Smart growth news – October 11

Poll finds support for statewide planning in New Jersey
NJBIZ, October 11, 2011
New Jersey residents support statewide planning to guide growth and development and to protect farms and open space, according to a poll released Tuesday. … The poll was commissioned by four nonprofit organizations: New Jersey Future, the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and Smart Growth America.

Obama’s infrastructure bank proposal faces first test in Republican-led House
The Hill, October 9, 2011
Advocates for reshaping the nation’s roads and bridges have criticized Obama for focusing his message on infrastructure. The president’s argument loses some effectiveness when it is focused on hard-to-visualize infrastructure rather than readily apparent crumbling roads and bridges, they say.

Obama jobs bill touted as a way to bolster infrastructure
Kansas City Star, October 7, 2011
A portion of President Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill could be a boon for Missouri highways, roads and bridges, state and local officials were told Friday.

Plan for downtown unveiled
Toledo Blade (Ohio), October 8, 2011
Crafted over nearly two years with input from planners, architects, businesses, city officials, and academics, the plan emphasizes making better use of Toledo’s existing buildings and spaces, and drawing now-disparate sections of downtown into a vibrant, cohesive whole.

Chicago’s ‘park deserts’
Chicago Tribune, October 11, 2011
Thanks to its lush, accessible lakefront, Chicago has the best front yard of any major city in the nation. But its backyard is marred by crowded stretches bereft of open space that don’t get the attention they need.

Downtown Augusta seeks tipping point to revitalization
The Augusta Chronicle (Ga.), October 8, 2011
For more than two decades, government and businesses have reinvested in downtown Augusta. Still, the tipping point for revitalization – at which market forces alone drive redevelopment – has remained elusive.

City planners want to create ‘campus corridor’
Brookings Register (S.D.), October 7, 2011
The area, councilors suggested, could be opened up for commercial development to create a campus town that would bring retail and professional services to the large student population just north of the neighborhood. Community residents could make use of the new stores there as well.

Hamilton Township planning future growth, development with vision statement
Press of Atlantic City, October 10, 2011
“Most people like the small-town feel of Hamilton Township yet they understand the need to grow. How do you grow smart? What kind of businesses do you want to attract and why?” Kesselman said. “Strategic planning never ends. If you do it appropriately and listen to the people, it will be a value to the public.”

TEDx talk: land use planning from Minnesota
San Francisco Chronicle, October 7, 2011
Here’s a video making the rounds of land-use and transporation planners. Watching it, it occurred to me that there are some intriguing ideas here that might help to inform the Mif Albright land swap discussion. Specifically about design and placement of parks, etc. It’s also a good overview of planning issues that we need to try and be more mindful of in general.

Opinion: Affordable housing shouldn’t come second to smart growth
Washington Post, October 8, 2011
Smart growth is important. Robust access to public transit may be the best way a community can affect its greenhouse gas emissions and ease traffic congestion. But that impact will be minimal if few people can afford to live near the system and use it.

Trending: Hard times in small cities

Smaller cities tighten belts
Morning Sentinel (Maine), October 9, 2011
While larger cities statewide shed dozens of government workers during the recession, many medium-sized communities avoided mass layoffs by taking drastic measures to cut government spending.

Cash-strapped cities increase water rates, other fees
Florida Today, October 9, 2011
As local property values continue to fall, many residents are seeing the city share of their property tax bill decline. But that doesn’t mean all their payments for municipal services are dropping.

Amid anti-tax mood, Ark. cities raising taxes
Associated Press, October 7, 2011
Like many residents in the central Arkansas town of Carlisle, James Dowdy doesn’t like taxes. The 70-year-old retired farm equipment salesman complains about “tax and spend” government and said he vowed to never vote for a local tax increase after the last one he supported more than 25 years ago. But that was before cracks and potholes started eating away the town’s streets and mold evicted the police from their station downtown.