What the election showed me

This election season was tumultuous and divisive. For me, as president of an organization working to improve Americans’ lives by building better communities, it has brought a mixture of uncertainty, alarm, and hope. First, the uncertainty. With regard to economic development, tax policy, housing, infrastructure, and other federal programs that affect communities, the policies of … Continued


Voters come out in favor of smart growth measures

In last night’s elections, voters across the country proved once again that measures like transit, infrastructure, and downtown redevelopment have strong support across the board.

This was certainly true in Durham County, N.C. which approved a half-cent sale tax increase to improve bus services and support future commuter and light rail projects. Gov. Parris Glendening, President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, recently spoke in Durham in support of the measure, which passed 60%-40%.

Durham’s not alone – dozens of towns and cities also voted to support smart growth strategies. Here’s a look at how other measures fared in last night’s elections.


Smart growth news – November 9

Trending: Voters approve smart growth projects

Mixed-use draws strong following in Cocoa Beach
Florida Today, November 9, 2011
Reacting to shuttered storefronts and abandoned buildings, city voters hope that adding apartments or condos will economically rejuvenate their flagging downtown. By a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent (1,774 votes to 1,133 votes), residents approved future mixed-use development — blending residential units with today’s commercial properties — across 24 square blocks in the downtown area.

City voters give thumbs up to renewed downtown
Beaverton Valley Times (Ore.), November 8, 2011
Beaverton voters appeared to be comfortable with a measure to create an urban renewal plan to help revitalize Beaverton’s core business and commercial district.

Streetcar, rail get go-ahead
Cincinnati.com, November 9, 2011
Cincinnati voters narrowly gave a green light Tuesday to the long-debated streetcar project, clearing the way for construction of the Downtown-to-Over-the-Rhine line to begin by early next year.


Smart growth news – November 8

Boise writes new city blueprint
Idaho Statesman, November 8, 2011
Boiseans don’t like strip malls. They don’t like architecture that’s out of scale with pedestrians. Nor do they like development patterns that line thoroughfares with parking lots. They do like walkable mixed-use developments like Bown Crossing, Hyde Park and the 36th Street Garden Plaza, with homes, cafes and parking lots tucked out of sight and the needs of pedestrians balanced with those of drivers. That’s what Boise city staffers learned during the past four years as they worked with residents to develop a new comprehensive plan, the first since 1997.

The myth of the progressive city
Salon, November 7, 2011
[T]wo or three decades ago, there may have been some truth to the notion that the American city is a union-driven bastion of populist progressive economics. But today, while cities may still largely vote Democratic, they are increasingly embracing the economics of corporatism. The result is that urban areas are a driving force behind the widening intra-party rift between the corporatist, pro-privatization Wall Street Democrats and the traditional labor-progressive “Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.”

A Bridge Too Far? U.S. Infrastructure’s Future Depends on Current Debate
International Business Times, November 7, 2011
America’s bridges are crossed an average of 4 billion times every day; 282 million of those treks involve structurally deficient spans. As America’s infrastructure ages, the ranks of deficient bridges will grow, doubling by 2030 if not addressed, according to Transportation for America.


Smart Growth at the Ballot Box: Fall 2009 Edition

With a lot of cities and states in dire budgetary straits, the tendency is often to focus on what they consider “the basics” — meaning that a lot of necessary projects to fix dangerous intersections, build pedestrian facilities, finance a new transit line, or preserve green space might be on the chopping block. So how did these sorts of projects in communities across the country fare in the November elections a few weeks back?


2008 at the Ballot Box: Continuing the Trend

The results of November’s Presidential election may have represented a change of direction for our country, but at least one trend at the ballot box remained unchanged from the past few elections: Taxpayers across the country again approved a bevy of ballot measures to conserve land, protect farmland, promote smart growth; and expand public transportation, … Continued


Who will cast a vision for our "metro nation?"

“Despite occupying just 12 percent of U.S. land mass, the nation’s 100 largest metro areas account for 65 percent of its people and 75 percent of its economic output. They hold the keys to America’s future prosperity…” As a nation where economic success or failure hinges firmly on the backs of our largest metropolitan areas, … Continued


Energy, smart growth, climate change and the 2008 candidates (Part 2)

This is part two of our rundown of candidates’ energy, climate, and transportation positions. Today, we’ll cover the Democrats. (Click here for the Republicans) As a reminder, Smart Growth America is endorsing neither a candidate nor a party. This is solely for informational purposes. Have we missed something or has a candidate changed their stance? … Continued