Smart growth news – November 28

The Death of the Fringe Suburb
New York Times (Op-Ed), November 25, 2011
Simply put, there has been a profound structural shift — a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered.

HUD Awards Bring ‘Bittersweet’ End to Sustainability Program
Streetsblog, November 23, 2011
“The communities selected to receive these grants have a great opportunity to put their plans for smarter development and economic revitalization into action,” said Geoffrey Anderson of Smart Growth America in an email. “These grants are bittersweet, however, since they come just days after Congress passed legislation that did not include specific funding for another round of HUD grants next year.”

How should we design the cities of our dreams?
Salon, November 27, 2011
This is the first story in a new series called Dream City, which will explore the way we’re designing our cities of the future, cities in which we want to live, right now. Two more stories will follow this week. Tomorrow, we’ll examine the way cities are growing with creative use of their waterfronts. And on Tuesday, we’ll look at the growing trend of removing freeways from downtown to create new pedestrian spaces.

Single-family home not everyone’s dream house
Lancaster New Era (Pa.), November 26, 2011
At a forum this week, the head of the American Planning Association will assert that while the traditional single-family neighborhood will never go the way of the dinosaur, demographic and economic revolutions mean that Lancaster County and other communities across the country will grow very differently in the future than they have in the past.

Local stories

Downtown Asheville pays its way and then some, developer says
The Asheville Citizen-Times (N.C.), November 24, 2011
Smart growth is also lucrative for local governments, says a local planner and developer who has been involved in downtown’s renaissance. Joe Minicozzi is traveling the country these days telling cities and counties that they’ll get more property tax revenue if they can focus development on downtown areas.

With apartments full, developers look for new rental opportunities in downtown Cleveland
The Plain Dealer (Ohio), November 26, 2011
The downtown apartment market has tightened up dramatically, thanks to growing zest for urban living and a housing crash that helped make apartments the hottest commodity in the real estate business. The occupancy spike – to 98 percent or higher at some buildings – has developers looking for their next project and wondering whether Cleveland can create enough supply to meet renter demand.

What do you do with an empty corporate campus?
WBEZ (Ill.), November 23, 2011
Company spokesman Jon Harris says the company believes a downtown location “would provide our new North American meats company with an environment that will be energetic, that will foster breakthrough thinking, create revolutionary products, offer fresh perspectives and really own the market.” But that means moving from Sara Lee’s headquarters and test kitchens, which are currently based in Chicago’s western suburbs, in Downers Grove, Ill.

Ex-Maryland governor: Global trends demand a different sort of community development in Berks County
Berks Community Television, November 23, 2011
Trends in demographics, culture and the economy should guide community-development efforts, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening told a crowd of Berks County business and political leaders Tuesday, Nov. 22.

Overcoming demographic challenges in Reading
Reading Eagle (Md.), November 23, 2011
“We have some plans in place in our region that fit well with Glendening’s advice, such as reviving a downtown Penn Square Market, completion of the GoggleWorks Apartments, focusing on the Penn Corridor and small town walkability projects like the plans for Sinking Spring,” [Ellen Horan, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry] said.

Trending: Driving decline

Why are US teenagers driving less?
BBC, November 27, 2011
American teenagers are taking to the road in fewer numbers than ever before. What’s behind this trend and does it mean the end of the car as adolescent status symbol and rite of passage?

More evidence indicating cars are not a priority for Generation Y
Auto-Types, November 28, 2011
At that time few considered their actions to be the start of something bigger. But now it seems the same is happening on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, in the USA. More and more Millennials are showing a lack of interest for wheeled transportation focusing instead on intelligent phones instead.

Coalition members in the news

Beyond Sprawl: The Southwest Zombie Problem
KPBS (Ariz.), November 28, 2011
Homebuilders have long made a living expanding the edges of Southwestern cities. But look around these days and you’ll find construction projects that have screeched to a halt. Up to 1 million lots in Central Arizona were in some stage of approval for new homes when the market crashed, according to the Sonoran Institute.

Mason City, St. Ansgar win state development awards
The Globe Gazette (Iowa), November 23, 2011
Wright on the Park, Inc., of Mason City, and St. Ansgar Economic Development Commission were awarded two of six 2011 Best Development Awards by the 1000 Friends of Iowa Board. The awards – given to six communities in all – were presented Nov. 12 at the 1000 Friends of Iowa annual meeting in Greenfield.

Opinion and Editorial

To Rethink Sprawl, Start With Offices
New York Times, November 25, 2011
In an era of concern about climate change, residential suburbs are the focus of a new round of critiques, as low-density developments use more energy, water and other resources. But so far there’s been little discussion of that other archetype of sprawl, the suburban office. Rethinking sprawl might begin much more effectively with these business enclaves. They cover vast areas and are occupied by a few powerful entities, corporations, which at some point will begin spending their ample reserves to upgrade, expand or replace their facilities.

Building San Antonio: The streetcar suburbs of old and new
San Antonio Express, November 25, 2011
With the advent of an improved roadway system and the ability for families to own their own car, the concept of being able to live in endless areas of new suburbs became for many, a true American dream. In the last decade, however, our dependence on the automobile and the cost of fuel has provided an impetus for reexamination of housing location options. Now there’s a focus on increased transit options that will be in place over the next few years and into the next decade.

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