Applications are now open for our 2017 free technical assistance

Is your city interested in smart growth, but not sure how to make it happen? Bring in the development experts with one of Smart Growth America’s 2017 free technical assistance workshops. Each year Smart Growth America offers a limited number of free workshops to help local leaders and residents make their communities more livable, sustainable, … Continued

USDOT wants to make it easier to find funding for innovative transportation projects

build-america-bureauTransportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at the launch of the Build America Bureau last month. Photo via USDOT.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) offers a number of different grant and loan programs for innovative transportation projects. But navigating the application process for these programs—or even knowing exactly what types of projects are eligible under each one—can be complicated.

To help cities and state navigate and better utilize all these programs, last month USDOT launched the the Build America Bureau, a one-stop shop for information about how to apply for federal transportation grants and loans. As Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx explained at the launch, the Bureau will “streamline credit opportunities and grants more quickly and transparently, while providing technical assistance and encouraging innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and monitoring.”

Smart Growth America welcomes Rick Chellman as new director of design

chellman-headshotSmart Growth America is pleased to announce today the hiring of Rick Chellman, P.E., L.L.S., as director of design.

Chellman has over 30 years experience in civil engineering, engineering consulting, traffic engineering and land surveying, land use regulations, and development planning. As an independent consultant he has also worked extensively on the engineering and traffic engineering aspects of neighborhood development and street design. Chellman has written several land use regulations and zoning ordinances, authored and co-authored numerous works related to transportation and neighborhood design, and helped lead neighborhood design charettes across the country.

“Engineering at its best is about solving problems and making people’s lives easier,” said Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America. “Rick absolutely understands that. He has helped communities across the country and the world get a clear picture of their goals, and then figure out how to achieve them in cost-effective ways. We are thrilled to have him bring that expertise to the communities we work with.”

In his new role, Chellman will work on Smart Growth America’s technical assistance workshops, particularly for departments of transportation. Learn more about his new work in our short Q+A below.

A new program to help rural places use smart growth strategies

Many rural communities have seen farmland eroded by encroaching development, or are losing young residents to places with more amenities and greater opportunities. Whether drained by sprawl or struggling to compete, how can rural communities address these challenges while remaining true to their unique character?

Recorded webinar: "Amazing Place" kickoff discussion

amazing-place-webinar-iconBoise, Denver, Greenville, Minneapolis, Nashville, and Pittsburgh are six of the many cities using a new strategy for economic development. Rather than offering tax breaks to lure companies, these cities are creating walkable, vibrant, inclusive neighborhoods that are attracting residents and employers, supporting existing businesses, and fostering entrepreneurs.

We talk about this new approach in our most recent report, Amazing Place: Six Cities Using the New Recipe for Economic Development. The report takes an in-depth look at the development strategies at work in these six cities, and is designed to show communities everywhere how to create diverse and durable local economies that last beyond the lifecycle of any one employer.

As part of Tuesday’s kickoff for the new report, we hosted an online conversation about creating these amazing places. Participants heard an overview of the guide as well as a detailed discussion about development in Denver, Greenville, and Pittsburgh. A recorded version of the webinar is now available.

Introducing "Amazing Place"

A new trend in local economic development is emerging. Talented workers—and the companies who want to employ them—are increasingly moving to walkable neighborhoods served by transit, with a vibrant mix of restaurants, cafes, shops, cultural attractions, and affordable housing options.

Now Hiring: Technical Assistance Intern

Smart Growth America is seeking a paid intern to support our technical assistance program and our workshops for state and local governments’ across the country.

The Intern will be an integral part of the team and will play a vital role in managing the day-to-day operations of our workshops for local communities around the country. The Intern will assist with our work in major urban areas as well as our growing presence in rural communities. Core responsibilities include: logistical and research support for workshops and policy summits, coordinating with workshop instructors and communities receiving workshops, authoring blogs, promoting our technical assistance through social networking, and providing administrative support to the team.

Introducing "Foot Traffic Ahead 2016"

There are 619 regionally significant, walkable urban places (or “WalkUPs”) in the nation’s 30 largest metro areas.

Foot Traffic Ahead 2016, released today by LOCUS in conjunction with the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at the George Washington University School of Business, looked at all of them.

The new report ranks the country’s 30 largest metropolitan areas based on the amount of commercial and multi-family rental development in WalkUPs, and uses a series of forward-looking metrics to predict how walkable their future development might be. The research also uses social equity metrics like housing costs, transportation costs, and access to jobs to understand the relationship between walkability and social equity.

The research found that walkable urban market share growth in office and multi-family rental increased in all 30 metro areas between 2010-2015, while drivable sub-urban locations have lost market share.

Not surprisingly, New York City, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle ranked at the top of current areas for walkable urbanism. But the research points to other cities including Phoenix, Los Angeles, and metro Detroit as best-positioned for future growth of walkability given current efforts in those the communities.

Download the full report to see the full rankings, including which metros are getting the most out of their current development, which have the greatest momentum, and which rank the highest for social equity.