Smart growth news – November 22

Valley gets $3.4 million to study development
The Morning Call (Pa.), November 21, 2011
Developers have long tried to lure commute-weary homebuyers with signs that say “If you lived here you’d be home by now.” A consortium of Lehigh Valley planning groups has been awarded $3.4 million by the federal government to try to make that dream — of living closer to work and enjoying an improved quality of life — reachable for more people.

N.J. gets $5 million HUD grant for regional planning
The Star-Ledger (N.J.), November 21, 2011
Federal officials today awarded New Jersey a $5 million grant to develop regional economic plans for 13 northern counties to attract businesses and jobs to areas with solid residential communities and good transportation systems.

A land bank helped Flint, Michigan, expert says, and could help New York cities, too
The Business Review (N.Y.), November 22, 2011
Daniel T. Kildee, founder of the Genesee County Land Bank in Michigan, told a group of about 80 public and private sector officials in Albany, New York, that land banks can help local counties, cities and towns make better use of tax-foreclosed properties.

Main Street making a comeback at the expense of the shopping mall
Washington Post, November 20, 2011
Shopping malls gained stature in many corners of America by evolving into mini-cities, places where senior citizens took exercise walks and Girl Scout troops sold cookies. Some malls leased space to Post Offices and libraries. On Halloween, the mall became a place to trick-or-treat and come Christmas time, it was where Santa Claus spent the day accepting wish lists. In short, the most successful malls usurped the role of Main Street as the commercial and even cultural center of the communities they served.

Is the Housing Crash Fueling Suburbanization?
Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2011
The suburbanization of America is not new, but a report from the real-estate website Trulia suggests that dramatic drops in home prices could be opening the way for buyers to find homes on their favorite cul-de-sac.

Budget crises make mayors feel like “bad guys”: poll
Reuters, November 22, 2011
Mayors of U.S. cities and towns feel they are being cast as the “bad guys” as they attempt to address budget crises, often through tax hikes and service cuts, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

Infrastructure Conference Promotes Planning that Adds Value
Nation’s Cities Weekly, November 21, 2011
John Norquist, former mayor of Milwaukee, and president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), kicked off the Infrastructure Conference, one of four concurrent conferences held during NLC’s Congress of Cities in Phoenix. His advice for city leaders: be selfish. More specifically, he urged city leaders to “always ask the question ‘What adds value for my community?’ and that will lead you in the right direction,” when it comes to local infrastructure planning.

Act now for a healthier Richmond
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Va.), November 21, 2011
That’s why the latest report from the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Partnership for Smarter Growth is a must-read for Richmond-area planners, voters, elected officials and students of community design. Its contribution to the regional dialogue is clear advocacy for smarter “policies, patterns and projects” for transportation and land-use.

Local stories

Work to begin on next vision for downtown Fort Worth
Star-Telegram (Texas), November 20, 2011
In January, hundreds of “visionaries” will begin the yearlong process of designing the fourth, 10-year master plan for downtown Fort Worth.

Binghamton to plan Main Street redevelopment
Press & Sun-Bulletin (N.Y.), November 21, 2011
The city will use a $485,058 federal grant to pay for a plan to develop 1.7 miles along Main Street, including a complete zoning overhaul, city officials said.

Northeast Ohio plagued by 30,000 vacant homes awaiting demolition
ABC 5 (Ohio), November 21, 2011
Local lawmakers believe more federal demolition funds must be found to stop the dramatic drop in northeast Ohio property values. Former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis said he believes the number of condemned homes and buildings in northeast Ohio has ballooned to 30,000.

Opinion and Editorial

Smart growth leverages many opportunities
Southern Maryland Newspapers, November 18, 2011
While our forests, wetlands and rivers continue to be destroyed, government and taxpayers are simultaneously realizing that it is too costly to extend infrastructure roads, schools, water, sewer, communications and utility services far and wide.

A land bank helped Flint, Michigan, expert says, and could help New York cities, too
http://www.bizjournals.com/albany/morning_call/2011/11/a-land-bank-helped-flint-michigan.html
The Business Review (N.Y.), November 22, 2011
Daniel T. Kildee, founder of the Genesee County Land Bank in Michigan, told a group of about 80 public and private sector officials in Albany, New York, that land banks can help local counties, cities and towns make better use of tax-foreclosed properties.

