Smart growth news – June 30, 2011

Christie to annul Council on Affordable Housing
Asbury Park Press (N.J.), Wednesday June 30, 2011
As part of the other changes, the Department of State would become the home of the State Planning Commission and Office of Smart Growth, both now part of DCA, and the Business Retention and Attraction Division, now at the Economic Development Authority. All have connections with economic growth, which has become one of the primary responsibilities of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who is also the secretary of state.

Cool factor lures the young, artsy to Detroit
Detroit News (Mich.), June 29, 2011
Detroit, city of 100,719 vacant parcels and three Starbucks, has discovered its marketing niche: land of the young, daring and bohemian. And more businesses, foundations and city leaders are investing in the idea.

Are McMansions Coming Back in Style?
Wall Street Journal Developments Blog, June 29, 2011
In January, we reported that the average size of a new single-family home shrunk to 2,377 square feet last year, down 3 percent from 2009, according to the National Association of Home Builders. And it’s not clear that younger buyers will embrace the McMansion in the same way their parents did. Presenters at the annual NAHB convention in Orlando told Developments in January that large, cookie-cutter suburban homes wouldn’t appeal to the younger generation of home buyers.

The Best Public Transportation Systems In The World
Business Insider, June 29, 2011
Thanks to the climbing price of gas, driving is quickly turning into a pastime for the rich and famous. So unless you’re ready to re-mortgage your house, you may have to leave your car at home and hop on a subway, bus or light rail to get to work. Not sure what to expect? We’ve put together a top 10 list of public transportation systems in the world to give you an idea of what cities have the best mass transit available to the working public.

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A low-cost method for better transportation: lessons from Latin America's Bus Rapid Transit boom

The Brookings Institution hosted a panel discussion yesterday on the prospect of bus rapid transit (BRT) in the United States and what lessons can be learned from BRT systems currently in place in Latin America.

Unlike a typical bus route, BRT systems generally have exclusive lanes for buses, make limited stops and sell tickets at kiosks rather than on the bus. These strategies keep BRT buses efficient and fast, even in congested traffic. BRT systems provide travelers with the choice of a lower cost, reliable and fast bus service as an alternate to driving by car.

Darío Hidalgo, Director of Research and Practice at EMBARQ, spoke about the organization’s new report on BRT systems in Latin America and Asia. He highlighted the many benefits of BRT, noting that the systems are cost-effective, fast and efficient, move people quickly and more safely and can also alleviate traffic congestion. The concept is also well-suited for big cities and smaller towns alike. In Colombia, capital city Bogotá has an extensive BRT system called the TransMilenio, but the smaller city Pereira, with a population of about 700,000, also makes use of the concept. BRT’s success is so widespread that many cities in Latin America either have BRT systems already or are planning them in the near future.

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