Smart Growth News – July 6, 2012

National News

Smart Growth: Fighting sprawl with walkable communities
The Atlantic – July 5, 2012

The result: A boost to the area’s economy, a more environmentally sustainable community and a short walk to the dry cleaners. Smart growth reduces the combined cost of transportation and housing, which currently makes up more than 50 percent of the average household budget, according to Smart Growth America.

The Transportation Bill – Barbara Boxer’s Letter to the Editor
New York Times – July 6, 2012

This legislation actually increases the amount of financing that “transportation alternative” projects like bicycle and pedestrian pathways are eligible for, although in some cases these projects must compete for money.

Street improvements linked to office appeal
Crain’s New York Business – July 5, 2012

The office market in New York is recovering fastest in districts where the city has made improvements to streets and public spaces, according to a recently released study by commercial real estate brokerage J. Liff Co.

Cities Forced To Choose Between Bankruptcy And Foreign Investors
Huffington Post – July 5, 2012

With cities across America on the verge of financial ruin, local governments face two decisions. Like Stockton, California, they can file for bankruptcy. Or, like Chicago, they can dodge that bullet by taking in foreign money.

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Smart Growth News – July 5, 2012

National News

This is a win? After Dems cave, transportation bill creates no new jobs
MSNBC – July 3, 2012

But that estimate assumes that the funding will otherwise disappear. If you use the current funding level as a baseline, the bill creates no new jobs at all. The number of jobs being created “is basically zero,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research. “We would lose jobs if nothing had passed and Congress let funding lapse. Even then Boxer and Obama are hugely exaggerating the effects.”

US Cities Score Poorly On The Economist’s New Livability Index
Business Insider – July 5, 2012

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Buzzdata selected the “spatially adjusted living index” as the best new tool for evaluating quality of life. This method, selected in a competition, looks at green space, urban sprawl, pollution, isolation, cultural assets and other “spacial” aspects. The new index ranked Hong Kong as the best city, followed by Amsterdam, Osaka and Paris. The highest ranked US city was Washington DC at 14.

Live and let live: The Best City in the World
The Economist – July 4, 2012

HOW to measure the immeasurable? Trying to rank the world’s best cities is like trying to quantify the finest mother on mother’s day—most of us have a biased interest. Even the most wordly cosmocrats place different emphasis on different features of a city.

States Steal Federal Foreclosure Funds at Their Own Peril
Bloomberg – July 4, 2012

Here’s the problem: many states — including some hardest hit by the housing bust — are diverting more than $1 billion of that settlement money to fill budget gaps, fund public universities and even bankroll litigation against defective Chinese drywall, according to a Bloomberg Government report. In doing so, states are robbing troubled borrowers of assistance and jeopardizing their housing recoveries in the process.

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Smart Growth News – July 3, 2012

National News

Why Generation Y Sees No Need To Get Behind The Wheel
Forbes – July 2, 2012

Instead, the entry level buyers that the auto industry counts on to keep hope alive just don’t seem interested — either in cars, or in driving at all. Reuters reports a startling statistic: more than one-quarter of 16 to 34 year olds, who are known as Generation Y or the Millenials, do not even have a driver’s license.

URBAN NATION: Transpo Bill Compromise Isn’t Progress
Next American City – July 2, 2012

The resulting compromise disappoints transportation and smart growth advocates. In a statement, Smart Growth America said that the bill “fails to provide the kind of visionary, game-changing transportation reform America deserves.”

Near-Shoring and the Future of Smart Growth
Next American City – July 3, 2012

The financial services industry is shifting many of its jobs to parts of the country better known for their preference for small government and bolo ties than for vibrant financial sectors, the New York Times reported on Monday. Goldman Sachs, RBS and JPMorgan Chase are among the companies named who moved to more remote corners of the U.S. The Times article points to Salt Lake City, Jacksonville, Fla. and Raleigh, N.C., as places that have had particular draw.

