On Tuesday we revealed The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014, and to celebrate we hosted an online discussion with representatives from a few of this year’s top-scoring communities. If you missed the discussion, here’s a recap of the kickoff event.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities (OSHC) has already helped hundreds of towns and cities across the country become economically stronger, environmentally sustainable, and more inclusive through its workshops, technical resources and grant programs. As a new report explains, these programs are also making the most of federal investments.
OSHC’s 2011 accomplishments update explains that the Office’s 152 grants in 48 states, totaling $240 million, generated almost $253 million in private investments and commitments from local partners. The Sustainable Communities grants, one of the major grant programs administered by the Office, generated $115 million in matching and in-kind contributions – more than 120% of the original $95.8 million invested.
The Office’s accomplishments report is a compendium of some of the most interesting smart growth projects in the works today.
Federal HUD grant drives development in East Austin
YNN (Texas) – January 4, 2012
A large plot of land in East Austin will soon be developed into a mixed-income, sustainable community, thanks to a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Fed Urges Action on Housing
Wall Street Journal – January 5, 2012
The paper said some 60 metro areas had at least 250 foreclosed properties for sale by Fannie, Freddie and federal agencies—enough to efficiently execute rental programs. About two-fifths of properties held by Fannie could produce returns that justify converting them, it said.
Why Some Cities Are Healthier Than Others
The Atlantic Cities – January 5, 2012
Metro health is closely associated with commuting patterns. Metros where greater shares of people walk and bike to work do better on the Metro Health Index (.62). Conversely, the share of people who drive to work alone is negatively associated with the Metro Health Index (-.47).
Downtown Phoenix move has saved couple lots of money, time
The Arizona Republic, September 29, 2011
This year, Jessica and Cody Helgeson have turned that southeast Valley home into a rental and are celebrating their recent move to a high-rise in downtown Phoenix, 44 Monroe. Moving downtown has saved them hundreds of dollars a month in gas, reduced their headaches, eliminated their long commutes and improved their social lives, they said.
Route 1 planning effort goes on without state
WCSH (Maine), September 29, 2011
The project involved 21 towns on the 100-mile stretch of highway from Brunswick to Stockton Springs. But the effort expanded beyond simple road planning to involve planning the future growth of all the midcoast towns and cities.
The Rise of Urban Biking
The Nation, September 27, 2011
The urban biking surge can be linked to a number of other factors, from high gas prices to an increased awareness of climate change. New bicyclists have discovered how unsafe many roads are for riding—and in response they have helped reinvigorate a movement that was once the sole province of urban planners and environmentalists: to reshape America’s streets.
Austin, Texas, has ambitious goals to make the city’s downtown more affordable to live in and a better place for businesses.
Planners in the city have spent the past four years compiling a master plan for development, to address existing challenges and to plan for growth over the next 25 years. The resulting Downtown Austin Plan, due to go before the city council this week, recommends a number of smart growth strategies for the city, including: improving downtown parks, adding lower-priced housing, preserving historic buildings, making zoning changes that would encourage a greater mix of uses and creating an economic development group to help guide growth in the city’s center.