Smart Growth News – January 9, 2013

Real Estate Is Far From a Free Market, Report Says
Wall Street Journal – January 9, 2013
The federal government spends about $450 billion a year on real estate, a sum that includes direct spending, loan guarantees and tax breaks like the mortgage-interest deduction, according to a report released today by Smart Growth America, an organization that pushes for so-called smart growth that centers around denser neighborhoods and public transit.

How the Federal Government Dramatically Skews the U.S. Real Estate Market
Atlantic Cities – January 8, 2013
One of most persistent canards about American communities is the idea that they’ve been built entirely by demand.

Suburban sprawl could destroy up to 34 million acres of forests, says new study
NRDC Switchboard – January 8, 2013
Scientists at the US Forest Service and partners at universities, non-profits and other agencies predict that urban and developed land areas in the US will increase 41 percent by 2060.  Forested areas will be most impacted by this expansion, with losses ranging from 16 to 34 million acres in the lower 48 states.

New FTA Rules Are Good News for People Who Like Walkable Neighborhoods
Slate – January 8, 2013
The Federal Transit Administration is rolling out an important tweak to its grant criteria for mass transit projects in a way that should make the New Starts program substantially friendlier to dense walkable neighborhoods.

Three Keys for Drawing Drivers to Mass Transit
Atlantic Cities – January 8, 2013
A strong mass transit system needs frequent and reliable service to maintain its ridership, and the ability to reach job centers across a metro area (not just in the central business district) helps too.

Mixed-Use Development Goes Mainstream – January 9, 2013
Developing the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago mixed-use development—which houses a hotel as well as apartments, offices and condominiums—was no easy task. Finding financing proved to be difficult and legal red tape abounded.

Local News

Comstock Announces Its Next Transit-Oriented Development
Globe Newswire – January 9, 2013
Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional housing options proximate to transit, Comstock Holding Companies, Inc. of Washington, DC (Nasdaq:CHCI) announces plans for a new residential project in Rockville, Maryland immediately adjacent to the Shady Grove Metro Station, the terminus of DC’s Red Line.

Detroit Works unveils ‘Future City’ concept, suggests uses for vacant land
Detroit Free Press (MI) – January 8, 2013
Following two years of study and 30,000 conversations with the public, the Detroit Works Long-Term Planning team is unveiling a book-length final report this week that holds out the promise of a better, if different, Detroit.

San Marcos Road Eyed as ‘Complete Street’
U-T San Diego (CA) – January 9, 2013
A nondescript San Marcos road could be on its way to becoming a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly “complete street.”

Sommerville planners outline ‘walkable’ city vision
Wicked Local Sommerville (MA) – January 9, 2013
Imagine European-style plazas with central towers or fountains, five-point squares with flatiron buildings, increased green space and trees, and cafes or roof gardens atop industrial buildings – that’s what the Somerville of the future could look like, according to city planners.

Sustainability is a worthy ‘destiny driver’
Crookston Times (MN) – January 8, 2013
One group of us is focused on the concept of sustainability as a guiding principle to development. Sustainability is a broad concept but in short, it is about the conservative use of resources and  includes:  recycling, use of “green products,” wise land use planning, energy conservation and efficiency, shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and soil conservation to save nutrients and improve water quality.