Smart Growth America statement: “Communities need a partner, not austerity measures”

Yesterday President Trump released his proposal for the fiscal year 2018 federal budget. Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, issued the following response:

“There’s a lot of puzzling logic in this budget, but one point stood out to me above the others. It was the budget’s justification for cuts to transportation. Despite a pledge of raising $200 billion for infrastructure spending, the budget explains that because cities are investing in public transportation, the federal government should stop doing so.

The fact that local governments are spending money on public transportation—or housing, or neighborhood revitalization—shows just how much cities value these things. Local governments and the private sector are willing to invest their own dollars to make these things happen. The federal government should follow their lead and help that work go farther.

Webinar recording: Three toolkits for smart growth in rural places

In late April Smart Growth America released three new toolkits for smart growth in rural places. Our Community Facilities Location toolkit helps communities make the most of new facilities like hospitals or post offices. Our Well-Placed Affordable Housing toolkit looks at creating centrally located housing infrastructure. And our Fiscal Impact Analysis toolkit looks at how local government can better understand the long-term financial implications of decisions about new development.

Now Hiring: Economic Development Intern

Smart Growth America is now hiring a paid Economic Development Intern to support programs within our Policy Development & Implementation team, which focuses on relationships between smart growth strategies and the economic and fiscal health of communities. This person will assist in research and analysis projects, develop materials to support technical assistance engagements, and provide day-to-day administrative and logistical support. This position may also assist with preparing grant progress reports, writing content for our newsletter and blog, and providing short-term assistance to other programs as required. This position reports to Smart Growth America’s Vice President for Economic Development.

A Tennessee trio wins our first Complete Streets Consortium award



A green lane for bicyclists in Knoxville, TN. Photo via the Knoxville Mercury.

Building a connected network of streets that is safe for everyone, no matter how they travel, takes region-wide collaboration. Our newest technical assistance award is designed to help three agencies in Tennessee do just that.

Smart Growth America and our program the National Complete Streets Coalition are proud to announce that a partnership of agencies in Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville, TN is the winner of our first-ever Complete Streets Consortium technical assistance.

Statement: Trump budget would hamper community development and local economic growth

Earlier today President Trump released his budget blueprint for fiscal year 2017-2018, which outlines increased military spending and cuts for many domestic programs—including key programs that support economic growth in American communities.

Notably the blueprint eliminates funding for HUD’s Community Development Block Grants, USDOT’s TIGER Grants, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and would make major cuts to the EPA; HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Choice Neighborhoods and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program; as well as development programs at USDA.

Welcome to HUD, Secretary Carson

Today, Dr. Ben Carson was confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, putting him at the helm of the federal agency that oversees home mortgage lending practices and other housing-related programs.

To Secretary Carson we say congratulations. America’s housing and community development policies have a huge impact on the day-to-day lives of millions of Americans, and in your new position you have a unique and valuable opportunity to improve this country.

Smart Growth America and LOCUS are looking forward to working with Secretary Carson. He is an unconventional choice for this position, but can bring fresh eyes and renewed energy to the department. Under Secretary Carson HUD has the potential to revitalize distressed neighborhoods and address America’s housing affordability crisis. We believe the private sector can and should play a significant role in that work, and welcome a chance to collaborate.

Transportation for America announces Adrea Turner will join as new director

After a nationwide search, we are proud to announce the hiring of Adrea Turner as director of Transportation for America, the signature transportation initiative of Smart Growth America.

Turner comes to T4America from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), where she served as the chief of staff under Director Leif Dormsjo in the diverse and growing city of Washington, DC. In that role she managed day-to-day and strategic operations of the 900-person department, a $600 million annual budget and a portfolio of highways, local streets, traffic signals, public space, parking assets and a growing city-owned public transportation system that includes bus, bikeshare, and streetcar programs.

New guide and webinar: “The How and Why of Measuring Access to Opportunity”

Transportation systems link people to their daily destinations as well as broader opportunity. And transportation agencies across the country are increasingly interested in measuring how well their systems do this. Many practitioners are not sure where to start on that ambitious goal, but a new guide from the Governors’ Institute on Community Design is designed to show them how.

The How and Why of Measuring Access to Opportunity: A Guide to Performance Management is a brand new guidebook on the data, tools, and methodologies transportation officials need to measure access to opportunity, as well as how to integrate these measurements into their planning and investment decisions. The new guidebook provides background on the changing priorities in transportation performance management, how some transportation agencies are already incorporating measures of access into their programs, and discusses the data and tools available to support measuring it. This guidebook might also be useful to elected and civic leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders who wish to work with transportation agencies to address these important priorities.