Smart growth news – October 6

Big-box development on outskirts of Woodland leaves downtown in decline
Sacramento Bee, October 6, 2011
Proud and provincial, Woodland was once a compact square surrounded by some of the state’s richest farmland. Victorian mansions, stately civic buildings and turn-of-the-century storefronts still line the city’s downtown streets, reminders of its past prosperity as the seat of Yolo County government. But in recent years, the city of 55,000 has struggled to define itself as it grew in an irregular patchwork to the south and east along Interstate 5 and Highway 113.

Planner: Lakeland’s Urban Growth Can Provide More Tax Revenue Than Malls
The Ledger (Fla.), October 5, 2011
City officials need to look downtown for tax revenue rather than sprawling, dense suburban developments. That’s what Peter Katz, director of smart growth/urban planning for Sarasota County, told more than a hundred people at the Downtown Lakeland Partnership’s State of Downtown lunch Wednesday at The Lakeland Center.

Insurer UnitedHealthcare merges into 2 new sites
Arizona Republic, October 5, 2011
Jones said UnitedHealthcare’s move was planned to help Phoenix bolster its downtown economy. “It also was an opportunity to consolidate our team and help with some efficiencies,” Jones said.

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Parking flexibility as an economic development tool

Far too often, the insanity of minimum parking requirements drive development decisions, to the detriment of just about everyone — a theme best developed by UCLA’s Don Shoup in his terrific book, The High Cost of Free Parking. Another story, as both data point and lesson: Our favorite local micro-brewery gives tours; we went last Friday evening, where we heard a version of this story.

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