Smart growth news – August 10

Detroit’s downtown ‘starting to fight back’
Washington Times, August 7, 2011
For the past seven months, geologist Dan Ten Brink  has made his home in a loft in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, working at an upscale cafe to make ends meet while on the lookout for a more permanent job. He is part of a trend of young professionals who are relocating to Detroit.

Camden touts ‘Live Where You Work’ program
Courier-Post (N.J.), August 10, 2011
At a City Hall press conference Tuesday, city and state officials announced the availability of low-interest, fixed-rate home mortgages to prospective buyers who work in the city.

Young professionals drawn to urban living
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wis.), August 6, 2011
Bryan Cooper didn’t give much thought to where he’d live while working as an intern at GE Healthcare in Waukesha. But Cooper found that when he wasn’t at the office, he was spending a lot of time around downtown Milwaukee instead of hanging out at his suburban apartment.

Incentives, planned apartments heat up downtown rental market
Detroit News, August 10, 2011
With the launch of a major incentive program to lure more people to live in downtown Detroit, the rental market in the 48226 area code, which covers the central business district, promises to be competitive for at least the near future.

Mayors Say American Cities Are on the Rise
East Haven Patch (Conn.), August 9, 2011
“The ’50s and the ’60s saw everybody move out of the cities and get to the newly built suburbs … now we’re starting to see a reversal – a flight to the cities,” said Michael Bissonnette, mayor of Chicopee, Mass. “People are starting to come back.”

Baltimore developers cut vacant properties by converting to rentals
Baltimore Business Journal, August 8, 2011
Downtown Baltimore’s office market is flooded with vacant space. Foreclosures are rippling across Greater Baltimore. And hundreds of high-end condominiums sit empty, most never lived in. It might seem like a desperate situation. But for dozens of developers and property owners across the city, it’s a case of making lemonade out of lemons. Stuck with empty space they can’t rent to businesses or sell to homeowners, many are now converting their commercial properties or residential condominiums into apartments to tap into a groundswell of demand for downtown rental housing. Will it lead to a glut of apartments on the market? Some experts worry it will.


Drawing the line on development
Baltimore Sun, August 10, 2011
Anne Arundel County rezoning debacle shows why local governments are often ill-equipped to say no to developers and preserve open space.

Targeted, Hyper-Dense Neighborhoods Can Reduce Emissions
Planetizen, August 9, 2011
Alex Steffen presents the idea that by focusing development into “hyperdense” communities you create a host of benefits that reduce climate change by reducing trips.

Three big-ticket developments would speed Boston’s recovery
Boston Globe, August 10, 2011
The standard rap on development in Boston is that it takes forever to get anything built, and that neighborhood sentiment and pressure from City Hall tend to reduce the size and scope of ambitious projects. But as the local economy recovers faster than that of the nation as a whole, Boston now has three major opportunities to go big.

Sacramento County Supervisors loosen growth plan for developers
Sacramento Bee (Calif.), August 10, 2011
Sacramento County supervisors had in front of them eminently reasonable growth guidelines to limit air pollution, traffic gridlock and suburban sprawl. But with developers squawking in their ears, supervisors are moving toward watering down the rules. That’s bad for the environment, bad for taxpayers and bad for the county’s long-term prospects.

She says… Grants help town provide services
Bluffton Today (S.C.), August 10, 2011
The town has been able to accomplish many of the projects we have because of the ability to get grant money from various sources. We spent a total of $1,195,000 in grant money in the fiscal year ending June 30 for projects in the town. This tells a story of the significant savings and leverage we receive from grants.