The Environmental and Economic Impacts of Brownfields Redevelopment

This report by Evans Paull of the Northeast-Midwest Institute, “seeks to summarize established quantifiable impacts of brownfields redevelopment in the areas of environmental, economic, community, and fiscal effects. The approach is primarily a literature review. The author has relied on existing research, which has been assembled, compared, and analyzed in order to highlight the most relevant data and reconcile different findings.”


Final Bush Budget Leaves Leadership to Next President

Budget 09: Domestic cuts continue
Prepared for Smart Growth America by Advocacy Associates

President Bush has submitted to Congress the final budget proposal of his administration. The $3.1 trillion plan essentially freezes overall non-defense domestic discretionary spending with many key community development programs targeted for significant cuts in funding.

The budget proposal once again calls for a number of planning and community-related programs to be either restructured or eliminated. Many of these ideas have been previously rejected by Congress. For example, this is the fourth consecutive budget which has recommended an overhaul of the Community Development Block Grant program. The budget also recommends using transit funds to fill a projected gap in the highway trust fund.


Driven to the Brink: How the Gas Price Spike Popped the Housing Bubble and Devalued the Suburbs

This white paper by CEOs for Cities argues that, “the collapse of America’s housing bubble—and its reverberations in financial markets—has obscured a tectonic shift in housing demand. Although housing prices are in decline almost everywhere, price declines are generally far more severe in far-flung suburbs and in metropolitan areas with weak close-in neighborhoods. The reason for this shift is rooted in the dramatic increase in gas prices over the past five years. Housing in cities and neighborhoods that require lengthy commutes and provide few transportation alternatives to the private vehicle are falling in value more precipitously than in more central, compact and accessible places.”


2007 Accomplishments

With the Urban Land Institute, we released Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change, which shows how meeting the demand for conveniently located housing with transportation choices will be key to addressing climate change.

The National Vacant Properties Campaign held its first national conference: Reclaiming Vacant Properties was an overwhelming success. Nearly 700 people rallied together in Pittsburgh to share wisdom and learn how to help their own communities hit hard by vacancy and abandonment.

Along with the Brookings Institution and other partners, we launched the Restoring Prosperity Initiative to bring hope and investment to our older industrial and weak market cities.


Public Transportation’s Contribution to U.S. Greenhouse Gas Reduction

This report by APTA, “answers how much net C02 public transportation is saving in the U.S., how much additional C02 savings are possible if loads are increased, what is the significance of non-public transportation commuter use and what can households do to save more, and finally are there favorable land use impacts that public transportation contributes to the environment and social benefits?”


'Green' Cities: The key to sustainability?

Image from the PlaNYC 2030 Website

In introducing his bold, comprehensive plan for a sustainable New York on Earth Day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed to research showing that New Yorkers already had the lowest per capita carbon emissions in the nation. While most news outlets focused on the controversial idea of congestion pricing for Manhattan below 86th Street, they missed the larger point: Well-planned urbanism is likely to be our best hope for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting oil dependency. Sheryl Eisenberg, a New Yorker who blogs for the Natural Resources Defense Council, explains: “The primary reason is … population density. First, it makes a truly comprehensive public transit system possible. Second, it makes walking and biking emissions-free modes of transportation viable. And third, it keeps home energy use down,” because New Yorkers live in smaller-than-average dwellings, and shared walls are more efficient.”


Tears of gratitude greet the plans for Mississippi Gulf Coast

An essay by SGA’s David Goldberg Going into the Mississippi Renewal Forum, I believed that a measure of skepticism was warranted. The time was compressed, the circumstances extreme, the citizens preoccupied with reordering and rebuilding their lives. The goal of creating redevelopment plans for a stretch of coast including 11 communities in just one week … Continued


Katrina: A watershed for a nation and a movement

An essay by SGA’s David Goldberg

There’s something about an event such as Katrina’s devastation of the Gulf coast region that tempts hyperbole.

Just as we fell into the habit of repeating to ourselves that “September 11 changed everything” – though less may have changed than was warranted — it is hard now to believe that we’ll ever go back to the level of complacency that characterized our lives before Katrina.

Yet to my mind, there can be no doubt that this is – or ought to be — a watershed moment for our movement.