ICLEI announces nine STAR Beta Communities

Back in October, we brought you information on ICLEI’s new STAR Community Index, a national framework and performance-management system expected to be launched in 2011 that will allow local governments to measure and rate their sustainability performance. ICLEI has now announced the nine selected STAR Beta Communities. They are: Atlanta, GA Boulder, CO Chattanooga, TN … Continued

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New report: State transportation decisions could save money and reduce carbon emissions

Download the ReportA new report released today by Smart Growth America and the Natural Resources Defense Council found that transportation policies in every state could save money and reduce carbon emissions by making smarter decisions with state funds.

In “Getting Back on Track: Climate Change and State Transportation Policy,” SGA and NRDC found that current transportation policies in almost all 50 states either fail to curb carbon emission rates or, in some cases, actually increase emissions. This contradiction between state policies and broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions means not only that many states are missing opportunities to protect clean air; it means they are missing economic opportunities as well.

In a press conference this morning, former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening remarked:

Transportation makes up an enormous proportion of our national economy and our environmental impact: it must be front and center as we think about how to get the most out of our public investments. The states that rose to the top in this report, California, Maryland and New Jersey, are there because they are meeting the challenge to innovate.

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Triggering Economic Growth in Denver, CO

The Denver Skyline overlooking I-25, originally uploaded by Flickr user mandymooo.

The South Platte River has been an integral part of Denver, Colorado’s history, spanning 14 neighborhoods across the city and bordered by a railroad track dating back to the mid-1800s. Unfortunately, the river has also endured pollution from a variety of sources over the life of the city: early railroad cars dumped their waste directly into the river, gravel quarries along its banks were later converted to landfills that leached pollution into the water, and a number of abandoned gas stations, smelters, and coal burning plants line the river as well.

In October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the City and County of Denver an Area-Wide Planning Pilot Grant to clean up the South Platte River and the properties along its banks. The area also received a Community Challenge/TIGER II Grant from HUD and DOT to create a new transit station nearby.

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Six Months of Complete Streets

As July unfolds before us, we look back on the progress of the Complete Streets movement since the year began: We’ve seen incredible progress federally, and we celebrated two new state laws. Eighteen communities have committed to complete streets since January, and we released a Best Practices report on policies and implementation.

Complete Streets