Smart growth news – October 3

Pasco official says city reaps benefits from smart growth
Tri-City Herald (Wash.), October 1, 2011
Properly managed growth can increase benefits and reduce some of the drawbacks, Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield told about 50 people Friday at the Columbia Basin Badger Forum at the Pasco Red Lion.

Group promotes ‘walkability’ around Kennett Square
The Daily Local News (Pa.), October 3, 2011
Activate Chester County, a local community health initiative, is planning to petition three southern Chester County municipalities to expand the area’s “walkability.”

Has the Renaissance of Downtowns Been Overhyped?
The Atlantic Cities, September 30, 2011
The relative resiliency of many downtowns in face of these problems encouraged some in the national media to announce an unprecedented shift back into central business districts following decades of the suburbanization of employment. After losing a significant share of the market to suburban office parks, could downtowns finally be hitting their stride?

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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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Smart growth news – September 29

New Austin blueprint envisions new direction for growth
The Statesman (Texas), September 28, 2011
After two years of debates and committee meetings, Austin officials have unveiled a broad vision for growth that condemns traditional suburban development and is garnering both praise and skepticism.

Smart Growth Policies Face Overhaul
NJ Spotlight, September 28, 2011
The state is thinking about revamping its policies dealing with what projects receive financial incentives to reduce energy use in buildings, a change smart growth advocates fear will lead to further sprawl and loss of open space.

HUD grant would help homeowners in 4 Iowa counties
KTIV (Iowa), September 27, 2011
Residents that experienced tornado and damaging winds back in April may get some financial help from the federal government. The Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) has submitted an application to the state of Iowa to help certain home owners whose homes were damaged from the strong winds.

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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 27

Planners, developers working to create upscale neighborhood downtown
La Crosse Tribune (Wis.), September 25, 2011
Call it a resurgence. Downtown La Crosse has added new businesses to once-vacant storefronts, attracted tenants to new high-end apartments and restored some of its oldest historic buildings — all during a recession.

Can You Visualize Nashua as a Livable City?
Nashua Patch (N.H.), September 23, 2011
Revitalizing a downtown requires some key ingredients — a bustling business economy, foot traffic, a mix of businesses with a diverse demographic draw, a sense that it’s clean and safe place to live and work, and most of all, liveability.

Cities Across U.S. Grapple With Tax Revenue Drop as Costs Rise, Aid Falls
Bloomberg, September 27, 2011
More than half, 57 percent, of municipal officials said finances were worse in fiscal 2011 than in 2010, the National League of Cities said today, citing a survey of municipal officials. Inflation-adjusted revenue is headed for a fifth- straight annual drop, while worker health-care and pension costs rose for more than 80 percent. Half said state aid has declined.

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Smart growth news – September 26

East Liberty finds formula for success
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 25, 2011
When East Liberty Development Inc. officials were roughing out strategies to improve the Pittsburgh neighborhood, a big question was what to do with some 50 vacant properties. The properties were robbing tax-paying homeowners of their equity, discouraging investment and exacerbating crime and other factors. This had led the neighborhood to become what Rob Stephany, director of the city Urban Redevelopment Authority, calls “below the line” — a place you don’t visit. They decided to buy them all, rehabilitate some themselves, sell others to rehab-minded buyers and tear down the rest.

Suburban Ghetto: Poverty Rates Soar in Suburbia
Time, September 26, 2011
For well over half a century, the American dream has typically centered on life in the suburbs. A move to the idyllic suburbs—picket fences, sidewalks, cul-de-sacs, the whole deal—has traditionally signified success, a move up the economic ladder. Lately, however, the ‘burbs host millions more residents living below the poverty level than do America’s “poor” inner cities, and poverty rates in suburbia are rising faster than any other residential setting.

In-fill proposal looks to give Stockton a greener image
The Record (Calif.), September 23, 2011
With the right kind of development, downtown Stockton could become the kind of place where people live in apartments or condominiums, commute by train to Silicon Valley jobs before returning home, where they can bike or walk to do their shopping or run other errands.

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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 – September 6

Innovation key to cities in 21st century
The San Diego Union-Tribune, September 2, 2011
As former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy was about to sound a warning Friday to American cities about surviving in the 21st century, a large Navy vessel came into view as it sailed out of San Diego Bay. “What a spectacular city!” he said from the outdoor terrace of the San Diego Hilton Bayfront hotel. “I just want to turn around and see this ship go by.”

Sister cities share plans for downtown growth
Montgomery Advertiser (Ala.), September 4, 2011
Montgomery leaders have made the Alabama River a key ingredient for downtown redevelopment. Included so far have been a minor league baseball team housed in a $25 million stadium, and, a block away, the $200 million Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Conven­tion Center.

How should Syracuse transform its Inner Harbor?
The Post-Standard (N.Y.), September 4, 2011
Developers, architects and planners are citing the successful transformation of Syracuse’s Armory Square from rundown warehouses to trendy residential, retail and office buildings as the kind of mixed-use development that would work at the Syracuse Inner Harbor, the former state Barge Canal terminal the city will soon own.

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Smart growth news – September 1

Obama pushes transport bills, says jobs at stake
Reuters, August 31, 2011
U.S. President Barack Obama urged Congress on Wednesday to quickly pass multibillion-dollar temporary funding bills for aviation and highway projects, saying inaction would needlessly cost jobs.

Indianapolis ‘Smart Growth’ paying off for blighted neighborhood
WTHR (Ind.), August 31, 2011
Residents in an area of the city that has been overlooked for years are starting to see encouraging changes. Houses are being renovated and apartments are going up just north of downtown between College Ave. and Andrew J. Brown and 16th and 25th streets.

Downtown seen on verge of new golden era
Crain’s New York Business, August 31, 2011
After a decade of turmoil triggered by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, lower Manhattan stands on the verge of a prosperous new era. Today it is primed for a dramatic resurgence as it adds new, modern office space, draws highly-educated workers, improves its transportation infrastructure and diversifies its tenant base, according to a new report by Jones Lang LaSalle.

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Smart growth news – August 31

Stat of the Day: The Rise of the Renter
Advertising Age, August 29
One surprise from Census 2010 was the skewed distribution of household growth by age. Except for a small increase in millennial renters, virtually all of the 11 million unit household growth from 2000 to 2010 took place among baby boomer and older households. Towards the end of the decade leading up to the Census, millennials sharply slowed their rate of household formation. Adverse economic conditions meant that millions of them just remained living with their parents.

$1.4 Million Ranson-Charles Town Plan Making Major News
The State Journal (W.Va.), August 31, 2011
Federal grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation will pay for a seven-day series of intense workshops that begins Sept. 8 and will include a bevy of international experts. The end result, Brown said, will be a blueprint that makes Ranson and Charles Town thriving, green, livable communities for the coming century.

City plots plan for vacant properties
The Independent (Ohio), August 29, 2011
Plots of vacant land across the city likely will be turned over to adjacent property owners under the city’s proposed Vacant Land Re-Utilization Program.

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