Smart growth strategies a key to economic opportunity

Income mobility map
A map of income mobility. Mixed-income neighborhoods turn out to be a key indicator of a family’s ability to rise out of poverty. Via New York Times.

A new study from Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley underscores why smart growth strategies are a key part of economically strong regions.

The Equality of Opportunity Project examined economic mobility—the likelihood a family will rise from the bottom of the income ladder toward the top. Schools, civic engagement and two-parent households are all correlated with economic mobility, but the study also considered factors that previous studies of economic mobility could not, including a region’s geography. The study found that where a family lives also impacts their potential to rise up the income ladder.

Uncategorized

Smart growth news – November 17

High-tech HQ leaving suburbs for downtown
Kansas City Star, November 16, 2011
It’s believed to be the first significant suburban company to make the switch downtown since a multi-billion-dollar revival began a decade ago. The firm said it thought a downtown location would boost the recruiting of younger and more tech-savvy employees.

Data show Maine population growing in suburban areas
The Morning Sentinel (Maine), November 17, 2011
Overall, the state of Maine experienced net growth during the first decade of this century. Richert said many urban areas in Maine had growth of up to 5 percent. But suburban areas grew faster. And that growth poses problems with agriculture and production in Maine

Brady District revitalization helped by TIF status
Tulsa World (Okla.), November 17, 2011
In 1993, when the city introduced “tax increment financing” in the Brady District, officials described it as the spark that would ignite downtown revitalization. And now, 18 years later, redevelopment is raging through the Brady District, where more than $80 million in construction is either under way or planned for the near future.

Uncategorized

Video: Planning for growth in the Northeast

Smart Growth America’s coalition partner Regional Plan Association works on plans and policies to accommodate and encourage future growth in the Northeast corridor. The Northeast has a number of unique features and challenges, but the Regional Plan Association’s work is exemplary of how regions across the country can identify future growth and transportation challenges and work now to find solutions.

For the Northeast, RPA explains, building a high speed rail network in the region could avert imminent transportation problems. The region is projected to gain 18 million new residents over the next generation but roads connecting towns and cities in the region are already congested. High speed rail could better connect residents and businesses in the area and that doesn’t just mean less traffic: it means a stronger regional economy and better opportunities for economic growth:

In particular, U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, 3rd District of Connecticut, explained the economic boost such a system would bring to her area:

When we begin to connect cities and rural areas – cities like New York, New Haven, Providence, Boston – what you are doing is producing economic growth and economic competitiveness…It is the direction we ought to be moving in in order to look at job growth, competitiveness, economic development, and a key to our economic future.

High speed rail has been controversial in some places, but many of the arguments in this video apply to transportation options of all kinds, including buses, streetcars or subways. Creating these transportation options means better serving more people, accommodating more travelers in the same space and creating more efficient ways to get between home, jobs and stores. Large or small, every community can use smart growth techniques to give people the freedom to choose how they get around.

Uncategorized