Streetsblog founder Aaron Naparstek on blogs as a tool for local policy change

Aaron Naparstek, founder, on how a blog can elevate transportation and urban planning policies in the civic agenda and make real change in cities across the country. Naparstek makes the case for blogs as a extremely effective tool for elected officials who know how to engage them and do so smartly. See more interviews … Continued

Local Leaders Council

Laura Jackson of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield on creating healthier communities

Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council recently spoke with Laura Jackson, an Executive Vice President of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, to get her perspective on why smart growth strategies should be a priority for the health care industry and how the way we build communities can help abate rising health care costs and improve public health.

“Smart growth practices are a way to help people understand that there are certain things you can do, either low cost or no cost in many cases in communities, to live a longer healthier life,” says Jackson.

Local Leaders Council

Jeremy Madsen on using urban growth boundaries to direct development and protect open lands

Jeremy Madsen, Executive Director of Greenbelt Alliance, California’s San Francisco Bay Area land conservation and urban planning organization, talks about urban growth boundaries. By adopting a line beyond municipal services cannot extend, cities and counties can protect open space and agricultural lands and promote growth where they want it to occur. See more interviews with … Continued

Local Leaders Council

Carlos Gallinar on building a stronger El Paso, TX with Plan El Paso

Last year, El Paso, TX’s comprehensive plan Plan El Paso was named the Best Smart Growth Plan by the Atlantic Cities and honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for achievement in smart growth. Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council sat down with Carlos Gallinar, El Paso’s Deputy Director for City Development and Planning, to learn what El Paso is doing to become one of the premier cities of the Southwest.

Local Leaders Council

Jim Bacon explains the fiscal and economic benefits of smart growth

Jim Bacon is creator and publisher of Bacon’s Rebellion, a Virginia-based blog that covers a range of infrastructure, growth and policy issues. In an interview with Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, Bacon discusses how he came to see smart growth strategies as a fiscally responsible approach to development.

A former editor of Virginia Business Magazine, Bacon has been following community development and transportation issues since the 1980s when northern Virginia was experiencing a building boom. “I was really concerned about costs of growth at the time,” says Bacon. “When you smear out growth over a large, huge land mass, it’s going to be far more expensive to build the roads, extend water and sewer, cable lines, and electricity.”

Local Leaders Council

Peter Harnik on creating great urban parks for cities

Urban parks can increase property values, enhance neighborhood identity and provide access to open space within a neighborhood. More and more communities are finding creative ways to integrate parks into urban environments, and Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council recently caught up with expert Peter Harnik to learn more about this smart growth strategy.

“We look at parks not just from the perspective of a great park, but how the park can interact with the city and make it great,” says Harnik, who is the Director of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence and member of Smart Growth America Board of Directors. The video interview is part of our Local Leaders Council’s “Meet the Experts” video series, which provides information for local leaders interested in learning more about smart growth strategies.

Local Leaders Council

Ben Bakkenta on regional transportation planning in Washington

Ben Bakkenta is a Program Manager for the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) in the Seattle Metropolitan Region. PSRC is spearheading the innovative Growing Transit Communities project to bridge the gap between the broad transit visions for the region and the implementation of projects at the local level. The project focuses on existing and future … Continued

Local Leaders Council