This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we’re joined by Eric Singer and Andrej Micovic, Associates at Bilzin Sumberg in Miami who talk about the creation of a unique ordinance in Miami-dade County that consolidates land use decision making. They also talk about how recent TIF districts and the county’s Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) Plan interact with that ordinance and what’s important in writing planning code.
Measuring Sprawl 2014 analyzes development patterns in 221 metropolitan areas and 994 counties in the United States as of 2010, looking to see which communities are more compact and connected and which are more sprawling.
The popularity of infill development and walkable neighborhoods continues to grow, according to a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Residential Construction Trends in America’s Metropolitan Regions focuses on 209 metropolitan regions between 2000 and 2009 and offers a look at trends in residential infill development, i.e. new homes built in previously developed areas. The main findings during that period:
Nearly three out of four large metropolitan regions saw an increased share of infill housing development during 2005-2009 compared to 2000-2004. Among the 51 large metropolitan regions (population one million or greater) examined in this study, 36 saw an increased share of infill housing development during 2005-2009 compared to 2000-2004. In many regions, this increase was substantial. Miami increased from 40 percent infill to 49 percent infill. Providence, Rhode Island, increased from 20 percent to 29 percent. Several medium-sized metropolitan regions (population 200,000 – one million) saw even greater shifts towards infill housing.
Study: Single-Family Homes May Be History
KPBS (Calif.), December 14, 2011
A new study from the Urban Land Institute suggests single-family homes, the largest contributor to urban sprawl, may be a thing of the past. The study looked at California’s major metropolitan areas — including San Diego — and found that by 2035 the supply of homes in conventional subdivisions will far exceed demand.
How the Tea Party Is Upending Urban Planning
Atlantic Cities, December 14, 2011
Across the country, Tea Party activists have been storming planning meetings of all kinds, opposing various plans by local and regional government having anything to do with density, smart growth, sustainability or urbanism. In California, Tea Party activists gained enough signatures for a ballot measure repealing the state’s baseline environmental regulations, while also targeting the Senate Bill 375, the 2008 law that seeks to combat climate change by promoting density and regional planning.
Beyond Sprawl: Rethinking Development in Tucson
Arizona Public Media, December 15, 2011
Tucson and the city’s outskirts were riding high on growth several years ago, with developments seeming to pop up everywhere there was empty land. But that all changed when the housing bust and recession took hold. The Tucson area continues to suffer from the downturn, but does that mean we did something wrong?
Beyond Sprawl: Gambling On Downtown Las Vegas
KPBS (Calif.), November 30, 2011
Like most Southwest cities, the Las Vegas growth model was to expand out, creating sprawling suburbs and quiet gated communities. But one trendsetting local business – the online shoe company, Zappos – thinks an urban setting would be a better fit for its employees and industry.
Cleveland Turns Uptown Into New Downtown
New York Times, November 29, 2011
Since 1950, when its population peaked at 914,808, Cleveland has steadily shed residents and jobs. In 2010, just 396,815 people lived within the city limits, almost 81,000 fewer than a decade before, and about the same number of people who lived in Cleveland in 1900…But in recent years Cleveland’s municipal government and its Regional Transit Authority have rallied major employers, banks, foundations and developers around a central goal of rebuilding the city’s core according to the new urban market trends of the 21st century — health care, higher education, entertainment, good food, new housing and expanded mass transportation.
KC mayor develops priorities so progress can continue
Kansas City Star, November 29, 2011
Q: What can the city do to promote economic development on the East Side?
A: It’s hard to economically develop a place where people don’t feel safe…That has an impact on how people feel about things. It depresses property values. It makes businesses unwilling to invest in an area. It traps people who don’t have means to get out while others do. You perpetuate a demographic. The first thing is let’s make people safe. Let’s deal with the crumbling housing, foreclosed housing and infrastructure issues.
The 19 Building Types That Caused the Recession
The Atlantic Cities, October 25, 2011
Among his favorite examples of all the standard real-estate products built ad nauseum across the country over the last half-century, Christopher Leinberger likes to point to the Grocery Anchored Neighborhood Center. This creation is generally about 12 to 15 acres in size on a plot of land that’s 80 percent covered in asphalt. It’s located on the going-home side of a major four-to-eight lane arterial road, where it catches people when they’re most likely to be thinking about what to buy for dinner.
The Federal Government’s Smart Growth-Inspired Landlord
Streetsblog, October 25, 2011
Robert Peck says he’ll gladly pay more to locate office buildings near transit – the time saved commuting makes it worthwhile.
WNY development panel airs plan
Buffalo News (N.Y.), October 25, 2011
Creating jobs and finding ways to get the biggest bang for the buck out of investments made in Western New York are emerging as top priorities in the strategic plan being developed by a state-backed economic development council. … It encourages “smart growth” that minimizes sprawl and leads to investment in the region’s cities and town centers.
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.
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.
In New York state, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney (R) is changing how her county approaches economic development. In a report from WRVO, Mahoney explains that encouraging development in downtown Syracuse, which lies at the heart of Onondaga County, will help the economy of the entire region.
Previous county executives focused development in the ring of suburbs outside of Syracuse, which lies at the heart of Onondaga County. By accommodating – and even subsidizing – growth outside the city center, the county has slowly eroded Syracuse’s once-thriving business district: more than a dozen office buildings downtown now stand 100% empty. Mahoney explains that Onondaga County can’t thrive if growth comes at the cost of downtown Syracuse, and she’s working to bring a different model of development to the county.
Mahoney also explains that the county is struggling to support development in Syracuse’s outer suburbs: it’s simply too expensive for the county to afford. While it might be cheaper up front to build a building on the outskirts of town, it raises the burden on taxpayers who then have to fund the sewer lines and roads to those new buildings.