Smart growth news – November 29

The city that floats
Salon, November 28, 2011
Whether out of High Line envy, Olympic fever or a pining for its days as a naval superpower, London has hatched a plan — a big, wet one — for the north bank of the river Thames. A sleek, kilometer-long floating promenade running from the Tower of London to the Millennium Bridge, London River Park will create an instant walkable waterfront in a stretch of the city where there is none.

‘Brain Hubs’ Like Austin, Texas, Create More Work for Less-Educated Residents
Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2011
In recent decades, a select number of brain hubs like Austin have attracted a higher percentage of well-educated workers and a lopsided share of new investment and young companies. In 1970, the top 10 most-educated metropolitan areas among the nation’s 100 largest had an average of 23% of workers holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 10% in the bottom 10, according to an analysis of Census data by Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser. The 13-percentage-point gap has widened every decade since, and had doubled by 2010. Beyond creating new middle-skill jobs, such brain hubs have generally higher incomes and for the most part have performed better through the recession. In Austin, the 7.1% average unemployment rate in 2010 was well below the nation’s during the same period.

Manheim Township ordinance allows for increased density
Lancaster New Era (Pa.), November 29, 2011
Manheim Township commissioners approved a revised zoning ordinance that will allow for increased density in hopes of guiding development using “smart growth” principals on Monday night.

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Smart growth news – November 14

U.S. Farmers Reclaim Land From Developers
Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2011
Five years into a brutal national housing downturn, raw land destined for residential development has fallen so far in value that thousands of acres across the country are being used again for agriculture.

McMansions swell the real eastate market as homebuyers think small
The Star-Ledger (N.J.), November 13, 2011
Certain homebuyers once prized these large houses, tucked away on a few acres of land and featuring half a dozen bedrooms, grand entranceways, and three-car garages. But in the face of the economic collapse, declines in personal wealth, a tight housing market, and a shift of what prospective homeowners want, all that has changed. Major demographic changes could also make the market shrink even further in the next five years, as baby boomers retire and look to downsize. The generation behind them is smaller and has less money and a desire to live closer to urban centers.

In Shift, More People Move In to New York Than Out
New York Times, November 11, 2011
While much of the city’s population growth in recent years has been fueled by the influx of immigrants and more people being born than dying, there have been new waves of arrivals from other parts of the country and fewer New Yorkers leaving. In 2010, 252,000 people moved to New York — 157,000 from elsewhere in the country — while 220,000 left, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That contrasts sharply with 2006, when 230,000 arrived and 341,000 left.

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Smart growth news – August 23

Creek Restoration Keys Cincinnati’s Battle Against Urban Blight, Stormwater
The New York Times, August 22, 2011
But because of the 3,700-foot-long, 19.5-foot-wide pipe underneath the area, the decaying neighborhood is now part of one of the largest public works projects in Cincinnati’s history and one of the nation’s biggest experiments in green infrastructure.

King County: Transfer of Development Rights Protects 700 Acres Around Sammamish
Sammamish Patch (Wash.), August 22, 2011
More than 700 acres of rural forests and pasturelands in the Patterson Creek watershed near the city of Sammamish will be permanently protected under an innovative Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) agreement signed by King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Our partnership with the city of Sammamish helps create a compact, vibrant urban landscape with walkable neighborhoods and abundant green space,” Constantine said.

As businesses come and go, views of downtown differ
Colorado Springs Gazette, August 20, 2011
Four years ago, Colorado Springs business people and civic leaders finalized Imagine Downtown, an ambitious plan touting more retail, housing, employers and attractions for the area. Today, supporters say the economy has made it tough for downtown to become the round-the-clock, live-work-play environment they’ve visualized, but strides have been made.

Complete Streets

Why do some in DC think livability is not a small town value? Part II

From the President down to the Secretary of Transportation, administration officials have spent the year vocally supporting a focus on livability from the federal government — doing what’s in their power to encourage smarter, people-centric planning to create more great places to live where residents have numerous options for getting around and a high quality of life. Perhaps unsurprisingly in this polarized white-hot political era, there’s been a backlash in Congress from some rural legislators. But isn’t livability really a quintessential small-town value? Part two of a personal reflection on small city livability.

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Why do some in DC think livability is not a small town value?

The administration’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities testifies before Congress, representing Housing, Transportation, and the Environment. Photo from DOT. This is part one of a two-part series. Read part two here. From the President down to the Secretary of Transportation, administration officials have spent the year vocally supporting a focus on livability from the federal government … Continued

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Award-winning brownfields project created vibrant green space, jobs center

Ten years ago, the Menomonee Valley in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was dead land. Today, after many years of clever ideas, careful planning, and hard work, people are fishing in the Menomonee River again — which runs right through the heart of Milwaukee. Commuters and recreational bicyclists are using the new bike paths. There’s a soccer field and even a canoe launch. The land hasn’t merely been cleaned of environmental hazards. It’s been transformed into a place where people want to spend their leisure time.

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Can smarter land use help stop violence in the community?

The public health field often looks at changing individual behavior to get better outcomes – we offer driver’s education to prevent accidents, or conduct public service announcements about the importance of exercise to lower obesity levels. New research on violent crime helps illustrate the fact that the choices people make are influenced by the places they live, and that what we choose to do with the physical space in our communities can play a critical role in our efforts to help keep people safer and healthier.

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Review – OVER: The American Landscape at the Tipping Point

While many of us may futilely try to verbally explain abstractions like ‘auto-dependency,’ ‘resource depletion’ or ‘density,’ aerial photographer MacLean heeds the ancient wisdom about the power of a picture. Transcending usual limits of geography and scale, he rises above and captures in rich detail those scenes we only catch brief unsatisfying glimpses of during … Continued

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2008 at the Ballot Box: Continuing the Trend

The results of November’s Presidential election may have represented a change of direction for our country, but at least one trend at the ballot box remained unchanged from the past few elections: Taxpayers across the country again approved a bevy of ballot measures to conserve land, protect farmland, promote smart growth; and expand public transportation, … Continued

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Climate impact considered in Maine megaproject

When a timber company proposed a new development on a lake in central Maine that would clear 14,000 acres of forest to build roughly 2,300 homes, forward-looking leaders in Maine questioned the wisdom of a mega-project on pristine wilderness so far from existing infrastructure. Considering the fact that satisfying the growing demand for homes in … Continued

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