Smart growth news – August 12

‘Walkable’ communities, transit lines touted
The Advocate (La.), August 11, 2011
Walkable urban communities and those along transit lines are where the money is in commercial and residential real estate development, a national real estate developer and visiting fellow of the Brookings Institution said Wednesday. Chris Leinberger, who will return to Baton Rouge next week for the Center for Planning Excellence’s Smart Growth Summit, told a group of local developers, architects and planners that the era of interstate-driven suburban development is tapped out.

Can a new plan to rent out foreclosed properties help the housing market?
Washington Post, August 10, 2011
First, there’s a glut of foreclosed properties out there putting downward pressure on home prices — and that weak housing market, as we’ve seen, is putting a damper on economic growth. At the same time, there’s an undersupply of rental units, which is causing rents to increase faster than inflation in places like San Jose, Washington, D.C., Seattle, New York, Houston, and elsewhere. Is there a way to address both of those problems at once? Possibly.

Bloomberg, Schwarzenegger: U.S. Must Modernize Its Infrastructure, Invest In High-Speed Rail
Huffington Post, August 11, 2011
With GDP languishing and job-creation rates well below what’s needed to put the economy back on track, the key to recovery lies with American infrastructure, says a bipartisan group headed by Michael Bloomberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Details emerge about planned multi-million downtown development
Midland Daily News (Mich.), August 11, 2011
“Midland has tremendous existing attractions with the Dow Diamond Stadium, a vital downtown and the Tridge,” said Pat Gillespie, president of the Gillespie Group. “At the Gillespie Group and Caddis Development, we recognized an opportunity to further enhance Midland’s appeal by developing a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood that would connect the stadium with the existing downtown. We believe the development is a natural fit for the city, as we envision it will support a diverse, walkable and vibrant neighborhood where residents can live, shop, work and play. We are excited about the possibilities.”

Orland to develop Main Street Downtown
The Regional News (Ill.), August 11, 2011
The 295-unit building will cost $63 million to $65 million to build, village officials estimate. The village may sell up to $65 million in bonds to finance its construction. The bonds would be repaid from the rents charged to tenants of the planned one- and two-bedroom apartments. They would rent for an average of $1,500 a month. They would be marketed to young professionals who commute to work downtown and well-heeled empty-nesters, older couples whose children have left home.

U.S. Bank Announces Partnership with City of Milwaukee to Spark Revitalization Efforts in Hardest Hit Neighborhoods
Marketwatch, August 10, 2011
U.S. Bank, a financial and community leader in Milwaukee for more than 158 years, today announced several new initiatives to support the City of Milwaukee in its Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) efforts.

City leaders looking to revitalize areas like Hardy Street, Broadway Drive
Hattiesburg American (Miss.), August 11, 2011
As the Hattiesburg’s commercial corridor out west continues to sprawl, Hub City leaders are concentrating revitalization efforts on business hot spots of yesteryears. Last week, Hattiesburg’s Department of Urban Development presented the City Council with its “Commercial Corridor Revitalization” plan – a grassroots effort to re-energize waning retail/business sectors like Hardy Street and Broadway Drive.

3 proposals advance for downtown Tulsa housing
Tulsa World (Okla.), August 12, 2011
The former YMCA, Vandever store and Bill White Chevrolet sites were selected Thursday to enter into contract negotiations with Tulsa Development Authority for a portion of $3 million in sales tax funds for downtown housing.

Opinion

Transportation Spending Is the Right Stimulus
Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2011
During this time of economic uncertainty and record federal deficits, many question why America should invest aggressively in infrastructure. The answer is simple: Whether it involves highways, railways, ports, aviation or any other sector, infrastructure is an economic driver that is essential for the long-term creation of quality American jobs.

Develop public transportation, help economic recovery
Los Angeles Times, August 10, 2011
The question is whether we will spend our limited funds on building more highways that have no long-term prospect of enhancing mobility or focus instead on transit alternatives that will reduce our dependence on cars. The overwhelming majority of commenters supported transit.

A Bank That Can Get Americans on the Road and on the Job
Bloomberg News, August 10, 2011
Among the legion of problems facing the U.S., two stand out: Unemployment remains appallingly high, and the public works undergirding our economy are in alarmingly bad shape. Creating a national infrastructure bank presents a harmonized solution to these two problems that should be feasible even in austere times.

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