Webinar recap: Zoning for the maker economy


This past July, we hosted “Form-Based Codes and Small-Scale Manufacturing,” a joint webinar between Smart Growth America’s Economic Development team and the Form-Based Codes Institute. Speakers discussed how different communities are using form-based codes to support small-scale manufacturing businesses. A recording of the webinar is now available and you can also read a short recap below.

Economic development Form-Based Codes

Watch: Creating safer, smarter streets with demonstration projects

Through the Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy, Smart Growth America worked with three cities to implement temporary demonstration projects to create safer streets. This month, we released case studies telling the stories of these three projects. We also held a webinar with representatives from each of the three cities to share lessons learned from these projects, as well as update us on how the projects have evolved since the end of the Academy. You can watch the full recording of this webinar here or download a PDF of the presentations.

Complete Streets

(Re)coding communities for smart growth


There’s a secret weapon available to communities that want to modernize their zoning codes and help make smarter growth the norm. FBCI’s Codes for Communities is a wide-ranging technical assistance program at Smart Growth America that covers all kinds of zoning reform and guidance on form-based codes. In just two years, the program has had tremendous impact in communities of all sizes across America.

Form-Based Codes Technical assistance Uncategorized

Get to know Minnesota’s new Community Vitality Fellow Marcus Young


As announced earlier this week, Marcus Young, a behavioral artist, will be embedded within the Minnesota Department of Transportation for a year serving as an artist-in-residence in a program created by Smart Growth America. Marcus will be taking a fresh look at the agency’s goals to promote economic vitality, improve safety, support multimodal transportation systems, and create healthier communities.  

Uncategorized

Pittsburgh, PA demonstration project: Lincoln and Frankstown Avenues

Pittsburgh’s demonstration project made it safer and easier to cross the streets surrounding an elementary school by reconfiguring a dangerous intersection and introducing protected pedestrian refuges at crosswalks.

Through the Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy, Smart Growth America worked with three cities around the country to implement temporary safety demonstration projects. The City of Pittsburgh historically relied on 311 requests to help decide which streets need safety improvements, but when a team from the city looked more closely at the data, they realized they were not reaching the whole community through this process. In particular, they were not addressing key locations with high crash rates in low-income communities of color because this traditional channel of collecting complaints. In partnership with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, the Allegheny County Health Department, the Port Authority of Allegheny County, and PennDOT, they launched a demonstration project at one such site to implement safety projects and to establish new partnerships with the community. Working closely with a local school, they added crosswalks with protected refuges to help children reach school more safely, and they also redesigned the intersection of Lincoln and Frankstown Avenues to make it less stressful for all people—including drivers—in the process.

Complete Streets

Huntsville, AL demonstration project: 4 Mile Post


Huntsville’s demonstration project added more intensive improvements to an existing crosswalk on a high-speed road where very few drivers yield to people crossing and filled in a missing bike connection to a nearby greenway.

Through the Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy, Smart Growth America worked with three cities around the country, including Huntsville, to implement temporary safety demonstration projects. The City of Huntsville partnered with the South Huntsville Business Association, AARP, and the Rotary Club to implement a demonstration project on 4 Mile Post. The project makes it easier and safer for people to walk or bike along and across the street, and it also restores missing connections between nearby destinations, including homes, parks, trails, and employment centers. Along the way, the team faced resistance from elected leaders outside the project area who opposed any project—even a temporary one—that would take space away from cars, but thanks to their persistence and close engagement with the community, they won the support they needed to install temporary safer streets improvements on 4 Mile Post and to work toward making these changes permanent.

Complete Streets

Back to the burbs: given no other choice

The popular narrative about younger generations aging and leaving urban centers is presented as inevitable. But most news stories fail to examine why many younger people are taking up residence in suburbia—or whether or not the suburbs they’re choosing have more in common with cities or the exurbs their parents preferred. Perhaps their move to the suburbs is more a product of constrained housing supply that leaves them with little choice but to decamp as they grow.

Uncategorized

Durham, NC demonstration project: West Club Boulevard

Durham’s demonstration project on West Club Boulevard introduced a new, much-needed mid-block crossing between a major bus stop and a shopping mall. The project also closed a lane of traffic to create a space for buses to pull over and to encourage drivers to slow down and yield to people crossing.

Through the Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy, Smart Growth America worked with three cities around the country, including Durham, to implement temporary safety demonstration projects. The City of Durham recognized their demonstration project as an opportunity to try out more intensive, inclusive methods of community engagement to reach segments of their community they have not connected with in the past. They identified a dangerous site along West Club Boulevard, where a frequently used bus stop across from a shopping mall offered no safe, convenient way for bus riders to cross. The team conducted intercept surveys at the bus stop to learn more about the safety challenges people experienced and to guide the design of their demonstration project. Based on these insights, the team reduced the number of lanes on West Club Boulevard and installed a new mid-block crossing, resulting in safer, slower driving speeds and better yielding to people crossing. The project also spurred important conversations and partnerships with bus riders and with a local bike advocacy group.

Complete Streets