(Re)Building Downtown

Downtowns, Main Streets, and city centers across the country are witnessing a renaissance. As more Americans chose the convenience and connectivity of walkable neighborhoods, communities are seeing new businesses, restaurants, and shops open in areas that were formerly vacant or economically distressed. This movement presents an economic opportunity for communities. Creating a vibrant, walkable neighborhood … Continued

Economic development

Councilmember Hans Riemer on the challenge of creating attractive urban areas in Montgomery County, MD

Rockville Town Square
Rockville Town Square, in Councilmember Riemer’s district of Montgomery County, MD. Photo by Dan Reed via Flickr.

Councilmember Hans Riemer has a problem. Residents of the greater Washington, DC metro area increasingly want to live in attractive, high quality, urban neighborhoods—but there aren’t enough of those neighborhoods in his home district of Montgomery County, MD, to meet the demand.

“Cities are reviving and becoming incredibly attractive places to live,” says Riemer, a charter member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. “We’re seeing the impacts of that in Montgomery County. Where people used to prefer the suburbs, they now want to live in cities.”

Local Leaders Council

Great neighborhoods in action: Send us photos of your town on the Fourth of July


The Fourth of July parade passes through downtown Nevada City, CA. Photo via Flickr user Darin Barry.

From the parades that go down main street to watching the fireworks in a nearby park, smart growth strategies and the Fourth of July go hand in hand.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The Fourth of July is one of the best days of the year to see great planning and thoughtful community building in action.

While celebrating our nation’s independence, remember to take a look around. Chances are you’re in a public space or great, walkable neighborhood that smart growth strategies can help to create.

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Grants will help revitalize communities through art

How exactly do art and smart growth fit together? The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) found a way to use art to help build great communities.

NEA recently announced its inaugural “Our Town” grants. Find out how they will help 51 communities reclaim their downtowns and revitalize their neighborhoods through art and smart growth strategies.

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Smart growth news – June 20, 2011

S.D. gets high marks for spending priorities on roads
The Argus Leader (South Dakota), June 20, 2011
South Dakota received a thumbs up from a national study for having its priorities straight on road funding, but officials are concerned about how much Congress is going to spend in the future.
From 2004 to 2008, South Dakota spent 78 percent of its highway capital funds on road repair and maintenance – the highest such rate in the nation, according to a joint study by Transportation for America and Smart Growth America.

Senate Introduces Fix-It-First Bill to Save Crumbling U.S. Roads
Infrastructurist.com, June 17, 2011
Broadly speaking, the plan pushes for statewide implementation of the fix-it-first road spending strategy favored by the Obama administration. Brookings recently extolled the virtues of fix-it-first, and Smart Growth America found that road maintenance work produces more jobs than road building projects do.

Trending: Businesses Moving Downtown

The Rebirth of Downtown Las Vegas
News 8 Now (Las Vegas), June 16, 2011
Downtown Las Vegas is seeing a new crop of residents and businesses moving into its refurbished buildings. No move will be more important than Zappos in 2014. The online retail giant is proving to be a catalyst for new development and new residents. Downtown’s are the heart of most cities but downtown Las Vegas hasn’t had the best luck. As the Las Vegas Strip grew, many older casinos failed, businesses vacated and the homeless invaded. In 1994, that luck started to change when construction on the Fremont Street Experience began.

CFA to take over old Martha Jefferson building
The Daily Progress, June 16, 2011
There is a new tenant in line for the soon-to-be-vacant Martha Jefferson Hospital. CFA Institute, the global association for investment professionals based in Albemarle County, plans to spend $24.5 million to move its operations into the completely renovated Locust Avenue building in Spring 2013, company officials said Thursday.

Jones Soda relocating its headquarters
Associated Press via BusinessWeek, June 17, 2011
Jones Soda Co. is relocating its headquarters from Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood to a bigger office space in city’s Pioneer Square historical district…The headquarters will be housed on the entire first floor of the Palmer Court building, taking up 9,500 square feet. Jones Soda said Friday that the building is adjacent to Qwest Field and the Event Center, giving it the opportunity to take advantage of pedestrian traffic for sample taste tests.

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