Minneapolis 2040 sets new bar for what’s possible


This month on Building Better Communities with Transit , we’re joined by Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender to learn about their recent comprehensive plan update. The city used the update to revamp its zoning, set ambitious goals for climate change, and pointedly address equity and racial disparities in the city.

Transportation

Spotlight on sustainability: Doña Ana County, NM prepares comprehensive plan for sustainable development

Las Cruces, NM train station. Photo via Flickr
New Mexico’s Doña Ana County is facing a number of challenges as it plans for the future. Compared to the rest of New Mexico, the county has a younger population, higher poverty rate, larger Hispanic population and higher combined transportation and housing costs. Now, Doña Anna County is implementing a new plan to address these challenges, made possible through a grant from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The project is called Camino Real: Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, and it will address the county’s long-term growth trends, capacity of infrastructure, and the ability of the county to serve its residents.

In 2012, the region adopted One Valley, One Vision 2040, the first ever comprehensive plan encompassing Doña Ana County, the City of Las Cruces and other municipalities within the county. However, this plan dates back to 1995 and did not anticipate factors including a nearly 25% growth in population and major investments in multi-modal rail in surrounding areas. In order for Doña Ana County to realize it’s goals of sustainable growth over the next 25 years, a new comprehensive plan was needed in preparation.

Doña Ana County is expected to grow by nearly 90,000 residents by 2040 and nearly half of it’s current residents are under the age of 30. A future development plan will account for a range of housing choices connected to regional transportation networks and consider ways to ensure mobility for an aging population, expanding rural transportation, providing low-cost and efficient transportation and better integration of transportation and land use.

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Burlington, VT gets creative with its comprehensive plan

burlington-vt2
Downtown Burlington, VT.

Burlington, VT’s new comprehensive plan, PlanBTV, looks more like a magazine than a technical planning document. Based on extensive community input, the plan establishes a clear and comprehensive vision for how Burlington’s downtown and core neighborhoods should continue to evolve.

Burlington is located at the heart of the largest urbanized area in Vermont, and is the region’s principal economic and cultural engine. It is home to the University of Vermont and major employers including Burton Snowboards and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. When City leaders began considering how and where the city should grow in coming years, they knew they would need a plan to make sure that growth benefitted the community as much as possible.

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Smart growth news – December 5

Ventura mayor plans to move to D.C. after leaving office
Ventura County Star (Calif.), December 2, 2011
Bill Fulton, whose term as mayor of Ventura ends Monday, will leave town in the spring for a job with an urban planning think tank in Washington, D.C.

A new challenge for this politician
Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2011
Fulton announced in July he wouldn’t seek reelection when his term was up this year. In a few months he will move to Washington, D.C., where he’ll work for Smart Growth America, a think tank that advises cities and counties on development issues.

‘Smart growth’ advocates study Williamson’s efforts
The Tennessean, November 30, 2011
Quality-growth experts from throughout the country visited Williamson County as part of a three-day visit to Nashville to learn about successful quality-growth models and best practices in Middle Tennessee…A model region is selected every year by the Smart Growth America network as part of its convention. Smart Growth America is a national organization that works with communities to implement smart growth planning and development.

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Smart growth news – November 15

Tech firms give downtown a new vibe
Northern Nevada Business Weekly, November 14, 2011
A handful of businesses are slowly changing the perception of downtown Reno. Longtime Reno residents still can call up images of gamblers walking Virginia Street cradling buckets of quarters and nickels. That image is changing as a growing number of software development and technical-services companies take downtown office space.

Add education to Zappos’ downtown investment forays
Las Vegas Sun, November 10, 2011
Hsieh (pronounced “shay”) said he was drawn to the program for several reasons, including a hope that the teachers will consider working and living downtown, where the company will move its headquarters in 2013. “We are excited about our partnership with Teach For America as well as the opportunity to help bring more energy and passion to downtown Las Vegas,” Hsieh said.

Baltimore-Washington region’s aging infrastructure a roadblock to growth
The Gazette (Md.), November 11, 2011
From both the public and private sectors come calls for more mass transit, including rapid bus transit. For Montgomery County, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s recommendations include expanding transit, bike paths and sidewalks “to achieve more sustainable, less congested communities.” The commission also recommends “building future homes near transit [to] create more opportunities for people to avoid driving.”

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Smart growth news – November 8

Boise writes new city blueprint
Idaho Statesman, November 8, 2011
Boiseans don’t like strip malls. They don’t like architecture that’s out of scale with pedestrians. Nor do they like development patterns that line thoroughfares with parking lots. They do like walkable mixed-use developments like Bown Crossing, Hyde Park and the 36th Street Garden Plaza, with homes, cafes and parking lots tucked out of sight and the needs of pedestrians balanced with those of drivers. That’s what Boise city staffers learned during the past four years as they worked with residents to develop a new comprehensive plan, the first since 1997.

The myth of the progressive city
Salon, November 7, 2011
[T]wo or three decades ago, there may have been some truth to the notion that the American city is a union-driven bastion of populist progressive economics. But today, while cities may still largely vote Democratic, they are increasingly embracing the economics of corporatism. The result is that urban areas are a driving force behind the widening intra-party rift between the corporatist, pro-privatization Wall Street Democrats and the traditional labor-progressive “Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.”

A Bridge Too Far? U.S. Infrastructure’s Future Depends on Current Debate
International Business Times, November 7, 2011
America’s bridges are crossed an average of 4 billion times every day; 282 million of those treks involve structurally deficient spans. As America’s infrastructure ages, the ranks of deficient bridges will grow, doubling by 2030 if not addressed, according to Transportation for America.

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Smart growth new – September 30

Downtown Phoenix move has saved couple lots of money, time
The Arizona Republic, September 29, 2011
This year, Jessica and Cody Helgeson have turned that southeast Valley home into a rental and are celebrating their recent move to a high-rise in downtown Phoenix, 44 Monroe. Moving downtown has saved them hundreds of dollars a month in gas, reduced their headaches, eliminated their long commutes and improved their social lives, they said.

Route 1 planning effort goes on without state
WCSH (Maine), September 29, 2011
The project involved 21 towns on the 100-mile stretch of highway from Brunswick to Stockton Springs. But the effort expanded beyond simple road planning to involve planning the future growth of all the midcoast towns and cities.

The Rise of Urban Biking
The Nation, September 27, 2011
The urban biking surge can be linked to a number of other factors, from high gas prices to an increased awareness of climate change. New bicyclists have discovered how unsafe many roads are for riding—and in response they have helped reinvigorate a movement that was once the sole province of urban planners and environmentalists: to reshape America’s streets.

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