Smart Growth News – October 15, 2012

Top stories

Beltline a walk in the park
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) – October 13, 2012
On Monday, Mayor Kasim Reed will dedicate what city officials are calling “the most significant step forward yet” in the long-awaited Beltline, a projected 22-mile loop in central Atlanta built upon abandoned railway corridor.

As gas prices soar, city cycling more attractive
Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle (CA) – October 13, 2012
Statewide, Californians are increasingly pumping air into the flat tires on their dusty old bikes instead of gas into their tanks. Recent historic spikes in gas prices are expected to stay high, forcing many to look at their gas guzzling minivans and SUVs in a new light.

Trulia Throws Cold Water on ‘Death of Suburbia’ Argument
Wall Street Journal – October 12, 2012
On Page One of Wednesday’s Journal, we wrote about a museum in Kansas that caters to America’s undying fascination with suburbia. Merits of the museum aside, the article highlights a persistent theme in American culture that has fascinated demographers, urbanists and especially home buyers for several generations: the question of whether or not the suburbs are alive and well or hollowed-out and dying.

The side effects of stopping sprawl
WBEZ (IL) – October 13, 2012
[I]f no one likes the suburbs, why do so many of us live there? Older American cities like Chicago and New York have actually become less dense over time (even if people are filling in some parts of the old urban core and increasing population in say, the Loop).

The SPURA Has Landed: City Council Approves 47-Year-Old Urban Renewal Project
New York Observer – October 12, 2012
Yesterday, in a unanimous vote 47 years in the making, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area has finally been approved by the City Council. SPURA, that massive parcel of barren (or in City Council speak, “under-developed”) city-owned land in Lower Manhattan, will now become a 1.65 million square foot mixed-use development.

ARC regrouping after one-sided SPLOST setback
Marietta Daily Journal (GA) – October 15, 2012
In the wake of the TSPLOST’s overwhelming defeat, Atlanta Regional Commission Chairman Tad Leithead called on metro leaders to unite with a new vision that would propel the region to a place of prosperity over the next 50 years.

The Excessive Localism of Urban Planning
Slate – October 11, 2012
It seems like a question with an obvious answer. City streets are owned by the city, which is to say the public, and access to them should be managed in the broad public interest. But as Aaron Wiener writes with regard to a project in Tenleytown in Northwest D.C., that’s not how it works in practice.

HUD awards Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants

San Francisco clinches Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants to remake public housing
San Francisco Examiner (CA) – October 14, 2012
Two public-housing sites in San Francisco will start the design process to build new mixed-use developments after receiving grants from the federal government.

HUD awards $300,000 grant to plan improvements in Lacoochee and Trilby
Tampa Bay Times (FL) – October 12, 2012
Pasco County on Thursday landed a $300,000 federal grant to create a “road map” for revitalizing the impoverished Lacoochee and Trilby communities.

Funding takes planning forward for revitalization of Lee Apartments
Times News (TN) – October 11, 2012
“This funding will enable the KHRA to take its initial discussions with local partners to plan out strategies to build a stronger, more sustainable community,” Jennings said. “HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative represents the next generation in a movement toward revitalizing entire neighborhoods to improve the lives of the residents who live there.”

$250k grant to help revitalize Columbia neighborhood
WACH-TV (SC) – October 12, 2012
“Today is about celebrating a unique opportunity to improve our city’s two oldest public housing developments and help revitalize our entire community,” said Benjamin. “It’s about standing together as one great Columbia and saying that we believe in this community, we believe in this city, we believe in the future and that future starts today.”

Northside planning grant marks start of community redevelopment
Go Upstate (SC) – October 12, 2012
The stakes are high. Success means job creation, better schools for children, healthier foods for families, potential private sector investment worth millions of dollars, and a more vibrant downtown. Failure means a broken promise to Northside residents who say their neighborhood is starting to show signs of progress.

Local news

Gillibrand: Long Beach Could Benefit from Brownfield Grants
Long Beach Patch (NY) – October 10, 2012
Long Beach was cited as one Long Island community that could receive federal grants when Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced Monday new proposed legislation, Waterfront Brownfields Revitalization Act, to help revitalize former shoreline industrial sites.

Genesee County Land Bank gets $238,999 grant from CS Mott Foundation
MLive (MI) – October 12, 2012
The grant, which was announced by the Mott Foundation earlier this week, will provide funds for the Land Bank to continue to employ a professional planning and development team.

Downtown Webber building renovation a labor of love for mayor and developers
AL.com (AL) – October 14, 2012
Urban planning leaders last week congratulated the city on the planned redevelopment of the historic Webber building in downtown Montgomery — and their efforts to move forward with the project.

Rock Hill incentives for downtown businesses raise questions
The Herald (SC) – October 14, 2012
Some other Rock Hill businesses question using city money to help pay the rent for new downtown businesses. But Rock Hill leaders say the incentive is needed to help the city reach its goal of developing downtown.

Montgomery announces new development initiatives
Montgomery Advisor (AL) – October 13, 2012
City officials have confirmed that they are negotiating with developers interested in purchasing city-owned properties on either end of Maxwell Boulevard to build a 150-unit apartment complex and a mixed-use development.

City Council to hear Urban Services report on CCC Plaza
Corvalis Gazette-Times (OR) – October 13, 2012
The Corvallis City Council meets at 6 p.m. Monday at the downtown fire station, 400 N.W. Harrison Blvd.

Citizens group reflects on 20 years in the planning trenches
Daily Interlake (MT) – October 13, 2012
As executive director of the land-use planning advocacy group for the past several years — and well before she took the director job — Flowers consistently has been a strong voice for Citizens. She’s been with the group since it formed 20 years ago.

Editorial and Opinion

The changing nature of modern suburbs: Opinion
Star-Ledger (NJ) – October 14, 2012
No longer are they lily-white, gated enclaves occupied by repressed housewives and creepy men in gray flannel suits…This comes as big cities — those supposed bastions of diversity — are becoming more white and fending off an invasion of 7-Elevens and other chain stores that had previously come to symbolize suburban, homogenized culture.

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