Smart growth news – October 13

Trending: Hard times for small cities

Pennsylvania state capital declares bankruptcy
AFP, October 12, 2011
Pennsylvania’s state capital Harrisburg has declared bankruptcy, according to a court filing seen Wednesday, a rare move that raised the specter of a string of local government defaults.

A City Forced to Turn Out the Lights
Atlantic Cities, October 12, 2011
As cities face continued fiscal troubles, this isn’t the last we’re likely to see of this sort of drastic cost-cutting: the dark financial straits cities face mirrored by their darkened streets.

National news

White House plan for infrastructure bank ‘dead on arrival’
The Hill, October 12, 2011
President Obama’s national infrastructure bank is dead on arrival, the Republican chairman of the House Transportation Committee said Wednesday. At a hearing ostensibly held to discuss the merits of the bank, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) ridiculed the proposal as something that would cost more jobs than it would create.

Smart Growth Planning Helps Communities Grow
Mount Pleasant Patch (Wis.), October 12, 2011
A bill proposed in the state Assembly would allow communities to scrap their land use plans if they wanted to do so. Current law requires that land use plans be consistent with a municipality’s comprehensive plan. Ordinances that would be affected include: official mapping, local subdivision regulation and zoning ordinances. If a municipality creates or alters a current ordinance, the comprehensive plan has to include the required planning elements.

Low-income neighborhoods hit harder by housing crisis
Minnesota Public Radio, October 12, 2011
A new report on the housing crisis shows foreclosures have disproportionately affected low income and poor communities in St. Paul.

Housing voucher recipients moving to suburbs
Orlando Business Journal (Fla.), October 12, 2011
People who use housing choice vouchers are moving to the suburbs, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution    Metropolitan Policy Program. That means civic leaders must ensure housing opportunities connect with employment. The report analyzes data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the American Community Survey to show the implications of this trend. The vouchers help very low-income families, the disabled, and the elderly pay for housing.

Local news

Kelly: Keeping neighborhood vibrant
Omaha World-Herald (Neb.), October 13, 2011
In a metro area of strong neighborhoods, Dundee-Memorial Park in Omaha was honored Wednesday as one of the 10 best in America. A national leader in urban planning lauded the neighborhood for its “strong sense of place” and its “interesting and unique characteristics.”

Tenants set for downtown development
The Clarion-Ledger, October 11, 2011
“(Outside companies) see downtown without any people and without any cars, and they say ‘whoa, we can’t do this,'” Brown said. “But local people, local businesses understand there are a lot of people who work downtown already. There will be a lot of new businesses, a lot of new ventures that will attract people downtown.”

Our coalition in the news

Report: Marin’s inbound commuters spend $1.4 billion outside county
Marin Independent Journal (Calif.), October 11, 2011
“We wanted to look at everything that would flow out of these households,” said Robert Hickey, Marin program manager for the Non-Profit Housing Association, which produced the report together with the environmental group Greenbelt Alliance through a partnership called Live Local.

Regional effort to combat sea level rise launches on North Shore
Boston Globe, October 12, 2011
“The flooding of Peabody Square, a train line under water in Swampscott, both those are member towns [of ours],” Sam Cleaves, senior regional planner for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council said after conducting a workshop on the rising sea levels in North Shore communities last night at the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers.

Opinion: Baldwin Commission lacking in foresight
Press-Register (Ala.), October 13, 2011
Smart Coast developed a “Safe Routes To Schools” grant proposal for 100 percent federal funding approved through the Alabama Department of Transportation. One year ago, the Baldwin County Commission agreed to act as a “pass-through agency” for this funding. Last week, I watched as our county commissioners reversed the earlier decision to participate in this grass-roots effort to encourage children to use safe walking and biking routes to school.