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Proposed House Appropriations Bill Would Defund Smart Growth Program, Slash EPA Funding

WASHINGTON DC — In language that puts politics ahead of public safety and economic development, the House of Representatives’ Fiscal Year 2013 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill zeroes out funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s smart growth program and reduces EPA funding overall by 17 percent. “Though House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers … Continued

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CPEX forum highlights economic promise of transit, planning in Baton Rouge area

Stakeholders and key decision-makers from Baton Rouge and the Greater New Orleans area came together Tuesday on the LSU campus to discuss how the city and region could best harness transit and planning measures to enable economic development and the creation of great Louisiana neighborhoods. The engaging policy forum was hosted by the Connect coalition, … Continued

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Subdivisions go urban as housing market changes

Changing demographics and shifting consumer demands have deeply impacted the real estate market, causing developers to put a greater emphasis than ever before on the creation of smart growth neighborhoods within easy distance to jobs, shops and schools. From millenials to baby-boomers, Americans are moving away from large-lot suburban housing and looking to take up … Continued

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Listen to market demand, says The Economist's Ryan Avent

To create jobs, drive innovation, attract talent and keep housing costs affordable, American cities would be right to address the growing demand for smart growth development, says The Economist’s Ryan Avent in a recent interview with Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino.

“Well, my tendency as an economist, working for The Economist, my inclination is to say build with what the market will demand,” Avent says. “And so that’s why I think we have a great opportunity here, because what the market is increasingly demanding are homes that are within walking distance of job centers.”

Avent, a resident of Arlington, VA, and the author of The Gated City, emphasized that in building with market demand in mind, it’s also crucial to change common misperceptions about density. In his book, Avent uses the phrase “hogs stacked on hogs” to describe what makes people afraid of added housing units. The realities of increased density, however, are radically different and the addition of in-demand housing options contributes to robust regional economic growth.

“If you think about the sort of density that might work, if it builds around transit and a walkable environment, you don’t add a lot of the downsides that are typically associated with density, like congestion,” Avent says. “When you build in a sprawling pattern and force people into cars, that’s what actually causes congestion.”

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Smart growth news – April 3, 2012

Wonkbook: Congress fails on infrastructure. Again.
The Washington Post – April 2, 2012

On Friday, President Obama signed the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012. Odds are you didn’t hear about it. There wasn’t a signing ceremony in the Rose Garden, and no one on the Hill rushed to the cameras to take the credit. The White House’s statement was less than 50 words, and neither John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or Mitch McConnell even issued a press release. And for good reason: Each and every one of them is ashamed of this bill. As they should be.

The Simple Math That Can Save Cities From Bankruptcy
The Atlantic Cities – March 30, 2012

In its vacant state in the 1970s, the Asheville Hotel didn’t contribute much to the public coffers. Today, though, that same parcel of land is responsible for exponentially more property tax revenue that helps pay for police, parks and city streets.

The Spiky World of Innovation
The Atlantic Cities – April 3, 2012

In a famous line from his best-selling book, Thomas Friedman wrote: “When the world is flat, you can innovate without having to emigrate.” But instead of flattening out across the world, innovation remains extraordinarily concentrated and spiky.

Calif. high-speed rail’s pared-down plan touted
Associated Press – April 3, 2012

The authority overseeing planning for California’s high-speed rail project has released a fresh proposal with a new price tag and a scaled-back design.

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Smart Growth Stories: A Mayor’s Perspective

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory is on a mission to support economic development in his city, and he’s using smart growth and downtown development strategies to accomplish that goal.

“People were slow to embrace some of the changes we were proposing because they didn’t necessarily see how, say, the development of a street car would lead to more jobs,” Mallory says in Smart Growth America’s first “Smart Growth Stories” video interview. “They didn’t necessarily see how investing so much money in downtown allowed for improvements in neighborhoods. So I’ve had to explain to people that downtown is the engine, the economic engine, for everything that happens in our entire region.”

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