Smart growth news – December 21

Morning Read: Smart Growth, or “War on Rural Maryland”?
Baltimore Sun, December 19, 2011
Glendening, 69, praised Plan Maryland as a “major movement ahead.” The plan spells out criteria for judging which types of development projects are viewed as desirable — and worthy of state infrastructure spending. “Land use planning is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for people who are anxious to get things done quickly,” said Glendening.

Maryland To Offer Preferential Funding For Smart Growth
WAMU (DC), December 21, 2011
The rate of land consumption in Maryland is three times the rate of population growth, according to the state’s department of planning. That’s a lot of urban sprawl for a small state. Governor Martin O’Malley issued an executive order for a strategy called PlanMaryland, which is designed to limit sprawl, but it’s set up tensions around the state.

The Future of Retail
BusinessWeek, December 20, 2011
Modernize our nation’s aging infrastructure: It is critical that the US transportation infrastructure — including our ports, airports, rail lines and roads — can meet future demands. We need a national freight policy that will support US competitiveness, economic growth and job creation.

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Smart growth news – December 19

New Study: Millennials Prefer Car “Access Over Ownership”
The City Fix, December 16, 2011
The “Millennial” generation is quickly adopting car sharing as a mainstream transportation solution, according to results from Zipcar’s second annual study of the personal transportation and car ownership behavior of 18- to 34-year-olds. The study found that 55 percent of this influential generation have made an effort to drive less, which is a 10 percent rise from 2010.

GAO report details local cost of vacant properties
American City & County, December 15, 2011
In 10 years, vacant properties in the U.S. have increased almost 50 percent, and local governments have spent millions of dollars maintaining them. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) looks at how much those properties are costing local governments, and how cities and counties are responding to the issue.

Report: Big roads projects, big cities, big impact
Omaha World-Herald (Neb.), December 17, 2011
Building new roads doesn’t always boost economic development, a new study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln concludes, but large projects in larger communities have helped increase wages.

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Smart growth news – December 15

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?

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Smart growth news – December 12

Forget Stadiums, Cities Should Fight For Apple Stores
Forbes, December 9, 2011
The computer stores have become ‘anchors’ for affluent downtown areas, says Robert Gibbs, an urban economic and planning consultant and author of of “Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development.” “Sports stadiums do not generate much cross shopping: they’re nice to have but greatly overrated,” Gibbs says. “If you have an Apple store on your Main Street, though, that gives you a kind of ‘good housekeeping seal of approval,’ that’s going to attract others.”

$3.7 million in HUD money to help five Central Texas communities with city planning, design
American-Statesman (Texas), December 10, 2011
A $3.7 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant awarded to the Capital Area Council of Governments will provide five Central Texas cities with planning and design consulting services through February 2014. The money, through HUD’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants program, will go to Austin, Dripping Springs, Elgin, Hutto and Lockhart.

Debunking public transportation myths
Detroit Free Press, December 11, 2011
The American Public Transportation Association says the long-term trend is clear: Ridership on the nation’s buses, subways, commuter rail lines and other transit systems grew 34% in 1995-2009, outpacing 23% growth in the number of vehicle miles driven on highways in that period. The number of workers who rely on transit regularly grew by a million, to nearly 7 million nationwide, in 2005-09.

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Smart growth news – December 7

Walkable Neighborhoods Gaining Popularity — Even in the Suburbs
Huffington Post, December 6, 2011
Last week, my colleague Chris Leinberger wrote a provocative op-ed in the New York Times titled “The Death of the Fringe Suburb.” Leinberger, who is president of LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, which is a project of Smart Growth America, highlighted the convergence of a number of factors in heralding the decline of far flung, auto-dependant exurbs. Rising gas prices, demographic changes, and shifting consumer preferences have all made these areas less attractive to homebuyers — a fact reflected in the financial troubles and foreclosure crises many of these communities face.

