Last year, Ontario, Canada raised the bar in the realm of forward-looking planning when they released the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, after more than five years in the making. With nearly a quarter of Canada’s entire population nestled in this horseshoe-shaped region around the lake stretching from Niagara Falls through Toronto to the eastern edge of the Province around Lake Ontario, the leaders recognized that adding a projected 4 million more people in the coming years while continuing to grow in the same sprawling fashion will surely spell disaster. So they rallied everyone together, studied the outcomes, built consensus, and authored a gem of a plan…
n introducing his bold, comprehensive plan for a sustainable New York on Earth Day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed to research showing that New Yorkers already had the lowest per capita carbon emissions in the nation. While most news outlets focused on the controversial idea of congestion pricing for Manhattan below 86th Street, they missed the larger point: Well-planned urbanism is likely to be our best hope for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting oil dependency…
In introducing his bold, comprehensive plan for a sustainable New York on Earth Day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed to research showing that New Yorkers already had the lowest per capita carbon emissions in the nation. While most news outlets focused on the controversial idea of congestion pricing for Manhattan below 86th Street, they missed the larger point: Well-planned urbanism is likely to be our best hope for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting oil dependency. Sheryl Eisenberg, a New Yorker who blogs for the Natural Resources Defense Council, explains: “The primary reason is … population density. First, it makes a truly comprehensive public transit system possible. Second, it makes walking and biking emissions-free modes of transportation viable. And third, it keeps home energy use down,” because New Yorkers live in smaller-than-average dwellings, and shared walls are more efficient.”
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has drawn much attention for his declaration last month that “green is the new red, white, and blue.” As a companion to a special on the Discovery Channel, Friedman wrote an article for the Times Magazine arguing that the U.S. must seize the lead in creating and deploying “green,” energy-efficient technologies as the only way to maintain our economic edge while shielding ourselves from radical movements and geopolitical instability….
Since its inception more than 10 years ago, EPA’s Smart Growth program has won praise from city and state leaders across the country for their work advising communities in the creation of local plans to embrace growth in a smart and sustainable way, cutting down on pollution, emissions, and vehicle miles traveled.
With limited publicity, a 60-day window to apply, and only 120 slots available, 370 developers across the country submitted proposals for the new LEED-ND pilot program, displaying a massive interest in the new groundbreaking rating system that rewards implementation of smart growth principles.
On February 5, President Bush formally unveiled his proposed, $2.9 trillion budget for Fiscal Year 2008. Meanwhile, Congress is still putting the final touches on FY 2007 spending – a task left over from the 109th Congress. The House has passed an omnibus continuing resolution, H.J. Res 20, which sets funding levels through the end of the current fiscal year. The Senate is expected to pass the measure shortly.
The budget plan proposed by President Bush outlines cuts for most non-defense, non-homeland security domestic discretionary spending. It is particularly bleak for most infrastructure and community development programs. Sharp cuts are proposed for many key programs, including public transit, Community Development Block Grants, and water infrastructure funds. Cuts to core EPA programs place the federal government’s only dedicated smart growth program in serious jeopardy.
ATLANTA — Researchers from Georgia Tech and the University of British Columbia have released a report summarizing an unparalleled, six-year analysis of the connections among travel habits, development patterns and housing demand in metro Atlanta. Among dozens of significant findings, the study showed that people who live in more walkable neighborhoods — with a mix of housing types and streets that connect to shops, offices and other destinations — drive 30 percent less than those in conventional auto-oriented settings, even when they own the same number of cars at the same rate. The key findings of this ground-breaking study are likely to be applicable to most major metro areas in the country.
This report by APTA, “looks for the first time at what public transportation saves—both for individual households and for the nation as a whole. In addition, it explores a possible future where many more Americans would have the choice to take public transportation. APTA commissioned the report from ICF International.”
This publication by the Smart Growth Network, “shows how communities can turn their visions, values, and aspirations into reality, using smart growth techniques to improve the quality of development… This Is Smart Growth describes how, when done well, development can help create more economic opportunities, build great places where people want to live and visit, preserve the qualities people love about their communities, and protect environmental resources… The publication features 40 places around the country – cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural communities – where good development has improved residents’ quality of life.”