Governor Glendening to be keynote speaker at APA Idaho Annual Conference

On October 10-12, the Idaho chapter of the American Planning Association will host its 2012 Annual Conference in Boise, ID. Parris Glendening, President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute and of the Governors’ Institute on Community Design will provide the keynote address. As President of the Governors’ Institute, Glendening works with state leaders across the … Continued


Partnership in the News: Downtown Memphis to receive $5.6M more for development

The Main Street to Main Street Multimodal Connector project, a joint regional project between Arkansas and Tennessee, has recently shifted its funding, with $5.6M more going towards Memphis’ downtown development. The money is being re-allocated from Arkansas’ portion of the project.

The money is being provided by the Department of Transportation through a fourth-round of TIGER grants.

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) lobbied for the funding, saying “The $5.6 million in funds being redirected to Downtown Memphis will play an important role in revitalizing downtown,” after the change had been approved.


Smart growth stories: Local planning for global competitiveness in Carmel, IN

A snapshot of Carmel’s City Center. Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s office.

Carmel, IN wasn’t always the best place to live. As a suburb contiguous to Indianapolis, it faced the same challenges to development that many suburbs near large cities confront.

However, under the leadership of Mayor Jim Brainard, Carmel has managed to become the kind of place that appeals to families and businesses alike. By anchoring its redevelopment efforts around an Arts & Business District and a City Center, Carmel has found a way to boost economic development while bettering quality of life.

“We had to figure out how we were going to compete,” Brainard says. “We realized that if we wanted to succeed, we had to make Carmel a place that the best and brightest – from around the country and around the world – would want to live in. And we had to do it through the built environment.”


Partnership in the News: Secretary LaHood visits TIGER-funded Spokane site

On the afternoon of August 23, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA., visited Spokane County, WA to tour the construction being done on the U.S.-395 North Spokane Corridor.

This project is ongoing, funded by a DOT TIGER grant and about halfway completed, and has also recently received another $10m TIGER grant to continue construction, totaling $45m in grants thus far.

LaHood also took the opportunity to announce a new national Freight Policy Board, with the hope of double American exports within three years.


Partnership in the News: The Partnership celebrates its third anniversary

On August 29, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities celebrated its third anniversary in Atlanta, GA, with officials from the DOT, EPA, and HUD in attendance.

Speaking about the great help that the Partnership has been to the city of Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed said,

“This partnership has allowed us to do the kind of essential projects that invest directly in our neighborhoods, reduce transportation costs for our families, [and] improve affordability for housing.”


Smart growth stories: Growth that benefits all residents on Greenville, SC’s West Side

A view of the Reedy River from downtown Greenville. Photo courtesy of Walter Ezell.

Greenville, South Carolina’s West Side is growing rapidly, and planners in the city are using a comprehensive plan to make sure that growth creates better neighborhoods for all the area’s residents.

Currently, the West Side is a cluster of low- to moderate-income neighborhoods adjacent to Greenville’s downtown. Planners from the City of Greenville are considering a number of different strategies to better link the West Side with the rest of the city, while still ensuring that current residents can reap the benefits of the growth that will ensue.

“The West Side is adjacent to downtown so it has a lot of potential,” says Greenville planner Wayne Leftwich. “Growth is heading this way, with a lot of interest from potential developers in this area, and we want to make sure that when these things happen, they’re not disconnected from current residents.”

City planners are bringing concerted planning to the West Side’s robust growth, and are working to ensure that new development meets the needs of as many residents as possible. To achieve that goal, planners are developing a comprehensive plan for the West Side and its three main commercial corridors.

“We are thinking about the potential for revitalization and economic development, because the West Side neighborhoods are not as viable as they could be,” Leftwich says. “Our hope for the plan is to look at how we can make connections between the neighborhoods in this area, but also with the rest of the city.”


Smart Growth America – September 11, 2012

Top stories:

State DOTs, Smart Growth Group Highlight How to Stretch Transportation Funds
Governing – September 10, 2012
A group of state Department of Transportation directors has teamed up with the smart growth movement to release a new best-practices report that offers recommendations and case studies on how to stretch limited transportation dollars.

“Walkable urban” places enjoy economic success, but face social equity challenges
Greater Greater Washington – September 10, 2012
After decades of disinvestment and suburban flight, the Washington region’s urban neighborhoods are now driving the local economy, says a study from George Washington University professor Christopher Leinberger. However, ensuring that everyone can participate in these communities will be a top challenge for the future.

FHWA Offers a Guide for American Cities and Towns Considering Bike-Share
Streetsblog – September 10, 2012
The Federal Highway Administration has come out with a handy report for communities thinking about getting into the bike-sharing game. Based on a study of 12 planned and existing bike-sharing systems from around the U.S., the report is intended to help explain the basics of bike-share and guide cities through the choices they’ll face when launching a system.


Smart growth stories: Michael Lander on changing markets and transit-oriented development in Minnesota

To give people the kind of in-demand housing they want near jobs, shops and schools, America needs to invest in a diversity of transportation options and make it easier to build transit-oriented development, says Michael Lander of the Lander Group, an urban development firm based in Minneapolis, MN.

Helping meet that pent up demand won’t just be good for Lander’s bottom line, but will also enhance the quality of life for prospective residents in these new transportation-rich neighborhoods.

“High-density development really doesn’t work relying totally on single occupancy vehicles, so creating new transportation options and other ways to move around is critical to creating good urban places,” Lander says, adding that, “Our urban residents are looking for green spaces, certainly, open space, transportation connections, [and] ways to move around in their life to work and to services without using their car.”

With the successful opening of the Hiawatha light rail line last year, which connected downtown Minneapolis with the airport, as well as the nearly completed Central Corridor line between Minneapolis and St. Paul, Lander says there is a real opportunity in Minnesota to reap the benefits of transit-oriented development. And when that development takes root, many more local businesses and property owners will benefit from added sales and a greater “sense of place.”

Local Leaders Council LOCUS

Spotlight on Sustainability: Planning for a self-sufficient Grand Traverse County, Michigan

Located in northwest Michigan and with a population of about 90,000 people, Grand Traverse County boasts a host of natural amenities and idyllic Great Lakes beauty. But like most places across the country, it has faced an economic slowdown in recent years.

Unlike most other places, though, the communities and local governments in the area decided to take advantage of the recession, using it as a chance to pause and assess what residents wanted for the future. That unique, forward-thinking perspective has helped Grand Traverse County create a vision for the region as a whole moving forward.

Coming out of an extended phase in which its local governments and planning commissions simply tried to manage growth, Grand Traverse County sought to create a system that would better account for expected development and direct it toward shared County goals. With the input of tens of thousands of the public gathered through surveys, public meetings, and discussions, the Grand Vision was born. Encompassing six priorities –transportation, growth and investment, housing, food and farming, sustainable energy, and natural resources – the Grand Vision is a commitment from local organizations and people to move towards a shared plan for the region.


Smart Growth America and TDOT: Mapping out Tennessee's transportation future

Photo courtesy of Flickr user jimmywayne.

On August 21, Smart Growth America and the Tennessee Department of Transportation released Removing Barriers to Smarter Transportation Investments, a detailed policy analysis of Tennessee’s transportation infrastructure and projects.

Tennessee’s leaders are already looking to the document for guidance. “We now have a road map to a better transportation program that will promote job growth, stronger communities and a cleaner environment while using tax dollars more wisely,” Trip Pollard and Anne Davis, both of the Southern Environmental Law Center, wrote in an op-ed in The Tennesseean.

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