The popular narrative about younger generations aging and leaving urban centers is presented as inevitable. But most news stories fail to examine why many younger people are taking up residence in suburbia—or whether or not the suburbs they’re choosing have more in common with cities or the exurbs their parents preferred. Perhaps their move to the suburbs is more a product of constrained housing supply that leaves them with little choice but to decamp as they grow.
Hundreds of companies across the United States are moving to and investing in walkable downtown locations. As job migration shifts towards cities and as commercial real estate values climb in these places, a vanguard of American companies are building and expanding in walkable downtown neighborhoods. Why are companies choosing these places? What are the competitive … Continued
On November 20, smart growth advocates and policymakers in Maine convened for our coalition partner GrowSmart Maine‘s annual summit. The conference drew members from across the state for an afternoon focused on the policies, trends, events, and projects that have strengthened Maine’s economy, environment and communities.
On Wednesday, September 25, Smart Growth America’s Transportation in the City event brought together a panel of transportation and startup experts, representatives from innovative transportation services operating in DC, and Washington residents to discuss the growth of transportation options over the past few years – and the challenges that lay ahead.
The panel included Donna Harris, Co-founder, 1776; Sita Vasan, Executive Director, SwitchPitch; Martin Di Caro, Transportation Reporter, WAMU; and Tom Fairchild, Director, Mobility Lab. Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth made the opening remarks and the panel was moderated by Smart Growth America Vice President and Chief of Staff Ilana Preuss.
What makes a city good for business? To get a sense, we looked two prominent business magazines that recently ranked cities all across America for their business climates. Four cities made it to both lists’ top ten: Washington, D.C.; New York City, New York; Austin, Texas; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
What do these “best for business cities have in common? They’re all using smart growth strategies.
“Great neighborhoods and great cities are where employees want to be and where businesses want to move,” said Geoffrey Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, “That’s why smart growth strategies are good for economic development – it helps businesses connect with workers and customers.”
After a year of running its carsharing service in Baltimore, MD, Zipcar released a survey yesterday of its members in the city and the findings are exciting for anyone who supports easy parking, reduced traffic congestion and transportation choices.
According to the survey, people who use Zipcar’s carsharing service reported driving less overall, reduced vehicle ownership and increasing use of other modes of transportation. 18% of respondents have sold their vehicles since joining Zipcar, 46% stated that they have avoided buying a car, and 72% said being a Zipcar member made it less likely they would buy or lease a car in the future. In addition, a full 88% of respondents say they take less than five car trips each month.
All of this means that there are fewer cars on Baltimore roads, and that has great implications for the city.
The suburban campus headquarters, once the pinnacle of corporate America, is on the decline. Two recent pieces from the Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine explain that many companies are choosing to leave their suburban headquarters in favor of walkable downtowns with smart growth features.
“The youth of America, when they graduate, they’re looking to go to an urban environment,” Quicken CEO Bill Emerson explained to Fortune. Explaining that top recruits wanted to be in a place where they could live, work and play, Emerson added, “An asphalt parking lot is not necessarily the best way to do that.”
Features like mass transit, shorter commutes, the option of walking to work and access to restaurants and shops – all key principles of smart growth development – are forming a new model of what America’s most desirable workers want. Rather than trying to lure these workers out to the suburbs, many companies – including corporations like United Airlines, Zappos.com, Credit Suisse AG, Panasonic – are relocating to where young, talented professionals want to live. According to Fortune:
In general, suburban or rural locations are cheaper per square foot, have lower taxes, ample parking, and don’t require higher salaries for employees to feel reasonably compensated. But for companies looking to recruit younger people, all those factors have to be weighed against the reality that there is nothing hip about the ‘burbs.