Building Resilient States: Profiles in Action

In October 2015, the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, a program run in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Smart Growth America, released Building Resilient States: A Framework for Agencies, a report intended to introduce and integrate land use and transportation issues into states’ conversations about resilience. The Framework was designed to help … Continued

The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: New York

Despite the demand for walkable urban places in New York, most real estate investment has been in the region’s core rather than in creating new walkable urban places or growing the region’s rail-served town centers. This represents a lost economic opportunity, and presents a real danger of a substantial affordable housing crisis if efforts to balance the region are not taken.

Companies want walkable downtowns, so Governor Andrew Cuomo is making revitalization a key part of his economic development plan

ithacaDowntown Ithaca, NY, is one potential model for walkable development upstate. Photo by Photo by Shannon Williamson, Downtown Ithaca Alliance.

In his State of the State address last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined ambitious plans to spur economic growth in upstate New York, and called for a push to revitalize the region’s struggling downtowns. One of his reasons for focusing on downtown revitalization specifically? Companies across the country want to be located in walkable neighborhoods—as Smart Growth America outlined last year in our report Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown.

Green Carts are tackling New York City’s food deserts

Green Carts in New York City, NY. Photo via the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. How difficult is it for you to pick up a tomato for tonight’s dinner or some apples for the week? Unfortunately, for over 23 million people in the United States it is extremely tough. They live in food deserts—urban and rural neighborhoods … Continued

Town Supervisor David Tennent on connecting communities in rural Campbell, NY


Town of Campbell, NY. Photo via Town of Campbell website.

Residents of Campbell, NY, want a vibrant main street while maintaining their rural atmosphere. David Tennent, Town Supervisor and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is using smart growth strategies to improve walkability, foster local business, and enhance natural resources to provide the Campbell that the residents desire.

New York tours offer look at urban manufacturing’s revival


Urban small-scale manufacturers at work. Photo by Nicolas Lemery Nantel for OHNY.

In today’s American economy, where so much is imported from other countries, American cities are rediscovering their manufacturing roots. Industry shakeups and the economic downturn demonstrate the vulnerability of cities that rely on single-industry manufacturing sectors like steel and automobiles. But while large-scale industries suffer from lack of resilience, small-scale manufacturing is creeping back into our cities and strengthening our local economies.

Today, though the manufacturing sector makes up just 12% of US GDP, the sector has grown at roughly twice the pace of the country’s overall economic growth since the end of the recession. Manufacturing provides high-wage, low-barrier to entry jobs with the average manufacturing salary roughly $10,000 more than the average U.S. job. Between 2010 and 2012, manufacturing jobs grew by over 400,000—many of them in small businesses. The opportunity for local job growth is great.

Dangerous by Design 2014: New York

The National Complete Streets Coalition reports on the national epidemic of pedestrian fatalities, offering county-, metro-, and state-level data on traffic fatalities and an interactive map of each loss in the decade 2003 through 2012. This resource specific profiles the state of New York.

Queensbury, NY hosts workshop for revitalizing town’s Main Street

queensburymainst

The Town of Queensbury has big plans for revitalizing its Main Street corridor. As part of making those plans reality, Queensbury officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on April 16 and 17, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The assistance came at a time when Queensbury leaders were discussing how best to capitalize on a $22 million investment in road, sidewalk, streetscape, water and sewer improvements completed in 2011 and related planning studies and zoning regulations. The workshop aimed to help the town realize the potential economic benefits of a compact, denser development pattern for the corridor.

“As the third of four planned workshops related to the future development of Main Street, the Town Board expects to gain some vital information from the Smart Growth America staff that will help guide us in any changes we may wish to make to this neighborhood’s zoning,” said Supervisor John Strough.

On the workshop’s first day, April 16, a group of Queensbury residents gathered for a presentation that featured a broad overview of the fiscal and economic implications of new development along Main Street. A wide range of state and elected officials, real estate executives, local residents, non-profit organizations, and representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were present for the workshop’s second day, April 17. In addition to a presentation on the economic and fiscal impacts of different development patterns, the workshop included a facilitated brainstorming session with participants.