Smart growth news – January 25, 2012

SGA in the News:

Anderson: Address the Housing Crisis’s Underlying Issues
Roll Call – January 25, 2012

In rebuilding our economy, lawmakers and the administration must take a concerted look at where America is going, with market demand and community support as the key indicators. Comprehensive housing and real estate finance policy change is the only solution that will promote economic recovery and enable the creation of great neighborhoods nationwide.

National and Local News:

The Urban Message Missing From the State of the Union
The Atlantic Cities – January 25, 2012

High-speed rail, or any infrastructure not associated with a car-dominant lifestyle, didn’t merit a mention. As examples of what we should be shooting for, he called out the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, and, of course, the interstate highway system.

‘Social Equity’ to Be Weighed in Transit Funding Under U.S. Rule
Bloomberg – January 24, 2012

Its proposed rules, to be published in the Federal Register today, are part of a move over the past two years to alter the criteria that President George W. Bush’s administration used to award grants for light-rail, subway and rapid-bus systems … Under the proposal, the agency would consider a project’s effects on air pollution, energy use, greenhouse-gas emissions and safety, and “social equity impacts” such as affordable housing and job creation.

Obama Call to Use War Savings on U.S. Roads May Fail in Congress
Bloomberg Business Week – January 25, 2012

Obama is seeking to use half of the savings created by withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Iraq to rebuild U.S. infrastructure, helping companies ship goods more efficiently, the White House said in a fact sheet yesterday. The plan would fix existing roads and invest more in high-speed rail, according to the fact sheet.

The Environmental Value of Building Reuse
A report from the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Reusing existing buildings is good for the economy, the community and the environment. At a time when our country’s foreclosure and unemployment rates remain high, communities would be wise to reinvest in their existing building stock. Historic rehabilitation has a thirty-two year track record of creating 2 million jobs and generating $90 billion in private investment. Studies show residential rehabilitation creates 50% more jobs than new construction.

U.S. states and cities ranked for biking, walking habits
Los Angeles Times – January 24, 2012

Alaska has the highest number of bicycle and pedestrian commuters and Alabama has the lowest, according to a new report on bicycling and walking in the U.S.

Why the Most Environmental Building is the Building We’ve Already Built
The Atlantic Cities – January 24, 2012

Reusing an old building pretty much always has less of an impact on the environment than tearing it down, trashing the debris, clearing the site, crafting new materials and putting up a replacement from scratch. This makes some basic sense, even without looking at the numbers. But what if the new building is super energy-efficient? How do the two alternatives compare over a lifetime, across generations of use?

The new American dream: developer says people want walkable urban options
Weld Birmingham – January 24, 2012

Leinberger cited other cities that have recently passed transit initiatives and said that this represents a challenge for Birmingham. “If you’re not going to keep up with Dallas and Houston and the rest of the places that are investing in rail transit, you’re going to be left in the dust,” he said.

Highway bill with no earmarks? A rough road
Politico – January 24, 2012

Without earmarks, lawmakers may turn to the Department of Transportation in order to get their districts’ projects funded, and experienced pols will still be at an advantage. That’s because an earmark ban effectively translates to more power for state transportation departments and the Obama administration and less for individual members.

Will Gen Y Lead the Shift from Gas-Powered Cars to Hybrids and Electric Vehicles?
Time – January 24, 2012

Based on the results of a study conducted by Deloitte, it’s clear that if Gen Y are going to own cars, they prefer vehicles with some degree of “electrification.” In other words, they like hybrids or EVs, which to varying degrees both utilize battery power rather than old-fashioned gasoline power.

Say What?
Metropolis Magazine – January 25, 2012

As I woke up, I warmed to a curious notion: The Domain was a mall making a valiant effort not to be one. The real estate term for this kind of place is “lifestyle center.” But unlike the others I’ve visited—The Grove in Los Angeles or Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, California—this one wasn’t mired in some Disney version of the past. It was trying hard—maybe too hard—to be of the moment, and it was more or less succeeding.

Federal plan could pick up where redevelopment left off
San Gabriel Valley Tribune – January 24, 2012

Last Wednesday. Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., introduced H.R. 3780, which would amend the federal tax code allowing for the establishment of Regional Infrastructure Improvement Zones.