Smart growth news – November 29

The city that floats
Salon, November 28, 2011
Whether out of High Line envy, Olympic fever or a pining for its days as a naval superpower, London has hatched a plan — a big, wet one — for the north bank of the river Thames. A sleek, kilometer-long floating promenade running from the Tower of London to the Millennium Bridge, London River Park will create an instant walkable waterfront in a stretch of the city where there is none.

‘Brain Hubs’ Like Austin, Texas, Create More Work for Less-Educated Residents
Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2011
In recent decades, a select number of brain hubs like Austin have attracted a higher percentage of well-educated workers and a lopsided share of new investment and young companies. In 1970, the top 10 most-educated metropolitan areas among the nation’s 100 largest had an average of 23% of workers holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 10% in the bottom 10, according to an analysis of Census data by Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser. The 13-percentage-point gap has widened every decade since, and had doubled by 2010. Beyond creating new middle-skill jobs, such brain hubs have generally higher incomes and for the most part have performed better through the recession. In Austin, the 7.1% average unemployment rate in 2010 was well below the nation’s during the same period.

Manheim Township ordinance allows for increased density
Lancaster New Era (Pa.), November 29, 2011
Manheim Township commissioners approved a revised zoning ordinance that will allow for increased density in hopes of guiding development using “smart growth” principals on Monday night.

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Smart growth news – October 20

Christie announces new state plan that focuses on business and job creation
NewJerseyNewsroom.com, October 19, 2011
The plan also calls for “effective planning for “vibrant regions,” including areas designated as “Priority Growth Investment Areas” where an effort would be made to promote urban areas with access to quality education, housing, public transportation and infrastructure, parks and recreation.

Administration Wants to Shelve Smart Growth Map
NJ Spotlight, October 20, 2011
The Christie administration is proposing a radical overhaul of the State Plan, a blueprint state officials devoted years trying to achieve, mostly unsuccessfully, by steering growth to established urban and suburban areas and away from open space and farmlands.

So happy together
The Economist’s Free Exchange blog, October 19, 2011
Taken together the data are suggestive of a recovery in housing driven by renters. This isn’t entirely surprising. New home construction has been at record low levels for several years now, amounting to a shortfall in construction far bigger than the deviation above trend from 2002 to 2006. Meanwhile, America’s population has kept on growing. This mismatch has begun to translate into falling rental vacancies and rent increases, which has in turn generated an small but growing upswing in construction of multifamily housing.

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Eliminating the gas tax?

The situation: Bridges are falling down, traffic congestion is worsening, gains in fuel efficiency are reducing gas tax revenues, worthwhile transit projects are sitting on the shelf, and the Highway Trust Fund — funded by the 18.5 cents a gallon gas tax that is already inadequate for funding transportation investments — is about to run … Continued

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