Smart growth news – November 1

What do Americans think about Sustainable Communities?
Citiwire, October 28, 2011
Anyone who has ever watched an episode of The West Wing or followed the national network’s television coverage on election night has a general idea of how common the use of polls has become to the policy formulation process in our country. Our leaders and public officials have turned to the tools of marketers to help decipher which direction the figurative winds are blowing before they step into the fray. So why wouldn’t planning and smart growth advocates do the same? Last fall, Smart Growth America (SGA) did just that.

In Minneapolis, a new era for neighborhoods
Star Tribune (Minn.), October 31, 2011
For 20 years, a $300 million civic experiment won international plaudits for reshaping Minneapolis from the neighborhoods up. Now the city is preparing for life after the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.

Senate vote due on infrastructure bank proposal
The Hill, October 31, 2011
President Obama’s proposal to create a national infrastructure bank and spend $50 billion on transportation to stimulate job growth will be up for a vote in the Senate this week.

West Side Home Values Double, in Some Cases Triple
WGRZ (Buffalo, N.Y.), October 31, 2011
Homes on Buffalo’s West Side that once sold for as little as a few thousand dollars are now on the market for $155,000 or more…”We’ve cleaned up vacant lots, we’ve planted trees, we’ve put in gardens, we’ve painted houses,” said Garrett. “We’ve identified who the owners were, we’ve taken people to housing court, we’ve put pressure on people to either fix the properties or sell them, we’ve stopped demolitions and we’ve brought people in that were looking for properties that were either interested in vacant properties that would fix them up and live in them.”

EDC Tour in Prince George’s County Focused on Expanded Development
Washington Informer, October 31, 2011
Despite ongoing reports on the stagnating economy, there is fertile ground for growth of new and existing businesses in Prince George’s County, as evidenced by the recent bus tour sponsored by County Executive Rushern Baker and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

Rural officials criticize state’s anti-sprawl plan
Baltimore Sun, October 31, 2011
A panel of experts on environmental and growth issues offered harsh criticism Monday of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed statewide smart-growth strategy at a forum attended by more than 100 people from some of the most rural parts of the state.

Coalition members in the news

San Jose’s general plan sets the right direction for growth
San Jose Mercury (Calif.), October 31, 2011
San Jose is taking a monumental step toward its long-term health: On Tuesday, the City Council is on track to approve a General Plan that lays the foundation for transforming a suburban, auto-centric city into a more walkable, dynamic city of neighborhoods and people-friendly streets. Despite struggling with budget deficits and an eviscerated redevelopment agency, San Jose has taken the long view to envision a 21st century city. The challenge now lies in creating the city imagined in this progressive plan.

Opinions and Editorial

PlanMaryland will save, not destroy, the rural way of life
Baltimore Sun, October 31, 2011
Our rationale for the need for a state growth plan for Maryland is also straightforward: The data on land consumption, environmental impact, loss of farms and forest, commute times and public infrastructure spending have been moving for decades in a direction that’s not sustainable, not cost-effective and imperils the reason we love Maryland. I see the waterways that I enjoyed as a boy growing up on the Eastern Shore continually threatened, the rural areas I helped plan as a county planner being overtaken, and some cities and towns struggling economically as growth has spread far beyond them.

A national infrastructure bank would tap the private sector, protect taxpayers
Sacramento Bee, October 31, 2011
We disagree about President Barack Obama’s job proposal, and we have very different views about why America continues to be mired in economic doldrums, and what it will take for the nation to recover. Nevertheless, we were both pleased when the president recently embraced an idea that, as he said, “came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat … the kind of proposal that’s been supported in the past by Democrats and Republicans alike.”

Nation needs long-term plan to pay for roads
Indianapolis Star, October 31, 2011
Indiana has earned the designation as the Crossroads of America because of its considerable network of roads, bridges and highways. But without a long-term plan for funding the nation’s transportation infrastructure, what the state has spent decades building could be in jeopardy.

Supporting PART is good investment
Winston-Salem Journal (N.C.), October 30, 2011
If PART is going to continue to have a positive impact on regional growth and tourism, serve as a catalyst for new jobs and enable the Triad to be a thriving and competitive region, then we need local funding support. In the past few days, Guilford and Forsyth have made generous contributions, which, hopefully, will encourage others to do the same. Supporting PART is a good investment once you know the facts.

Why Buffalo is jumping to the forefront of urban planning
Buffalo Rising, October 29, 2011
The Buffalo Green Code project was launched last fall with a mission to eliminate these barriers.  It seeks to rebuild our City through two approaches: first, use a place-making strategy to guide the future development of our City’s neighborhoods and second, to implement the place-making strategy, create a form-based zoning code that is clear, visual and predictable. Both build on Buffalo’s existing strengths as a City with exceptional urbanism that began with Joseph Ellicott’s innovative radial street plan that created great public places by uniting streets at key points, while emphasizing the urban center, and Olmsted’s golden necklace of parks and parkways that connected neighborhoods with beautiful public places rarely seen in an industrial city.

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