Smart growth news – November 8

Boise writes new city blueprint
Idaho Statesman, November 8, 2011
Boiseans don’t like strip malls. They don’t like architecture that’s out of scale with pedestrians. Nor do they like development patterns that line thoroughfares with parking lots. They do like walkable mixed-use developments like Bown Crossing, Hyde Park and the 36th Street Garden Plaza, with homes, cafes and parking lots tucked out of sight and the needs of pedestrians balanced with those of drivers. That’s what Boise city staffers learned during the past four years as they worked with residents to develop a new comprehensive plan, the first since 1997.

The myth of the progressive city
Salon, November 7, 2011
[T]wo or three decades ago, there may have been some truth to the notion that the American city is a union-driven bastion of populist progressive economics. But today, while cities may still largely vote Democratic, they are increasingly embracing the economics of corporatism. The result is that urban areas are a driving force behind the widening intra-party rift between the corporatist, pro-privatization Wall Street Democrats and the traditional labor-progressive “Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.”

A Bridge Too Far? U.S. Infrastructure’s Future Depends on Current Debate
International Business Times, November 7, 2011
America’s bridges are crossed an average of 4 billion times every day; 282 million of those treks involve structurally deficient spans. As America’s infrastructure ages, the ranks of deficient bridges will grow, doubling by 2030 if not addressed, according to Transportation for America.

Of mice and mayors: San Francisco candidates thin on urban vision
Examiner, November 7, 2011
Big plans and big city mayors seem to go together.  But this November’s mayoral race in San Francisco is filled with candidates of small ideas when it comes to urban design and planning.

Can Detroit Grow Green Shoots With a Budget In the Red?
Forbes, November 7, 2011
Detroit seem to arrive from two entirely different cities. One city is the home of an unexpected resurgence. Fueled by a handful of energetic start-ups, the downtown is slowly pulling in workers and occupants. It’s an image that city boosters, from local financiers to D.C. officials, prefer to project.

Milford plans for downtown makeover
Connecticut Post, November 6, 2011
For the second time in a decade planners have a chance to “remake” downtown, but with the few retail stores it has fleeing, it is easier to say what Milford Center won’t become than what it will.

Pr. George’s county executive objects to Carroll official’s remarks on smart growth
Washington Post, November 7, 2011
Carroll County officials recently “disrespected” Prince George’s by offering it as an example of failed smart-growth policies in their fight against Gov. Martin O’Malley’s land-use plans, said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III. Baker (D) conveyed his objections in a letter Nov. 3 to Carroll Commissioner Richard Rothschild (R-District 4). Baker said Rothschild offered Prince George’s as a place where smart growth has led to increased crime and poor schools.

Word on the Street: Fresno gets new business center
Fresno Bee (Calif.), November 6, 2011
Fresno developer Darius Assemi, who is known for building single-family homes, has opened a new business center for entrepreneurs and small-business owners in downtown Fresno. Biz-Werx is in the old San Francisco Floral building at Fulton and Calaveras streets just blocks from Assemi’s Fulton Village, a mixed-use residential and commercial project that opened last month.

Michigan Governor Ignites Spark in Transportation Reform
Michigan Land Use Institute, October 28, 2011
Governor Rick Snyder’s special message last Wednesday for a new transportation strategy in Michigan is receiving positive reviews from those seeking reform in the state because he’s not just trying to fix roads and patch potholes, but is instead proposing a long-term solution for transportation funding and improving public transit.

Coalition members in the news

Streetscape Project dedicated in Jena
The Jena Times (La.), November 2, 2011
Sen. Landrieu was responsible for helping to secure funding for the Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX), which operates out of Baton Rouge. CPEX awarded the town of Jena $80,000 to participate in the Community Planning Program. The seed money was matched by the town and a consultant team led by Code Studio help develop the community’s first ever town plan “Jena’s Vision” with the Streetscape program being a pilot program of that plan.

Opinion and Editorial

A strategic plan to help N.J. capitalize on its assets
NJBIZ, November 7, 2011
“To attract and retain people, industry and investment, and to live within the state’s means, the Christie administration must lead the state in a new approach to economic development.” This is the advice the Governor’s Institute on Community Design, a nonprofit that provides practical strategies to governors for attracting growth and development to their state, offered to Gov. Chris Christie following an intensive two-day workshop in May.

Making city streets safer for pedestrians
Philadelphia Inquirer, November 8, 2011
Getting from one place to another safely and efficiently is a fundamental part of life. Philadelphia is fortunate in that a good portion of the population lives relatively close to the heart of the city, permitting many to get around by foot and bicycle. So how much should we value making transportation safer and more efficient, including walking and biking, and how should we balance that against our romance with cars?