Smart growth news – October 31

San Jose’s updated general plan emphasizes ‘smart growth,’ healthier communities
San Jose Mercury (Calif.), October 31, 2011
Called Envision San Jose 2040, the city’s fourth general plan since the mid-1970s is the community’s land-use constitution. The report lays out a long-term vision for the amount, type and phasing of development needed to meet the city’s social, economic and environmental goals. … For many, he said, it’s not having to drive as much. Horwedel and other planners envision “urban villages” closer to where San Jose residents live that offer a variety of ways to live, work, shop and play all at one location.

Suburban plight for poor
The Buffalo News (N.Y.), October 30, 2011
Buffalo may be one of the poorest cities in America, but a majority of the region’s poor now live in suburbia. Of the 159,000 people in the region living below the poverty line, more than half — 52 percent — reside in the suburbs of Erie and Niagara counties, according to an analysis of 2010 census data by a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

What’s up downtown?
The Roanoke News (Va.), October 30, 2011
Downtown Roanoke has seen its population surge from fewer than 50 residents in 2000 to more than 600 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The arrival of new businesses and the expansion of the Jefferson College of Health Sciences show the need for more downtown living spaces, more retail and more office space, Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill said.

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Smart growth news – September 29

New Austin blueprint envisions new direction for growth
The Statesman (Texas), September 28, 2011
After two years of debates and committee meetings, Austin officials have unveiled a broad vision for growth that condemns traditional suburban development and is garnering both praise and skepticism.

Smart Growth Policies Face Overhaul
NJ Spotlight, September 28, 2011
The state is thinking about revamping its policies dealing with what projects receive financial incentives to reduce energy use in buildings, a change smart growth advocates fear will lead to further sprawl and loss of open space.

HUD grant would help homeowners in 4 Iowa counties
KTIV (Iowa), September 27, 2011
Residents that experienced tornado and damaging winds back in April may get some financial help from the federal government. The Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) has submitted an application to the state of Iowa to help certain home owners whose homes were damaged from the strong winds.

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Smart growth news – September 22

Select Cities See Brain Gain
Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2011
Despite a decade of technological advances that make it possible to work almost anywhere, many of the nation’s most educated people continue to cluster in a handful of dominant metropolitan areas such as Boston, New York and California’s Silicon Valley, according to census data released Thursday.

Which Is America’s Best City?
Business Week, September 20
Ask most people which city they would most want to live in and usually their answers would be shaped by such realities as proximity to their jobs and what they can afford. But suppose you could choose to live anywhere you wanted regardless of cost? What if you could live in a city that offered a wealth of culture, entertainment, good schools, low crime, and plenty of green space? Many people might opt for obvious choices such as New York or San Francisco, but great as they are, data reveal other cities are even better.

Cleveland and Cincinnati among poorest big cities
Houston Chronicle, September 22, 2011
A new census report shows two out of the 10 poorest big cities in the U.S. are in Ohio. The American Community Survey released Thursday shows Cleveland has a 34 percent poverty rate. That makes it the No. 3 poorest city with a population of 200,000 or more, behind Detroit and San Bernardino, Calif.

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Smart growth news – September 2

Why the US is unprepared for natural disasters
Public Radio International, September 1, 2011
Bad land-use, urban sprawl and cost-cutting measures by utilities leave US vulnerable to destruction caused by Hurricane Irene and other recent natural disasters.

City to involve county on urban rail planning; new city website shows projects
The Statesman (Texas), August 31, 2011
The city is proposing a system that would connect downtown with the University of Texas, the Mueller neighborhood and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. City leaders hope to put an urban rail bond proposal for hundreds of millions of dollars on the November 2012 ballot to help build the first piece of what city officials have said will be a $1.3 billion, 16.5-mile system. The city would build that initial segment with bond money, federal grants and possibly other sources.

Residents call for filling vacancies, keeping charm
TribLocal (Ill.), September 1, 2011
Filling vacant properties and preserving the Historic District topped residents’ priorities Wednesday as they helped the city create a new comprehensive plan.

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“Transit Corridors for Sustainable Communities: Planning Transit to Connect the Dots” webinar materials and answers to your questions now available

Thank you to everyone who attended Smart Growth America’s Sustainable Communities Network webinar “Transit Corridors for Sustainable Communities: Planning Transit to Connect the Dots” earlier this week. This webinar was hosted by Smart Growth America, PolicyLink, Reconnecting America, and the National Housing Conference.

Listen in: Click here to view the archived webinar

Speaking on the webinar were Dena Belzer, President of Strategic Economics and partner in the Center for Transit-Oriented Development; Crista M. Gardner, Senior Planner at Portland Metro; and David Johnson AICP, Director of Planning, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. The webinar was moderated by Elizabeth Wampler, Program Associate at Reconnecting America and the Center for Transit-Oriented Development.

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Smart growth news – August 25

Is this the world’s greenest neighborhood?
NRDC Switchboard, August 24, 2011
I am on vacation in Victoria, British Columbia, a wonderful city that – among other good things – is home to Dockside Green, which some people are calling the greenest development in the world. At least with respect to new, highly urban developments-in-progress, they may have a case to make: for starters, when NRDC, the US Green Building Council and the Congress for the New Urbanism first announced the LEED for Neighborhood Development pilot program to honor smart growth, the developers of Dockside Green made a point of being the program’s very first applicant. It has since earned a platinum rating under LEED-ND.

A building spurt in Minneapolis
Star Tribune (Minn.), August 24, 2011
It’s been one of the worst years in history for home builders, but not in Minneapolis. The city expects to issue permits to build more than 1,500 new housing units — mostly rental apartments, according to the Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department…It’s a boom that’s being fueled by the convergence of two trends: a return to city living and a growing preference for rental housing over homeownership.

City vision for downtown: better parks, urban rail, cheaper housing
The Statesman (Texas), August 24, 2011
Picture downtown Austin with spruced-up parks, urban rail, more tree-lined and wider sidewalks and moderately priced housing. Those are some of the ideas described in a $1.6 million master plan that the City Council may consider today . The plan lays out a vision for transforming downtown that would cost as much as $350 million to carry out over the next decade. It’s not clear where the money would come from, but the likely options are fees, bond elections or partnerships with private companies.

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New poll shows strong support for sustainable communities

(Cross-posted from Smart Growth America.) A recent poll by Smart Growth America has found that in the midst of a struggling U.S. economy, support for smart growth strategies remains high among Americans across the country and on both sides of the political aisle. The poll focused specifically on support for sustainable communities: urban, suburban or … Continued

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Submissions sought for Congress for New Urbanism's Charter Awards

From CNU: CNU is seeking submissions for the 2011 Charter Awards, its premier annual juried awards program. The awards recognize outstanding design, development and policy achievements from around the world that embody the principles of the Charter of the New Urbanism and expand our understanding of their role in transforming communities for the better. The … Continued

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New GIS tool models housing density growth to reflect climate and land use

Tapping into the power of GIS to model housing density growth scenarios just got a little easier. EPA just released ICLUS, which stands for Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios. According to EPA, this new tool enables you to: customize housing density patterns by altering household size and travel time assumptions;; summarize patterns by region, … Continued

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California developers call SB 375 “a pro-growth strategy” that’s good for business

Will California’s plans for reducing dangerous climate-changing emissions help or hinder the building and development market? California’s most prominent association of real estate developers answered that question emphatically last week, saying that California’s law requiring regions to reduce emissions through smarter land use, transportation, and housing decisions is good for business.

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