Amazing Place

Many companies—from Fortune 500 titans to lean startups to independent manufacturers—are moving to places that offer great quality of life for their employees. As Smart Growth America detailed in our 2015 report Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown, these companies want vibrant neighborhoods with affordable housing options, restaurants, nightlife, and other amenities in … Continued

Economic development

New York tours offer look at urban manufacturing’s revival

Urban small-scale manufacturers at work. Photo by Nicolas Lemery Nantel for OHNY.

In today’s American economy, where so much is imported from other countries, American cities are rediscovering their manufacturing roots. Industry shakeups and the economic downturn demonstrate the vulnerability of cities that rely on single-industry manufacturing sectors like steel and automobiles. But while large-scale industries suffer from lack of resilience, small-scale manufacturing is creeping back into our cities and strengthening our local economies.

Today, though the manufacturing sector makes up just 12% of US GDP, the sector has grown at roughly twice the pace of the country’s overall economic growth since the end of the recession. Manufacturing provides high-wage, low-barrier to entry jobs with the average manufacturing salary roughly $10,000 more than the average U.S. job. Between 2010 and 2012, manufacturing jobs grew by over 400,000—many of them in small businesses. The opportunity for local job growth is great.


Kim Billimoria on preserving business and beauty in Yellowstone

The greater Yellowstone region stretches across Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, encompassing dozens of counties and mile after mile of unparalleled natural resources. Its stunning beauty attracts thousands of visitors every year and is the primary basis for economic development in the area. As a result, residents and tourists alike see significant value in preserving the environment and ensuring its existence for future generations.

That concern for the Yellowstone ecosystem as a vital community asset is the underlying principle of the Yellowstone Business Partnership.

“The Yellowstone business partnership is a non-profit organization that works at an eco-system level,” says the organization’s communications specialist Kim Billimoria. “It was founded by a group of business people that recognized that if we’re going to preserve the greater Yellowstone ecosystem – which is one of the largest last intact ecosystems in the entire world – we have to harness the power of business.”

Local Leaders Council Uncategorized

Google comes out in support of Mountain View, CA's "forward-thinking" General Plan update

Photo of Google’s Mountain View headquarters by Flick user hector garcia.

The following post is co-authored by our partner the Greenbelt Alliance.

Google digitally reaches millions of people around the world each day, but the company has a very physical home in Mountain View, Calif. – and Google’s leaders have a vision for what they’d like that home to look like in the future.

Last Wednesday, May 16, that vision came one step closer to reality when Google employees and local sustainability advocates turned out in droves to support local decision makers as they voted to allow housing to be built in the same neighborhoods as office parks.

When environmentalists and a major company are working toward the same goal and when elected officials in the heart of the Silicon Valley – the region that birthed the modern office park – decide to abandon office parks in favor of mixed use development, you can be sure that a seismic shift in the way people think about housing, jobs and the environment is taking place.


Video: the phenomenal success of Capital Bikeshare

Washington DC’s Capital Bikeshare has soared in popularity since it started in 2008. The easy-to-use service has gathered 14,000 annual users and over 40,000 day users during that time. The video above from Streetfilms and the National Association of City Transportation Officials discusses how DC-area residents and visitors alike have taken to the service.


Detroit business owner: "It is almost impossible to recruit to Michigan"

Andrew Basile, Jr., a patent lawyer in metro Detroit, is fed up with Michigan’s sprawl. More specifically, he’s fed up with Michigan’s ongoing loss of talented workers who are leaving the state in the thousands. Basile’s law firm has been directly affected by the trend, hard pressed to find employees locally and unable to entice qualified workers from other places to move to Michigan. And in a letter to Michigan Future published on Streetsblog earlier this week, Basile explains why he believes this is happening: “People – particularly affluent and educated people – just don’t want to live here.”

Basile correlates his law firm’s labor shortages with Detroit’s “poor ‘quality of place,'” a term he uses to describe the area’s spread out development patterns. He points to a lack of transportation choices and missed opportunities to invest in downtowns as reasons, at least in part, why so many Detroiters have left the area. As Basile describes his frustration with Michigan’s failure to innovate and the toll it takes on his business, it’s hard not to sympathize with him:

I noted sadly the other day that the entire Oakland Country government complex was built in a field five miles outside of downtown Pontiac. I find that decision shocking. What a wasted opportunity for maintaining a viable downtown Pontiac, not to mention the open space now consumed by the existing complex.


Smart Growth is Smart Business

The report profiles 17 businesses and business groups that are putting smart growth into action in communities across the nation. It outlines the reasons why these business leaders are supporting smart growth policies and projects, and it puts forth five key smart growth business approaches.

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