Smart Growth America's Top 12 of 2012: Making news

CEO and President of Smart Growth America Geoff Anderson and Vice President & Director of Policy Development & Implementation Bill Fulton. Photo by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

We’re doing a special blog series this week highlighting some of Smart Growth America’s favorite accomplishments from 2012. This is the sixth of twelve installments.

In 2012, newspapers and media outlets from across the country reported on smart growth issues in ways they never had before. Here are some of the highlights:

Smart Growth’s Revival
San Diego Union-Tribune (CA) – February 13, 2012
‘Smart growth,” a planning concept popular since the 1990s, is gaining traction as the construction industry looks to a revival, say advocates of building housing, shops and workplaces near each other and transportation networks. But they acknowledge that neighborhoods still are leery of change.

Walkability increasingly drives developers and real estate market
Washington Post – November 16, 2012
“Walkable” is a feature sparking sales and energizing future development and redevelopment, according to a recent report by a George Washington University professor that calls the Washington area a national model for compact urban areas where residents can live and work without cars.

The cost of America’s inefficient sprawl
CNN Global Public Square – July 31, 2012
The way in which we plan and build our towns and cities has a direct impact on how well they do. Financial resiliency and prosperity is woven into the very fabric of cities. Where businesses go, where houses go, where roads go, where sidewalks go, where farms and natural spaces go – all of these things collectively affect a community’s economic performance and the cost of providing services there.

Smart Growth: Fighting Sprawl with Walkable Communities
The Atlantic – July 5, 2012
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 smart growth advocacy group says that smart growth construction helps create jobs. For every 10 jobs created by transit projects, six additional jobs are generated elsewhere in a community, according to the group.

Subdivisions go urban as housing market changes
USA Today – May 5, 2012
A housing industry slowly shaking off the worst economic conditions in decades is rethinking what type of housing to build and where to build it. It’s a response to a new wave of home buyers who have no desire to live in traditional subdivisions far from urban amenities.

Suburban Swap: Trading a Backyard for a Train Station
Wall Street Journal – May 1, 2012
LumberYard is a transit-oriented development, or TOD, one of a growing number of mixed-use developments that combine town houses or condominiums with retail shops, hotels and other businesses—all perched near a train station. Efforts to rein in sprawl slowly gathered steam over the past couple of decades, but the housing bust helped shape this latest crop of TOD newcomers.

Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot
New York Times – February 3, 2012
Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities.

Address the Housing Crisis’s Underlying Issues
Roll Call – January 25, 2012
President Barack Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke seem enamored with renting foreclosed properties to blunt price decreases and to stir economic recovery, but that’s a bandage for symptoms as opposed to a real cure. Instead, we need to learn from the problems that landed us in this mess in the first place, working to bring government policies in line with good business sense and to incentivize market-driven development.

Why Mayors Should Run the Department of Transportation
Atlantic Cities – November 21, 2012
The transportation issues of the 21st century will be less about building new highways and more about building new transit, about offering more multi-modal options to bike and walk. Transportation policy going forward won’t just be about moving people as far and as fast as possible, but about leveraging transportation in service of economic opportunity and livable communities.

State DOTs, Smart Growth Group Highlight How to Stretch Transportation Funds
Governing – September 10, 2012
Smart Growth America CEO Geoff Anderson says his organization’s mission is broader than just encouraging transit and is more about moving people most efficiently. At a time when state transportation departments are strapped for cash, that’s a message that could resonate. The report’s goal is to highlight ways that transportation departments can get the most bang for their buck, and it highlights innovative techniques across the country.

Celebrate 2012 and support 2013: Donate

We are excited to see smart growth in the news in 2012, and look forward to continuing to do so in 2013. Help make it possible by donating to Smart Growth America today.