Valley gets $3.4 million to study development
http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-allentown-planning-grant-20111121,0,3134341.story
The Morning Call (Pa.), November 21, 2011
Developers have long tried to lure commute-weary homebuyers with signs that say “If you lived here you’d be home by now.” A consortium of Lehigh Valley planning groups has been awarded $3.4 million by the federal government to try to make that dream — of living closer to work and enjoying an improved quality of life — reachable for more people.

N.J. gets $5 million HUD grant for regional planning
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/11/nj_gets_5_million_hud_grant_fo.html
The Star-Ledger (N.J.), November 21, 2011
Federal officials today awarded New Jersey a $5 million grant to develop regional economic plans for 13 northern counties to attract businesses and jobs to areas with solid residential communities and good transportation systems.

Main Street making a comeback at the expense of the shopping mall
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/main-street-making-a-comeback-at-the-expense-of-the-shopping-mall/2011/11/18/gIQAfnEhfN_story.html
Washington Post, November 20, 2011
Shopping malls gained stature in many corners of America by evolving into mini-cities, places where senior citizens took exercise walks and Girl Scout troops sold cookies. Some malls leased space to Post Offices and libraries. On Halloween, the mall became a place to trick-or-treat and come Christmas time, it was where Santa Claus spent the day accepting wish lists. In short, the most successful malls usurped the role of Main Street as the commercial and even cultural center of the communities they served.

Is the Housing Crash Fueling Suburbanization?
http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2011/11/19/is-the-housing-crash-fueling-suburbanization/
Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2011
The suburbanization of America is not new, but a report from the real-estate website Trulia suggests that dramatic drops in home prices could be opening the way for buyers to find homes on their favorite cul-de-sac.

Budget crises make mayors feel like “bad guys”: poll
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/22/us-usa-cities-mayors-idUSTRE7AL0CI20111122
Reuters, November 22, 2011
Mayors of U.S. cities and towns feel they are being cast as the “bad guys” as they attempt to address budget crises, often through tax hikes and service cuts, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

Infrastructure Conference Promotes Planning that Adds Value
http://www.nlc.org/news-center/nations-cities-weekly/articles/2011/november/infrastructure-conference-promotes-planning-that-adds-value-
Nation’s Cities Weekly, November 21, 2011
John Norquist, former mayor of Milwaukee, and president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), kicked off the Infrastructure Conference, one of four concurrent conferences held during NLC’s Congress of Cities in Phoenix. His advice for city leaders: be selfish. More specifically, he urged city leaders to “always ask the question ‘What adds value for my community?’ and that will lead you in the right direction,” when it comes to local infrastructure planning.

Act now for a healthier Richmond
http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/commentary/2011/nov/20/tdcomm02-act-now-for-a-healthier-richmond-ar-1469707/
Richmond Times-Disptach (Va.), November 21, 2011
That’s why the latest report from the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Partnership for Smarter Growth is a must-read for Richmond-area planners, voters, elected officials and students of community design. Its contribution to the regional dialogue is clear advocacy for smarter “policies, patterns and projects” for transportation and land-use.

Local stories

Work to begin on next vision for downtown Fort Worth
http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/11/20/3540483/work-to-begin-on-next-vision-for.html
Star-Telegram (Texas), November 20, 2011
In January, hundreds of “visionaries” will begin the yearlong process of designing the fourth, 10-year master plan for downtown Fort Worth.

Binghamton to plan Main Street redevelopment
http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20111121/NEWS01/111210373/Binghamton-plan-Main-Street-redevelopment
Press & Sun-Bulletin (N.Y.), November 21, 2011
The city will use a $485,058 federal grant to pay for a plan to develop 1.7 miles along Main Street, including a complete zoning overhaul, city officials said.

Northeast Ohio plagued by 30,000 vacant homes awaiting demolition
http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/money/consumer/troubleshooter/northeast-ohio-plagued-by-30000-vacant-homes-awaiting-demolition
ABC 5 (Ohio), November 21, 2011
Local lawmakers believe more federal demolition funds must be found to stop the dramatic drop in northeast Ohio property values. Former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis said he believes the number of condemned homes and buildings in northeast Ohio has ballooned to 30,000.

Opinion and Editorial

Smart growth leverages many opportunities
http://www.somdnews.com/article/20111118/OPINION/711189815/-1/smart-growth-leverages-many-opportunities
Southern Maryland Newspapers, November 18, 2011
While our forests, wetlands and rivers continue to be destroyed, government and taxpayers are simultaneously realizing that it is too costly to extend infrastructure roads, schools, water, sewer, communications and utility services far and wide.

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