COVID-19 has forced community leaders, planners, and placemakers to reconsider the value of shared spaces to every aspect of public life. Our new Public Realm Learning Journeys are bringing together leaders from three cities to learn what it takes to create and maintain public spaces that are attractive, safe, accessible to everyone, and meaningfully contributing … Continued
Thanks to support from the Economic Development Administration, Smart Growth America and Recast City are pleased to provide a second round of small-scale manufacturing technical assistance. Homegrown maker economies are emerging in all corners of the nation and show no signs of slowing. Cities are supporting various businesses that fall under the umbrella of small-scale manufacturing—metalworking, woodworking, screen printing, and brewing to name a few—by crafting supportive policies, reworking their zoning, and initiating workforce training programs.
Today, Smart Growth America announced the selection of six communities that will receive technical assistance in using small-scale manufacturing as a strategy to create economic opportunity, boost the prospects of Main Street, and build great places. This assistance is made possible through funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).
Small-scale manufacturing can be a powerful tool to revitalize downtowns of all sizes. Starting next week, Smart Growth America will again be offering another round of free technical assistance for communities interested in using this strategy to create economic opportunity and build great places. Applications open on June 5.
To make creative placemaking just a bit easier to understand — and put our money where our mouth is when it comes to the power of arts and culture — we tapped a talented visual artist to illustrate its potential.
Civic and elected leaders in the South Carolina capital want to create a more competitive Columbia for tomorrow, and they’re eager to find out how a new approach to economic development can get them there.
From native American history to the birthplace of great American music, Macon, Georgia, has a rich heritage. City leaders have witnessed the positive returns of a place-based approach to economic development, but those efforts have largely originated outside of government. Macon’s Amazing Place leadership team of mostly elected officials wants to learn more about bringing those same strategies in-house.
Over the last few years, Akron has adopted several initiatives to improve public spaces, encourage private investment, and attract new talent to the area. With help from the Knight Foundation, Akron is activating its canal trails, creating a long-range strategy for development, and finding dynamic and creative ways to engage its diverse community members.
Smart Growth America — along with our signature transportation program Transportation for America — is pleased to announce today the hiring of Ben Stone as director of arts and culture, a new position designed to lead the organization’s broad efforts to help communities across the country better integrate arts, culture, and creative placemaking into neighborhood revitalization, equitable development, and transportation planning efforts.
For the past four-and-a-half years, Ben has served as the executive director of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, a dynamic cultural district in Baltimore, MD. In that role, he helped make Station North a place that supports artists and attracts visitors and residents alike to the lively, creative community surrounding Baltimore’s Penn Station. (Station North was profiled briefly in Transportation for America’s recent online guidebook to creative placemaking, The Scenic Route.)
“Including the arts in neighborhood development can create well-rounded places that are powerful catalysts for smart, new, inclusive growth,” said Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America. “Ben has an incredible wealth of experience in this field, and we look forward to helping him share it with the local elected leaders, real estate developers, and advocates making neighborhoods great across the country.”
“We’re thrilled to bring someone of Ben’s caliber on board to help lead this emerging area of integrating local arts and culture to produce better projects and places through a better process,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America. “He’s a respected expert and leader who has on-the-ground experience with creative placemaking, an emerging approach to planning and building transportation projects that taps local culture to produce better projects through a better process.”
An architect’s rendering of proposed changes to Manchester Road, which runs through Ballwin, Ellisville, and Wildwood, MO. Photo via MODOT.
Ellisville, MO has a chance to turn a busy and dangerous roadway into a community asset for economic investment, and Council Member Cindy Pool, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is helping the city do just that.
Located 18 miles directly west of St. Louis, Ellisville is a suburban community of about 9,100 residents. “The people are what makes this town so special,” says Council Member Pool. “Our residents are educated, involved, and have developed a real sense of community because we are so small.”