Smart growth news – September 28

Increased demand driving new development in Las Vegas’ core
Las Vegas Sun, September 27, 2011
“I have a stack of buyers who want to buy downtown,” he says, listing them by occupation — a federal public defender, electrical engineer, museum curator, federal prosecutor, schoolteacher and artist, exotic dancer, freelance writer, Las Vegas city employee, a Zappos employee. “This is the creative class, that’s who’s contacting me,” he said. “These are Baby Boomers whose kids are grown so they want to move downtown; these are people who don’t want to live in the ’burbs anymore.”

For Strapped Cities, a ‘New Normal’
Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2011
City finance managers project that general-fund revenues will decline 2.3% this year, the fifth straight decline, according to a survey released Tuesday by the National League of Cities. Spending will decline 1.9% this year, a second straight drop.

MTA Puts More on the Block
Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2011
As part of a months-long review of its real estate, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to put nine more properties on the block, including the mostly empty building in Downtown Brooklyn that has long angered the borough’s politicians, the agency said Monday.

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Smart growth news – September 13

How to Build a Greener City
Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2011
It wasn’t long ago that the idea of using “green” and “city” in the same sentence seemed absurd. Cities were considered a blight on the environment: energy-hogging, pollution-spewing, garbage-producing environmental hellholes. But in recent years, they’ve begun to be seen as models of green virtue. City dwellers tend to walk more and drive less than their suburban counterparts, and dense urban development encourages transit use. Apartment living generally means lower per-household energy use. Building on these strengths, planners and developers are devising innovative solutions to meet urbanites’ energy, water, transportation and sanitation needs well into the future.

Re-Imagining NYC at the Urban Design Week Festival
WNYC, September 12, 2011
Picture a city road that recycles rain water or a pedestrian haven below Canal Street. These are some of the concepts that are on the table for the first-ever Urban Design Week Festival, which starts on Monday. With talks, panel discussions and brainstorming sessions, the festival’s organizers hope to join the ideas of New Yorkers with the vision and planning of urban designers and architects.

Don’t Subsidize Big Boxes at Local Shops’ Expense
Business Week, September 9, 2011
When governments use public money to woo national chains, economic growth and job creation are negligible. Independent retailers also suffer.

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Smart growth news – June 24, 2011

Poor transit system, sprawl make trips to work difficult
Kansas City Star (Kan.), June 22, 2011
A Washington think tank ranks Kansas City’s transit system among the worst in the country at getting people to jobs. Part of the blame belongs to our spread-out growth pattern, which has pulled an ever-larger share of jobs to the suburbs — beyond the easy reach of buses. “We don’t just have a transit problem, we have a job-sprawl problem,” said Ron McLinden, a public transportation advocate with the Transit Action Network in Kansas City. The recent report by the Brookings Institution ranked the Kansas City area 90th among 100 metro areas based on how well its bus system serves the workforce.

Headquarters come and go – it’s jobs that count
Raleigh News & Observer (N.C.), June 23, 2011
The Triangle: A great place to live and work; not so great for a corporate headquarters. You’d never hear this region’s boosters utter such a line, but it’s hard not to at least think it after a week in which the Triangle received another economic pat on the back and downtown Raleigh lost another headquarters. The accolade came from the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, which ranked the Triangle among the 20 strongest performing metro areas in the U.S. through the first quarter.

Transformation Detroit: Dan Gilbert’s grand plan for downtown tech hub, retail and residential
MLive.com (Mich.), June 23, 2011
These days, it seems like everybody has a plan to revitalize Detroit. But unlike many would-be visionaries, Dan Gilbert has what it takes to get it done: Money. Boatloads of it. The Quicken Loans founder and chairman is in the process of purchasing the 23-story Dime Building near Campus Martius, which would be his fourth major downtown real estate acquisition in the past 10 months, including the First National Building, Chase Tower and the Madison Theatre Building.

Walking expert prescribes ‘road diets,’ traffic circles for cities seeking street makeovers
Associated Press via Washington Post, June 20, 2011
Today, with the health, environmental and quality-of-life benefits of walk-able neighborhoods, they can’t get enough of Burden. Even in car-dependent Southern California, where he spent a few of his roughly 340 days a year on the road this spring, city planners are literally walking the talk alongside him.

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