thurston County was one of them. Now, in the twenty-plus years since that piece of legislation was enacted, the region has grown by over 100,000 people, making it one of the fastest growing counties in the state. “We have a great foundation in the plans that exist from the 90s,” says Kathy McCormick, Senior Planner for the Thurston Regional Planning Council, “But, how can we continue to grow if people don’t know about those plans and how can we address the needs of a changing population if we don’t know what those needs are?” Over two decades later, the region is getting the chance to revisit those issues.

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Smart growth news – September 13

How to Build a Greener City
Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2011
It wasn’t long ago that the idea of using “green” and “city” in the same sentence seemed absurd. Cities were considered a blight on the environment: energy-hogging, pollution-spewing, garbage-producing environmental hellholes. But in recent years, they’ve begun to be seen as models of green virtue. City dwellers tend to walk more and drive less than their suburban counterparts, and dense urban development encourages transit use. Apartment living generally means lower per-household energy use. Building on these strengths, planners and developers are devising innovative solutions to meet urbanites’ energy, water, transportation and sanitation needs well into the future.

Re-Imagining NYC at the Urban Design Week Festival
WNYC, September 12, 2011
Picture a city road that recycles rain water or a pedestrian haven below Canal Street. These are some of the concepts that are on the table for the first-ever Urban Design Week Festival, which starts on Monday. With talks, panel discussions and brainstorming sessions, the festival’s organizers hope to join the ideas of New Yorkers with the vision and planning of urban designers and architects.

Don’t Subsidize Big Boxes at Local Shops’ Expense
Business Week, September 9, 2011
When governments use public money to woo national chains, economic growth and job creation are negligible. Independent retailers also suffer.

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Taking a Step for Earth Day: Replacing Our Roads

Earth Day celebrations in the popular media tend to focus on individual actions, yet we all know that a more sustainable future depends on bigger, cooperative actions such as building Complete Streets.

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Congressional offices announce some TIGER II awards in advance of official release

Exciting Assignment – Light Rail!, originally uploaded by Daniel Greene. In advance of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s official announcement anticipated this week, news is already beginning to spread of towns and cities that have been awarded TIGER II construction …

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