What the 2012 TED Prize Means for ‘The City 2.0’
Atlantic Cities, December 7, 2011
The organization behind the high-profile uber-conference TED has announced an unusual winner for the 2012 iteration of its TED Prize. The award is formally presented at the annual TED conference in February, when the winner announces his or her “wish” – a project that builds off the $100,000 prize money and the enthusiasm of the TED community to participate in somehow making the world a better place. This year’s winner, though, is a little different. It’s not a person, but rather an idea – and a big one: The City 2.0.

House, Senate Not Likely to Agree on Long-Term Transportation Bill This Year
Nation’s Cities Weekly, December 5, 2011
In remarks at a transportation meeting in Washington, D.C., last week, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) announced that the House would not move on a long-term surface transportation bill before the end of the year. Mica cited the lack of time on the House calendar as the reason for the delay after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had promised to pass a transportation bill before the end of the year. The current short-term extension of federal transportation programs expires in March 2012.

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Smart growth news – December 6

The future of cities? An unusual way of untangling gridlock
MSNBC, December 2, 2011
Janette Sadik-Khan is on a mission to tame New York’s mean streets. As transportation commissioner for New York City, she’s closed off half of Times Square to traffic and converted 260 miles of city streets into bike lanes. Her goal is to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and manage New York’s notorious traffic, while possibly creating a blueprint for other cities around the world.

Mayor’s goal: Bring 10,000 new families to city in a decade
Baltimore Sun, December 5, 2011
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hopes to attract 10,000 families to Baltimore in the next decade — which would reverse more than a half-century of population decline — and would like to serve at least one more term beyond the one she begins Tuesday…”If Baltimore is to have a future, the leadership in the city has to focus on making the city a vibrant, growing city,” Rawlings-Blake said in an interview Monday. “If you’re not focused on growing it, you’re resigned to a slow death.”

Riverfront trail is a window to KC’s past
Kansas City Star, December 5, 2011
Kansas City’s Riverfront Heritage Trail has given residents their best chance to practically touch the Missouri River’s edge, at Berkley Park and other downtown destinations. Now, in its latest phases in the West Bottoms, the trail is providing residents with other powerful connections to the city’s history and heritage.

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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 – December 1

Rethink College Park Awarded for Smart Growth Advocacy
College Park Patch (Md.), November 30, 2011
An advocacy group for development in College Park has been awarded by the state for its role in the community. … And the governor is recognizing the group for their contributions in smart growth. Rethink College Park was set to receive the Florence Beck Kurdle Award for Community Activism and Achievement this morning.

Holly Brinda wants city involved in land bank
The Chronicle Telegram (Ohio), November 30, 2011
Mayor-elect Holly Brinda wants Elyria to take the lead in the creation of a county land bank through the Thriving Communities Initiative, a program of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

Planning Advocates Call For Amendments to Economic Development Bill
New Jersey Future, December 1, 2011
The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee will today consider passage of a bill (A4306) that, in its current form, will undermine the goals of the state’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit (UTHTC) program and weaken the state’s long-term economic competitiveness.

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Smart growth news – November 30

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.

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Smart growth news – November 28

The Death of the Fringe Suburb
New York Times (Op-Ed), November 25, 2011
Simply put, there has been a profound structural shift — a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered.

HUD Awards Bring ‘Bittersweet’ End to Sustainability Program
Streetsblog, November 23, 2011
“The communities selected to receive these grants have a great opportunity to put their plans for smarter development and economic revitalization into action,” said Geoffrey Anderson of Smart Growth America in an email. “These grants are bittersweet, however, since they come just days after Congress passed legislation that did not include specific funding for another round of HUD grants next year.”

How should we design the cities of our dreams?
Salon, November 27, 2011
This is the first story in a new series called Dream City, which will explore the way we’re designing our cities of the future, cities in which we want to live, right now. Two more stories will follow this week. Tomorrow, we’ll examine the way cities are growing with creative use of their waterfronts. And on Tuesday, we’ll look at the growing trend of removing freeways from downtown to create new pedestrian spaces.

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