Smart Growth News – August 28, 2012

Top stories

Mitt’s Metropolis
Next American City – August 27, 2012
“Romney supported smart growth when he was governor for economic reasons,” said Alex Dodds, online communications manager for Smart Growth America. “If he was going to run the presidency from a fiscal, economic basis of making decisions on return on investment and helping communities, smart growth would be a good option for him.”

Complete Streets policies spreading quickly
Better! Towns & Cities – August 27, 2012
Complete Streets policies continue to be popular across the US, despite a provision on the issue being rescinded from the recent federal transportation bill. More than 350 US states, counties, and communities have adopted Complete Streets policies, including 146 policies in 2011 alone, according to the Complete Streets Policy Analysis 2011 by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition, released August 15.

Home Prices Rise, Survey Shows
New York Times – August 28, 2012
Single-family home prices in the United States gained in June, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday, in what could be a sign of improvement in the housing market.

U.S. Taxpayers Are Gouged on Mass Transit Costs
Bloomberg News – August 26, 2012
American taxpayers will shell out many times what their counterparts in developed cities in Europe and Asia would pay. In the case of the Second Avenue line and other new rail infrastructure in New York City, they may have to pay five times as much.

Report: Disconnect Between Planning, Zoning in Baltimore Co.
City Biz List (MD) – August 23, 2012
A report released by 1000 Friends of Maryland shows a disconnection between planning and zoning in Baltimore County.

Small Arizona cities struggle with historic preservation efforts
Tucson Citizen (AZ) – August 26, 2012
The wrecking ball often swings faster in smaller cities trying to save history, preservationists and local leaders say.

Digging into Massachusetts’ Brownfields
WGBH Boston (MA) – August 27, 2012
After spending more than $100 million to clean up contaminated land and water in Massachusetts, thousands of polluted sites remain. They’re called “brownfields,” and in some cases you’d barely know the damage.

10 Urban Projects That Could Change City Landscapes For The Better
Fast Co. Exist – August 28, 2012
The finalists of the Urban Prototyping: San Francisco competition are all easily replicable ideas that could spread to cities worldwide, from the whimsical (giant playable keyboard) to the serious (measuring traffic).

Local news

Hawaii Land Use Commission agrees to hearing on Maui retail projects
Pacific Business News (HI) – August 27, 2012
Hawaii’s Land Use Commission has agreed, at the request of community groups, to hold a hearing on two large proposed retail and outlet centers on Maui.

L.A. colleges resume $6-billion campus building plan
Los Angeles Times (CA) – August 27, 2012
Spending on most new construction projects in the Los Angeles Community College District’s $6-billion campus building plan has resumed. This virtually ends a moratorium that had been the centerpiece of efforts to reform poor planning, questionable spending and other flaws uncovered in the program.

Controversial changes to Jersey City waterfront set to go before City Council
The Jersey Journal – August 27, 2012
A controversial plan to adjust the size and shape of portions of Jersey City’s Liberty Harbor development is set to be reviewed by the City Council next month, a plan that riles community leaders who call it a “radical change” to the city’s Waterfront.

Editorial and Opinion

‘Suburb:’ an increasingly worthless term
City Block – August 27, 2012
So, to get value out of the word ‘suburb’ it would help to define it in terms of characteristics (similar to this exercise in defining sprawl and using the term for more than just outward patterns of development). O’Sullivan isn’t the only one to fall for this. Joel Kotkin is notorious for praising the virtues of the suburbs while conjuring visions of Levittowns, while his analysis hinges on the political definition of a suburb (and all of the arbitrary boundaries therein) and ends up lumping Levittowns and McMansions in with Jersey City.

Disney World on the Hudson
New York Times – August 22, 2012
The High Line has become a tourist-clogged catwalk and a catalyst for some of the most rapid gentrification in the city’s history.

Complete Streets