Smart growth news – September 8

Culture change or fad? Twin Cities population shifts toward central core
Finance & Commerce (Minn.), September 7, 2011
All that talk in recent years about “transit-oriented” and “mixed-use” developments appears to be more than just talk: Regional planners now have the data to back it up. Planners for the Metropolitan Council released the information, which points to a statistically significant trend of more people in the seven-county metro region moving closer to the central core of cities and to more accessible transit options in higher-density areas. The land-use data also project a fast acceleration of the shift in the next 20 years.

Behind President Obama’s Call For More Infrastructure Projects
Streetsblog, September 7, 2011
Considering that politicians, including Obama, are looking to infrastructure as a job creator, they’d be wise to reassess those spending priorities. A Smart Growth America report earlier this year showed that stimulus-funded public transportation projects created 19,299 jobs per billion dollars spent, where the stimulus road projects created just 10,493 jobs for the same money.

MIT’s Free Urban Planning Software Will Help Build The Cities Of The Future
Fast Company, September 7, 2011
If we are to improve the quality of life in our cities–27 of which are expected to have more than 10 million people by 2020–we will have to find a better way to build them. MIT’s new software will help.

Infrastructure Bank: Fixing how we fix roads
CNN Money, September 7, 2011
Working through the I-Bank, the government would encourage private investment by providing cheap loans and loan guarantees. But it would only fund a fraction of the overall cost, just enough to attract private investors who would provide most of the financing.

City growth worldwide intensifies sprawl concerns, study finds
Yale Daily News, September 6, 2011
A new study, co-authored by Yale urban environment professor Karen C. Seto, predicts a major global expansion of urban land over the next two decades. The study, which was published in the Aug. 18 issue of the journal PLosOne, projects that by 2030, cities will gain an amount of land roughly equal to that of Mongolia. This extensive and rapid growth will pose significant challenges to urban environments, the researchers said.

Hill Country Mile taking shape
San Antonio Express, September 8, 2011
The target area, called “a Texas mile,” — it’s actually 1.1 miles — stretches from Oak Park to far North Main Street’s intersection with Richter Street. Proponents also hope the Mile will preserve Boerne’s historic and cultural identity and make downtown a cleaner, more walkable place to live, work and play.

OPINION: Deval Patrick, Tea Party champion?
The Boston Globe, September 7, 2011
The Patrick administration has done away with yet another program that encourages smart growth in Massachusetts. At least when it comes to growth and development and sustainability, the Tea Party may have found a new champion.

OPINION: Nurture and protect downtown (Va.), September 7, 2011
Why tear down historic buildings around this city? It is waste of valuable historic asset that is lost forever and our future generations will never know many of those historic buildings because they are mostly gone. Why stick to old ways and allow our city to deteriorate by tearing down historic buildings? We pay too much money to maintain vacant lots instead of restoring old and historic buildings.

COMMENTARY: Public transportation funding flawed from the start
The Patriot Ledger (Mass.), September 6, 2011
When it comes to transportation, it is no longer possible to stand in the marketplace, hold up our purse and announce, “I need to get from here to there. Who will take me, how quickly, and for how much?”