Our economy is at a virtual standstill because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and healthcare. Businesses of all sizes are facing an existential threat. Local municipal budgets are being gutted. As we hope for light at the end of the tunnel we’ll need to craft a smart recovery. We leaned on our experience with the stimulus of 2009 and our long expertise in infrastructure and community development to produce a package of federal policy recommendations Congress should consider to build the foundation for a long-lasting recovery.
The economic collapse brought on by the spread of COVID-19 has necessitated urgent action to protect our economy, but we must invest wisely. Funds must go to investments that build lasting economic prosperity and ultimately help all Americans have the opportunity to live in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. While many sectors of our economy are in need of support, we encourage policy makers to provide support for infrastructure and community revitalization programs.
Fort Scott, Kansas has an incredible network of brick streets to rival any city in the country—an under recognized asset. At a recent workshop, Smart Growth America and local experts looked to build atop this and other assets to make Fort Scott more attractive to current and future residents.
Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), Dan Kildee (D-MI-5), Darin LaHood (R-IL-18), and Mike Kelly (R-PA-16) have introduced the REHAB Act in the U.S. House. This legislation, if passed, will help spur private investment in affordable housing and public infrastructure in the places where it’s needed most: walkable, transit-connected places.
“Parking reform for 21st century communities: getting more out of public space,” was a joint webinar between the Form-Based Codes Institute and the State Smart Transportation Initiative. Speakers discussed the steps taken to rethink parking policies and prioritize people in public spaces in Hartford, CT and Atlanta, GA. A recording and recap of the webinar is now available.
In an expensive, decades-long effort to curb congestion in urban regions, our transportation agencies and elected leaders have overwhelmingly prioritized spending hundreds of billions of dollars to widen and build new highways. Yet this strategy has utterly failed to “solve” the problem at hand, and in many cases, has actually made it worse. The Congestion Con, a new report from our Transportation for America program, examines how and why, and in this post we look at how land use is right in the middle of it all.
LOCUS & Smart Growth America recently launched the National Opportunity Zones Marketplace, an online resource to help facilitate equitable development and information sharing. It’s the latest evolution of our work to ensure that new investment in Opportunity Zones benefit existing residents the community at-large instead of displacing the people the tax incentive was intended to help. Watch the recorded webinar about how to use the Marketplace.
The House majority’s recent infrastructure proposal finally recognizes what Smart Growth America has been saying for years: We’ll never be able to build and sustain healthy, prosperous and resilient communities without a unified approach to transportation, climate, water, land use, and community development. This is a smart first step, but the details will determine whether or not these investments improve the deep inequities in America, or just make them worse.
Smart growth—building places that are healthy, resilient, and prosperous—requires tackling an almost impossibly long list of complicated issues. But Smart Growth America has the diverse experience required to move the needle.
The notion of the suburbs is nestled deeply in the collective imagination in America, but as we wrote recently, “the suburbs of today aren’t necessarily the suburbs of yesteryear.” In a future that is increasingly urban, where suburbs are rapidly changing, what changes should they consider to stay prosperous and resilient?