Smart growth news – January 10, 2012

Trending News: The Foreclosure Crisis

White House wants to convert foreclosed houses to rentals
MSNCBC – January 9, 2012

The Obama administration, in conjunction with federal regulators and led by the overseer of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are very close to announcing a pilot program to sell government-owned foreclosures in bulk to investors as rentals, according to administration officials.

Factbox: Fed doves look to spur housing, hawks balk
Reuters – January 9, 2012

Federal Reserve officials are divided over the need for more accommodation to ensure the economic recovery gains enough velocity to pull free from its stop and start slog, despite rock-bottom interest rates for more than three years and $2.3 trillion in bond purchases designed to stimulate growth.

The Fed’s Housing Politics
Wall Street Journal – January 10, 2012

These columns have defended the independence of the Federal Reserve from attacks on the right and left, but after last week the central bank is on its own. It’s impossible to defend the Fed’s rank electioneering as it lobbies for more political and taxpayer intervention in the housing market—just in time for the election campaign.

Action on U.S. Housing Still Vital for Economic Expansion
San Francisco Chronicle – January 9, 2012

Housing is where the recession started, and it remains one of the main things holding back the recovery.

The Foreclosure Crisis: A Nation in Denial
Huffington Post – January 9, 2012

As we start the New Year, the executive branch and Congress continue to pretend the gravest risk to our economy and social stability does not exist: the ongoing foreclosure crisis. The financial crisis began with the housing crisis and it will not end until we resolve housing. Government policymakers who seemingly ignore this basic fact are leading the nation to another potential catastrophe.

Time to Get Serious About the Housing Market
Center for American Progress Report – January 9, 2012

Unless we find better solutions soon, the housing market will likely stifle our already-fledgling economic recovery.

Local News

Mixed-use project to get underway this month in downtown L.A.
Los Angeles Times – January 10, 2012

Plans by Los Angeles architect Michael Maltzan call for 438 apartments and 78,620 square feet of office and retail space, along with nearly 50,000 square feet of public outdoor space. When completed in 2014, it is to have an outdoor terrace, a grocery store, art gallery, a theater and a garden.

DECD Gives Green for Brownfields
Connecticut Business Journal – January 10, 2012

Awards included nearly $13 million in loans and $4.6 million in grants that is channeled directly to municipalities, businesses, developers and regional development agencies for activities such as environmental assessment, planning, design, remediation, demolition, construction and acquisition. The state also offers a third-party liability-protection program for eligible brownfields redevelopers.

Ed Lee needs help from business to achieve goals
San Francisco Chronicle – January 10, 2012

“We want billionaires to share the values of the city,” Lee said. And now more than ever, he added, given the cutbacks in state and federal funding and the imminent demise of the city’s redevelopment agency.

Do Arlington candidates only like smart growth in theory?
Greater Greater Washington – January 9, 2012

Every Democratic candidate running for Arlington County Board claims to support smart growth. But when smart growth runs up against single-family homeowners’ interests, are they willing to make tough choices? At a recent forum, statements from most candidates weren’t promising.

City may take over Long Beach RDA
Press Telegram – January 9, 2012

The City Council on Jan. 17 is expected to adopt a resolution appointing the city as the RDA’s successor agency and transferring all of its housing functions and assets to the city effective Feb. 1, according to the Jan. 17 council agenda released today.

The Upside of Cuomo’s Convention Center Plan: Urbanism on the West Side
Streetsblog – January 9, 2012

Cuomo’s plan to redevelop the Javits site using “the Battery Park City model” — presumably by offering long-term leases piece-by-piece to different developers, working from a set of planning guidelines — could create a cohesive district on the western edge of the neighborhood and finally reconnect city streets to the waterfront.

Vision Dixie a work in progress
The Spectrum (UT) – January 9, 2012

As Washington County grows and develops, it will be up to the residents to make sure the smart growth principles of Vision Dixie are applied, according to those who helped get the regional planning effort started.

Opinion and Editorial

Billion-dollar challenge
The Buffalo News – January 9, 2012

Time for Buffalo to roll up its sleeves. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo says the city will have to work for the $1 billion economic development bonanza he proposed in last week’s State of the State address.

Guest Editorial: Urban renewal works well
Democrat Herald (Albany, NY) – January 10, 2012

Every dollar invested by the urban renewal agency has attracted more than eight dollars in private money to construct new buildings, rehabilitate old structures, create jobs and install infrastructure.

Doug Kaplan: Beware of unintended consequences if redevelopment is revived
Mercury News – January 9, 2012

And as for the “eradication of urban blight” — the entire justification for redevelopment — well, that had nothing to do with anything. The county simply wanted the office park for its own use, so it invoked the legal and financial powers of its redevelopment agency to get it.

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