Smart growth news – December 7

Walkable Neighborhoods Gaining Popularity — Even in the Suburbs
Huffington Post, December 6, 2011
Last week, my colleague Chris Leinberger wrote a provocative op-ed in the New York Times titled “The Death of the Fringe Suburb.” Leinberger, who is president of LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, which is a project of Smart Growth America, highlighted the convergence of a number of factors in heralding the decline of far flung, auto-dependant exurbs. Rising gas prices, demographic changes, and shifting consumer preferences have all made these areas less attractive to homebuyers — a fact reflected in the financial troubles and foreclosure crises many of these communities face.

What the 2012 TED Prize Means for ‘The City 2.0’
Atlantic Cities, December 7, 2011
The organization behind the high-profile uber-conference TED has announced an unusual winner for the 2012 iteration of its TED Prize. The award is formally presented at the annual TED conference in February, when the winner announces his or her “wish” – a project that builds off the $100,000 prize money and the enthusiasm of the TED community to participate in somehow making the world a better place. This year’s winner, though, is a little different. It’s not a person, but rather an idea – and a big one: The City 2.0.

House, Senate Not Likely to Agree on Long-Term Transportation Bill This Year
Nation’s Cities Weekly, December 5, 2011
In remarks at a transportation meeting in Washington, D.C., last week, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) announced that the House would not move on a long-term surface transportation bill before the end of the year. Mica cited the lack of time on the House calendar as the reason for the delay after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had promised to pass a transportation bill before the end of the year. The current short-term extension of federal transportation programs expires in March 2012.

Urban Planning, Architecture Books Atop Hawaii Governor’s Desk
Honolulu Civil Beat, November 29, 2011
Abercrombie’s passion for architecture and urban design became evident late last month when he announced plans for a mixed-use development in Kakaako that would make it a place where people would want to live and work, an environment designed for people.


McFarlane to focus on smart growth for Raleigh
WRAL (N.C.), December 6, 2011
After serving on City Council for four years, [Mayor Nancy McFarlane] wanted to succeed five-term Mayor Charles Meeker to continue working on issues like planned growth, protecting the Falls Lake watershed and improving transit options. “I really felt sort of an obligation to see the city continue on that path,” she said, adding that she also wants to find ways to help small businesses flourish in the city.

Planners seek Allentown residents’ suggestions for waterfront revitalization master plan
The Express-Times (Pa.), December 7, 2011
The planners seeking to revitalize Allentown’s waterfront area sent city residents to the drawing board Tuesday night. Literally. At a public forum, about three dozen city residents were given pens and asked to literally draw their suggestions and visions for the Lehigh River waterfront on maps of the 120-acre area.

Fewer drivers, vacant properties create drags on east-side development
The State Journal-Register (Ill.), December 6, 2011
There are nearly 152,000 potential customers within a 15-minute drive of a key east-side commercial area in Springfield. But the area continues to struggle with declining traffic on Cook Street and South Grand Avenue and with vacant, neglected properties that make it difficult to attract new business, according to a consultant’s report to be released at an open house on Thursday.


New rule would speed up development without protecting rural land
Star-Exponent (Va.), December 7, 2011
Culpeper County is considering a new zoning ordinance that could result in rapid development of land that is now mostly rural —with serious impacts on property values, local taxes and Culpeper’s farmlands. Considering that we already have a glut of development in Culpeper, faster development is the last thing we need.