Building Resilient States: Profiles in Action Webinar

Communities shouldn’t wait for a flood or a hurricane to see how land use choices will affect their ability to remain resilient in the face of disaster. Many states and municipalities are already thinking strategically about how land use, transportation, and infrastructure decisions can help them prepare for and mitigate the impact of disasters. Building … Continued

Economic development Resilience

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

Economic development Resilience

Announcing the recipients of our Small-Scale Manufacturing And Place-Based Economic Development technical assistance


The Gates Art Gallery building in Lowell, MA’s Acre neighborhood. Lowell is hoping to support small-scale manufacturing in the neighborhood. Photo by Richard Howe via Flickr.

Four communities are using small-scale manufacturing for downtown revitalization to create economic opportunity, and will receive free technical assistance from Smart Growth America, made possible by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Small-scale manufacturing has emerged as an innovative strategy in today’s urban economic development toolbox. For many cities, this new industry can connect residents to good paying jobs and economic opportunity in the neighborhoods they call home. Smart Growth America’s newest technical assistance program helps cities integrate small-scale manufacturing spaces into their economic development work.

Economic development Technical assistance

Connecting rural economies to the speed of broadband

Rural communities across the country have abundant natural beauty and a heritage of hard work. By bridging the gap in broadband capabilities, these communities are creating a new resource for their current residents and making themselves more competitive in the national economy.

Technical assistance

Ohio expected to join the growing ranks of state DOTs choosing to #RepairPriorities

lancaster-ohA road crew repaving Main Street in Lancaster, OH. Photo by Robert Batina via Flickr.

In 2008, just 6 percent of roads in Ohio were listed as being in “poor” condition. By 2011, though, that number had ballooned to 20 percent — the state was failing to keep up with needed repairs. Yet during that same time Ohio spent millions of dollars building new roads, taking funds away from repair work and adding to the state’s future repair burden.

Many states across the country are in similar predicaments. As Smart Growth America detailed in our 2014 report Repair Priorities, between 2009 and 2011 states collectively spent $20.4 billion annually to build new roads and add new lanes — projects that accounted for just 1 percent of their total road system. During that same time, states spent just $16.5 billion annually repairing and preserving the other 99 percent of their roads. This despite the fact that roads conditions were deteriorating faster than many states could fix them.

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Newark, NJ; Hamilton, OH; Jackson, TN win 2015 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement from U.S. EPA

newark-riverfront-park
The City of Newark, NJ remediated the site of a former smelting plant to build a new—and now award-winning—park along the Passaic River. Photo via Archpaper.

Three cities have transformed the site of a former smelting plant, a neighborhood destroyed by tornado, and a near-empty historic downtown into vibrant, walkable places. Now, these projects have been recognized with the 2015 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Riverfront Park is the culmination of decades-long work to transform five miles of formerly industrial Passaic riverfront in Newark, NJ. The park’s land was once home to a smelting plant, and sat abandoned and unusable for years. Environmental remediation and an intensive public engagement process have created what will ultimately be 19 acres of parkland and Newark’s first—and so far only—public access to the Passaic River. In this community of color and predominantly low-income area, with few green spaces and a history of industrial pollution, the new park is game-changing. “When I was growing up, we had very few places to play, very few parks,” said Ana Baptista, a Newark resident, in EPA’s video about the project. “My daughters are going to grow up having a relationship to the water and the river that I didn’t have.”

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Mayor Nan Whaley on economic transformation in Dayton, OH

The Greater Downtown Plan will guide development for Dayton, OH Photo via jimcrotty.com.The Greater Downtown Plan will guide development for Dayton, OH Photo via jimcrotty.com.

Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, OH and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, sees smart growth strategies playing an important role in positioning the city for a new generation of economic vibrancy.

A former city commissioner, Whaley was elected mayor of Dayton in November, 2013. In her inaugural speech she was upfront about the challenges the community faces, including economic stagnation brought on by a decline in the city’s manufacturing base and reduced federal spending affecting a major nearby Air Force base.

Local Leaders Council

Smart Growth America holds workshop in Cincinnati, OH on implementing transit-oriented development

Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati, OH. Photo via Flickr.

Smart Growth America visited Cincinnati, OH, last week to meet with residents and City officials about the many benefits of transit, and development surrounding transit, and why these strategies are important to future development in Cincinnati and the surrounding region.

In June the City of Cincinnati adopted a new comprehensive plan, has updated the Green Cincinnati plan and is currently revising its land development code. All three emphasize strategies that will help support smart growth in Cincinnati.

Technical assistance