Smart growth news – June 28, 2012

Cities grow more than suburbs, first time in 100 years
MSNBC – June 28, 2012
For the first time in a century, most of America’s largest cities are growing at a faster rate than their surrounding suburbs as young adults seeking a foothold in the weak job market shun home-buying and stay put in bustling urban centers.

Cities Outpace Suburbs in Growth
Wall Street Journal – June 28, 2012
Home builders are betting that there is a longer-term shift under way. Many builders that previously worked entirely on single-family homes in the suburbs have refocused to keep up with what they say is a change in demand. Three of the largest publicly traded U.S. home-building companies—Toll Brothers Inc., TOL Lennar Corp. and Hovnanian Enterprises Inc.—have in recent years built mid-rise and high-rise condominium towers in urban areas such as New York City, Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Irvine, Calif., looking to capitalize on consumers’ rising distaste for long commute times and interest in housing that is closer to cities’ cultural and job centers.

Highway bill conference report released
The Hill – June 28, 2012
The bicameral agreement on a new surface transportation bill has been released early Thursday morning by the House Rules Committee.

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Smart growth news – June 22, 2011

Are There Too Many Homes in America?
The Atlantic blog, June 21, 2011
Estimates of the number of vacant houses are hard to get a handle on. The census bureau tracks that number. However, its month-by-month estimate was well out of whack with the preliminary data coming in from the formal 10-year Census. Still a credible guess is that there might be in the range of 1.5 million “excess” vacant homes. That number includes empty rentals as well as homes for sale. Even in the best of times some homes are vacant, but there are roughly 1.5 million more than there were in 1990, adjusted for population changes.

Green literacy new graduation requirement in MD
Baltimore Sun (Md.), June 21, 2011
Maryland public school students will need to know their green to graduate under a new policy adopted today by the state board of education. State officials and environmental activists called the vote “historic” and said Maryland has become the first state in the nation to require environmental literacy to graduate from high school. Under the rule, public schools will be required to work lessons about conservation, smart growth and the health of our natural world into their core subjects like science and social studies.

U.S. DOT awards $175 million in ‘livability’ transit grants
Smart Planet, June 21, 2011
The U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday announced the availability of $175 million in what it calls “livability grants” intended to help urban, suburban and rural communities develop transit options to better connect their residents. Local transit agencies are eligible for the funds; the program will begin accepting applications this week.

Panel proposes changes to planning laws to improve downtown Mays Landing
Press of Atlantic City, June 21, 2011
The Smart Growth Committee made several suggestions for the township to adopt that could significantly change areas like downtown Mays Landing and improve the condition of rental homes.

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SGA News Clips, 5/20/11

Census finds Pittsburgh is growing younger
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 19, 2011
“The unusual drop in the city’s median age was among the findings in the U.S. Census Bureau’s release today of new information from last year’s population count. For both the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, the number of elderly residents as well as their percentage of the overall population are on the decline.”

Gary, Ind., struggles with population loss
USA Today, May 19, 2011
“The 2010 Census crystallized Gary’s decline: The population, which peaked at 178,320 in 1960, is now 80,294. From 2000 through last year’s count, Gary lost 22% of its residents. The city’s unemployment rate in February was 9.8%. Gary — like Detroit, which lost 25% of its people in the past decade — faces tough questions: What is the best way to shrink a city? How can city government provide adequate services as its tax base contracts? How can new employers and residents be wooed to a place known more for blight than for opportunity?”

Sound Transit to invest $2.1M in rail,bus ridership research
Seattle Times, May 19, 2011
“Sound Transit will spend as much as $2.1 million for consultants to conduct market research, in hopes of boosting its rail and bus ridership. ‘Finding out what will get people out of their cars and into our services is going to require some deep research and talking to a lot of people in our region,’ said communications Director Ron Klein.”

Poll: Gas prices causing hardship for 4 in 10 Americans
Chicago Tribune, May 19, 2001
“With gasoline prices hovering at $4 a gallon nationally, many Americans are making tough choices: scaling back summer vacations, driving less or ditching the car altogether. Some seniors are choosing a tank of gas over their prescriptions. An Associated Press-GfK poll shows the share of Americans who say increases in the price of gasoline will cause serious financial hardship for them or their family in the next six months now tops 4 in 10. Overall in the poll, 71 percent said rising prices will cause some hardship for them and their family, including 41 percent who called it a “serious” hardship. Just 29 percent said rising prices are not causing a negative impact on their finances.”

Never Too Old To Bike To Work (video)
Grist, May 19, 2011
“Gilbert admits to being in her “high 70s,” and she has been biking since she was a 7-year-old in France. She and her friends didn’t have phones, so if they wanted to talk, they hopped on their bikes and went and found each other.”

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Metro Atlanta's answers for the housing crunch

Atlanta has been a region typically known for its affordable housing stock and rapidly-growing suburbs and exurbs. But a new study being released in Atlanta this week chronicles affordability in the region and finds that not only is there a dearth of affordable housing, there is a disconnect between affordable housing and its major job … Continued

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"Perfect storm" illustrates the case for smarter growth

Many of us watching the last few decades of development in America have been repeating the mantra that the weight of crushing commutes, skyrocketing fuel and energy prices, overly large and costly houses and understated demographic changes were converging on us with serious ramifications and that changing the rules to create more affordable, smaller footprint … Continued

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