Smart growth news – August 11

Census tracks 20 years of sweeping change
USA Today, August 10, 2011
The USA is bigger, older, more Hispanic and Asian and less wedded to marriage and traditional families than it was in 1990. It also is less enamored of kids, more embracing of several generations living under one roof, more inclusive of same-sex couples, more cognizant of multiracial identities, more suburban, less rural and leaning more to the South and West.

Smart growth proponents say building up might save Baton Rouge
Dig (La.), August 10, 2011
Baton Rouge is a wide city, and we are all familiar with both ends of her. Drive down Airline to the pet store, over to Siegen for the bookstore, head over to the overpass area for lunch – that’s a whole Saturday right there. We sprawl, and we’re suffering because of it, not just in terms of peace of mind, but economically: a bankrupt bus system, ghost neighborhoods, crumbling infrastructure within the city, while development in the surrounding suburbs are flourishing.

Adirondack communities to get “growth grants”
Associated Press via Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 11, 2011
The Department of Environmental Conservation is awarding $500,000 in “smart growth grants” to nine Adirondack projects that link economic development with environmental protection and quality of life in the communities.

Freight plan ‘vital’ to economy
Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio), August 10, 2011
“The decades of freight are upon us,” said Mark Policinski, executive director of the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI). “Those regions, those areas, those countries, that can move goods more efficiently than others will win. And they that cannot, will lose,” he said.


Smart growth news – August 1

NY law allows land banks to address blight
Associated Press via Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2011
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a new law allowing for creation of municipal land banks, which take control of problem properties and then redevelop or dispose of them.

In search for talent, companies relocating to downtown Chicago
Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2011
As the office-space market slowly recovers, downtown Chicago is benefiting from a trend long in the making: companies relocating from the suburbs.

With no room to grow, Winchester has a plan to revitalize its core
Boston Globe, July 31, 2011
Winchester’s quaint town center, with its independent shops and boutiques, is known as the heart of the community, but a closer look reveals it is not beating as strongly as it could. With roughly 95 percent of Winchester’s tax base reliant on residential property and no open space for new development, town officials have turned their attention to the underutilized town center.

Louisville’s ‘brain gain’: Reversing a trend, number of better-educated young adults is on the rise
Courier-Journal (Ky.), July 29, 2011
Lynn Bosscher knew little about Louisville besides the Kentucky Derby when she moved here last year from Grand Rapids, Mich. Now some of her regular haunts are Cherokee Park and El Mundo — the cozy Frankfort Avenue restaurant where she takes guests from out of town.


Cities versus suburbs is the wrong debate

It is undeniable that demand is growing for walkable neighborhoods and communities with access to public transportation, parks and a range of housing choices.

In a blog post on Forbes, Joel Kotkin argues that as young adults — who are currently moving to cities and walkable neighborhoods — get older they will look to live in a car-dependent suburb.

Evidence from the last Census show the opposite [of growing cities]: a marked acceleration of movement not into cities but toward suburban and exurban locations. The simple, usually inexorable effects of maturation may be one reason for this surprising result. Simply put, when 20-somethings get older, they do things like marry, start businesses, settle down and maybe start having kids.

Kotkin’s argument incorrectly focuses on cities versus suburbs — specifically suburbs that are dominated by “automobiles and single-family houses” — without focusing on the types of communities and neighborhoods where people actually want to live. He also ignores the baby boomers who are beginning to retire and realize a large, suburban, car-dependent lifestyle may no longer be the most appealing option.


Inward momentum: Residential growth in American center cities

You’ve probably seen some of the anecdotal evidence in newspaper stories or other outlets recently about how many center cities have experienced a resurgence of residential growth within their borders over the last 10 to 20 years. Many of us had wondered if there had been any systematic examination of building permit trends to document … Continued


Growing Cooler: "I just wanted my life back"

As we’ve highlighted this week, Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change is out in its final, sharp-looking book form. Released in a preliminary technical form last fall, the book has been revised, updated, and published as a beautiful hardcover book, replete with informative graphics, pictures and illustrations. The crux? It will … Continued


New survey shows Americans prefer to spend more on mass transit and highway maintenance than new roads

Three-fourths of Americans believe that being smarter about development and improving public transportation are better long-term solutions for reducing traffic congestion than building new roads, according to a survey released today by the National Association of Realtors® and Smart Growth America. The 2007 Growth and Transportation Survey details what Americans think about how development affects … Continued