Smart growth news – July 31, 2012

Top stories

Google Move Buoys Chicago Tech Hub
Wall Street Journal – July 26, 2012
Christopher Leinberger, professor at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, said Chicago is also getting a boost from a trend in which offices and corporations are relocating from the suburbs to walkable urban areas. “The companies moved out to the suburbs because that’s where the boomers wanted to be and now they’re moving back [downtown] because that’s where their kids want to be,” he said.

Mayor, governor team up for final T-SPLOST push
Creative Loafing Atlanta (GA) – July 30, 2012
Less than 24 hours before metro Atlanta voters decide whether to tax themselves to pay for more than $8 billion in new roads and transit projects, Mayor Kasim Reed and Gov. Nathan Deal stood alongside dozens of local, state, and federal elected officials to once again urge voters to pass the T-SPLOST.

What cities are best for seniors? Try Provo, Sioux Falls
USA Today – July 31, 2012
While recreation and community engagement are a plus, the best cities for aging offer quality health care, educational and employment opportunities, and transportation and an economy that work for seniors, according to a national index released today by the Milken Institute, a non-profit think tank based in Santa Monica, Calif. The institute found the best large cities for successful aging helped keep seniors over 65 working, learning and healthy.

Building Pedestrian Friendly Environments
White House blog – July 30, 2012
To inspire and motivate people to walk, WalkBoston began creating detailed, easy to use, self-guided maps in 1995. Early maps focused on historic sites, stopping points and views that could be included in relatively short walking tours. We prepared maps on single sheets and published a book of walks in 30 neighborhoods in and near Boston.

Can We Quantify a Good Walk?
Atlantic Cities – July 30, 2012
Steve has now added another, very interesting idea to the mix: he posits that, in fact, “comfortable walking distance” is not a constant but a variable, and that the distances we are willing to travel on foot to do something depends on the quality of the environment along the way. Steve calls his concept “walk appeal.” Streets and neighborhoods that entice us to walk farther have greater walk appeal.

Local news

Boulevard fight represents divide between traditional road design, modern urban planning
The Oklahoman (OK) – July 31, 2012
Now, as state highway engineers are about to let out construction bids for the road, they’re encountering a buzz-saw of criticism that the road will kill development south of the road by Classen Boulevard and will recreate the old highway barriers that blighted the area a half-century ago.

A Development Dispute in the Grand Canyon
New York Times – July 31, 2012
Proponents bill the venture as a job-generating undertaking that could bring much-needed tourist dollars to a long-neglected 1.5-million acre area of Navajo Nation known as the Bennett Freeze. Critics say it would pose risks to a unique environment, intrude on sites sacred to various tribes and end up delivering more profits to outside investors than to locals in need.

Board Accepts Grant to Spur Downtown Growth
Hampton-NorthHampton Patch (NH) – July 31, 2012
The two-year Community Challenge Planning Grant, awarded through the New Hampshire office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be used primarily to cover consulting and analysis costs for regulation changes and their implementation, according to Town Planner Jamie Steffen.

ZOUTF Task #5: Encourage Accessory Dwellings
Decatur Metro (GA) – July 25, 2012
Decatur already allows for accessory dwellings (aka garage apartments, aka backyard apartments, aka an escape from your loud family), but Task 15b of the 2010 Decatur Strategic Plan calls for greater support of accessory dwellings.

Opinion and Editorial

Battling Sprawl: County’s new ‘smart growth’ plan draws a line
The Post-Standard (NY) – July 31, 2012
Onondaga County needs a new “smart growth” plan to steer development toward areas already served by municipal services and preserve precious open space. Fortunately, such a plan is just about ready.