Smart growth news – November 14

U.S. Farmers Reclaim Land From Developers
Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2011
Five years into a brutal national housing downturn, raw land destined for residential development has fallen so far in value that thousands of acres across the country are being used again for agriculture.

McMansions swell the real eastate market as homebuyers think small
The Star-Ledger (N.J.), November 13, 2011
Certain homebuyers once prized these large houses, tucked away on a few acres of land and featuring half a dozen bedrooms, grand entranceways, and three-car garages. But in the face of the economic collapse, declines in personal wealth, a tight housing market, and a shift of what prospective homeowners want, all that has changed. Major demographic changes could also make the market shrink even further in the next five years, as baby boomers retire and look to downsize. The generation behind them is smaller and has less money and a desire to live closer to urban centers.

In Shift, More People Move In to New York Than Out
New York Times, November 11, 2011
While much of the city’s population growth in recent years has been fueled by the influx of immigrants and more people being born than dying, there have been new waves of arrivals from other parts of the country and fewer New Yorkers leaving. In 2010, 252,000 people moved to New York — 157,000 from elsewhere in the country — while 220,000 left, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That contrasts sharply with 2006, when 230,000 arrived and 341,000 left.

Americans’ Favorite 15 Cities in the United States
International Business Times, November 12, 2011
The top 15 American cities favored by citizens of the United States were revealed by a recent poll conducted by one of the world’s leading custom market-research firms.

Senate EPW Committee approves MAP-21 by 18-0 vote
Logistics Management, November 10, 2011
On November 9, the United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) signed off on legislation spearheaded by committee chair Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) that would keep surface transportation spending at current levels by an 18-0 vote.

Station center of Westminster-RTD plan
Denver Post, November 9, 2011
Commuter rail is coming to Westminster and the city is looking to make sure future development will be ready to take advantage of it. A proposed agreement between the Regional Transportation District and Westminster will be discussed in a City Council executive session Nov. 14. The transit-oriented development plan is linked with the commuter rail station scheduled to be completed in 2016 at Irving Street and 70th Avenue in south Westminster.

City, UI full steam ahead on Riverfront Crossings
Iowa City Press Citizen, November 11, 2011
The area was heavily affected by the 2008 flood, and City Planner Jeff Davidson said the city, Johnson County, the University of Iowa and private developers each are working on new construction and revitalization projects within the area south of downtown.

It’s time to forget the big-box store Downtown . . . and think small
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, November 13, 2011
They were asked to share their views after news broke last week that Mr. Ravenstahl, faced with the loss of the Saks Fifth Avenue department store, had convened the Downtown Retail Working Group to help keep existing retailers in place and entice others to move into the city’s core. But rather than soliciting big box or department stores, the consensus approach would be to cultivate the growth of more boutiques or specialty stores that would be unique to Downtown.

City of Westminster nets state designation as ‘sustainable community’
Baltimore Sun, November 12, 2011
The City of Westminster was one of five Maryland community cited this week as a “sustainable community” by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the state Department of Planning.

Coalition members in the news

Peter O’Neill, Star river walk win Idaho Smart Growth awards
Idaho Statesman, November 11, 2011
The Idaho Smart Growth has announced its 2011 award winners. The awards recognize projects and planning efforts across the state that best characterize the ideals and goals of smart growth principles: support and revitalize existing communities, preserve land and natural resources from the adverse effects of sprawl development and promote quality of life.

1000 Friends hosts land-use meeting for mid-valley farmers
Corvallis Gazette-Times (Ore.), November 12, 2011
Agriculture is changing, and 1000 Friends of Oregon wants to be sure the state’s land use laws keep pace without relaxing safeguards that protect farmland from development. To find ways to do that, the Portland-based watchdog group has launched a major policy initiative called the New Face of Farming. The idea is to gather ideas from agricultural producers to help shape the organization’s legislative agenda with a series of seven listening sessions around the state, including one next week in Corvallis.

Prince George’s mishandled Metro stop growth, experts say
Washington Examiner, November 13, 2011
Prince George’s County’s development over the last decade has been anything but smart, regional experts say, as the county’s quest to attract federal agencies has not spurred the type of redevelopment officials desire. Agencies like the Census Bureau, located at the Suitland Metro station, and the Internal Revenue Service, stationed at New Carrollton, have failed to blend with the surrounding community, according to Cheryl Cort, policy director a the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

Smart Planning the Iowa Way
Public News Service,  November 11, 2011
Sustainable development through smart planning will be showcased Saturday in Greenfield during the annual meeting of the organization 1000 Friends of Iowa. Part of the day will be spent touring Greenfield’s town square, which has been a Main Street community since 1995, and showcases the way the small Iowa town has not allowed its city core to fall into disrepair.

Opinion and Editorial

In Storm’s Wake, Thanks And Smart Growth
Hartford Courant (Conn.), November 12, 2011
Also, we need to kick-start the state’s lagging smart growth efforts. Part of the problem in restoring electricity was sprawl. The longer the distances that have to be covered to serve distant, large-lot developments, the more vulnerable the wires are to storm damage. City residents lose power less often and for shorter amounts of time than denizens of distant subdivisions.

Walking, biking infrastructure safer for kids, smart for taxpayers
Pensacola News Journal (Fla.), November 12, 2011
In spite of progress in recent years, so much of the county remains blanketed in an unsafe walking infrastructure. The lack of safe walking infrastructure has a substantial public cost most of us are not aware of.