California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg to be honored with the 2012 Smart Growth America Leadership Award

California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a long-time smart growth and community development advocate, will accept Smart Growth America’s 2012 Smart Growth Leadership award during a Friday ceremony at the Joe & Vi Jacobs Center in San Diego.

The honor coincides with the 11th annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference, a national event hosted by the Local Government Commission. It is expected to draw more than 1,500 attendees, including policy experts, business leaders, representatives from state and federal agencies and high-ranking elected officials.

“Perhaps no lawmaker has done more for smart growth in California in recent years than Sen. Steinberg,” says Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoffrey Anderson. “SB375 was groundbreaking in that it provided a model for how regions can save on municipal service and infrastructure costs, increase development certainty, and become more resilient to changes in energy prices.”

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PlanMaryland the fiscally responsible way to build a better Maryland

Years from now, I want my grandchildren to enjoy living in Maryland as much as I do. That’s why I support PlanMaryland.

I want my grandchildren to enjoy the beauty of Patapsco Valley State Park and the bustling downtown of historic Annapolis. I want them to be able to eat food grown in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and to find a job in Maryland. I want Maryland to be a place they will love.

PlanMaryland will help make sure all these things are possible. On Monday, Governor Martin O’Malley signed an executive order on this long-term growth plan for the state, and I completely support his action.

PlanMaryland will save Maryland taxpayers billions of dollars of infrastructure costs, including $1.5 billion on necessary road repair. In addition, the Plan will help Maryland avoid $29 billion in road and school construction costs over the next 25 years, which would be needed to keep pace with current trends.

PlanMaryland will stimulate economic development and revitalization in towns, cities and other existing communities. Many of Maryland’s communities have empty storefronts and vacant homes, and PlanMaryland will help bring people back to these places. The Plan will also support 600,000 new jobs in Maryland by the year 2035.

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As small cities struggle, a look at the high cost of low-density development


Harrisburg, PA’s former City Hall building. The city of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy yesterday. Photo by Flickr user Wally Gobetz.

Smart growth can reduce costs for municipal governments, and with so many towns in America struggling financially it’s time more places use these fiscally responsible strategies.

News this week from Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Florida and Maine highlight the fact that many small cities are struggling to make ends meet. Cash-strapped and unable to cover costs, many municipalities are tightening their belts and some are raising taxes. Most notably, the city of Harrisburg, PA filed for bankruptcy yesterday, unable to generate enough revenue to meet its expenses.

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Smart Growth America offers ideas for growth in Jackson Hole, WY

The town of Jackson and Teton County, WY, are in the process of jointly updating their 1994 Comprehensive Plan — a piece of legislation that guides policy, investment, programs, and land use decisions in the area. Updating the Plan is a complex process but one which will help it better meet the needs of Town and County residents, businesses, and other stakeholders.

PlanJH, a diverse group of community members from the Jackson/Teton area, has helped facilitate public discussion of the issues surrounding the Comprehensive Plan, and in May the group held a public presentation about smart growth strategies. Roger Millar, Director of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, was on hand to answer questions and offer strategies that could help Jackson residents fulfill their vision of community success.

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Send your nominations for Smart Growth America's second annual 2012 Leadership Award

Nominations are now being accepted for Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute second annual Leadership Award. This is a great opportunity to recognize elected officials in your area who have championed smart growth and sustainable development policies.

Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute’s Award for Outstanding Leadership is bestowed annually on an elected official that has shown exceptional leadership in smart growth policy development or implementation. Last year, North Carolina State Senator Floyd B. McKissick and Representative Jennifer Weiss received the award for their outstanding leadership in smart growth policy making that will make North Carolina neighborhoods even greater places to live. Their efforts helped create the innovative Sustainable Communities Task Force, which created $250,000 in task force grants for regional sustainable development partnerships.

The Leadership Institute will be accepting nominations from Smart Growth America coalition members until September 1, 2011. Please contact Shelly Hazle, Program Manager, Smart Growth America for further details at 202-207-3355 x120 or [email protected]

Click here to download the full submission guidelines (PDF)

Nominations will be accepted through our online submission form. Click here to submit your nomination online >>

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Smart Growth America's Leadership Institute hosts infill policy workshop in Billings, Montana

Last week, Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute convened a two-day-long “Introduction to Infill” workshop in Billings, Montana. Infill is a development strategy that uses land within an already built-up area for further construction, focusing on reusing and repositioning obsolete or underutilized buildings and sites.

Together with the City of Billings, the Billings Association of Realtors, the Billings Home Builders Association, Healthy By Design, the Montana Association of Planners, Cole Law Firm, the Western Central Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Billings Chamber of Commerce, the workshop offered expert perspectives on infill development to the community in preparation for the City’s goal of developing an Infill Policy. This type of development is essential to renewing blighted neighborhoods and knitting them back together with more prosperous communities.

More than 80 participants from Montana and North Dakota attended the two-day workshop on April 26 and 27 in Billings. The workshop provided an overview of the state-of-the-practice, as well as the application of infill policies to specific issues – economic development, transportation, private sector involvement, and examples of infill development in Billings and around the country. Local perspectives were also provided through several sessions comprised of local developers, consultants, City staff and other organizations.

The workshop was designed to start the process of developing an infill policy for the City of Billings. A portion of the workshop was devoted to discussing the basic elements of an infill policy and beginning to define infill for Billings. A working group will be formed from the workshop attendees and others in the community in the coming months to develop a draft infill policy to present to the City Council for consideration in late 2011 or early 2012.

More information about the workshop, including the days’ agenda, workshop session descriptions and presentations are available at the City of Billings’ website. If you would like to know more about Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute’s workshops and seminars, visit https://smartgrowthamerica.org/leadership-institute or email leadershipinstitute [at] smartgrowthamerica [dot] org.

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Working for better transportation options in Washington state

A new campaign in Washington is fighting to improve transportation for people across the state. Transportation for Washington, a project launched this week by Smart Growth America’s coalition partners Futurewise and the Transportation Choices Coalition, is calling for better repair and maintenance of roads across the state as well as more transportation choices for Washingtonians. These transportation spending strategies – which are in line with many of Smart Growth America’s recent recommendations for Washington – create jobs, spur economic growth and improve Washington’s transportation system at the same time.

Roger Millar, Director of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, discussed these same issues with Ross Reynolds on KUOW-94.9 Seattle’s The Conversation earlier this week. Together with Mike Ennis, Director of the Center for Transportation at the Washington Policy Center, Millar discussed the state of Washington’s transportation system and how the state can get more out of their transportation dollars:

Funding for public transportation is currently a hot topic in Washington state. A bill recently introduced to the state legislature would allow local transit agencies to seek funding to finance public transit projects. According to the Washington Transportation Commission, Washington currently has over $200 billion in unfunded transportation projects – and that need is growing.

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