As the impacts of climate change continue to intensify, zoning presents a key tool to direct development to protect communities from climate events. Norfolk, Virginia, a city at severe risk from sea level rise due to climate change, is among the first cities in the US to use climate adaptation as a core consideration for … Continued
Streets don’t exist in a vacuum. They are inextricably connected to the buildings, sidewalks, spaces, homes, businesses, and everything else around them that they serve. The strongest Complete Streets policies require the integration of land-use planning to best sync up with a community’s desires for using and living on their land today and in the future.
During Intersections, we’ll hear from the team at Washington DC’s Office of Planning who have been spearheading the District’s biggest and most innovative creative placemaking program to-date. Since 2016, the projects coming from this program have strengthened community bonds and collaboration, activated public spaces, and showcased community culture and heritage.
A portion of East Sprague Avenue in Spokane, WA. Photo via the City of Spokane.
On September 15 and 16, Smart Growth America traveled to the City of Spokane, WA for a two-day technical assistance workshop on Planning for Fiscal and Economic Health. The workshop helped inform and focus efforts for sustainable economic growth in the East Sprague Corridor, in coordination with the Sprague Targeted Investment Pilot (Sprague TIP) project.
On the first day of the workshop, Spokane-area residents joined an open public forum on the fundamentals of planning for economic and fiscal health. Roger Millar, former Smart Growth America Vice President for Technical Assistance, and Christopher Zimmerman, Smart Growth America’s Vice President for Economic Development, described the changing economic and demographic dynamics that are driving change throughout the United States, and gave an introductory level discussion of planning for economic health in Spokane.
Southeast Seattle is home to the most diverse and immigrant-populated neighborhoods in Seattle, Washington. Now, as a result of the Community Cornerstones project, it could become the City’s next equitable transit-oriented development (TOD) success story.
Part of the strategy is to attract dense mixed-use development to several of Southeast Seattle’s neighborhoods that are in close proximity to the light-rail system opened in 2009, while also preserving the area’s affordability for existing residents through partnerships with community development and financial institutions. The area is already home to one of the most transit-utilized areas of Seattle, and through the project the area is likely to grow with more people, businesses, and jobs.
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.
New Mexico’s Doña Ana County is facing a number of challenges as it plans for the future. Compared to the rest of New Mexico, the county has a younger population, higher poverty rate, larger Hispanic population and higher combined transportation and housing costs. Now, Doña Anna County is implementing a new plan to address these challenges, made possible through a grant from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The project is called Camino Real: Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, and it will address the county’s long-term growth trends, capacity of infrastructure, and the ability of the county to serve its residents.
In 2012, the region adopted One Valley, One Vision 2040, the first ever comprehensive plan encompassing Doña Ana County, the City of Las Cruces and other municipalities within the county. However, this plan dates back to 1995 and did not anticipate factors including a nearly 25% growth in population and major investments in multi-modal rail in surrounding areas. In order for Doña Ana County to realize it’s goals of sustainable growth over the next 25 years, a new comprehensive plan was needed in preparation.
Doña Ana County is expected to grow by nearly 90,000 residents by 2040 and nearly half of it’s current residents are under the age of 30. A future development plan will account for a range of housing choices connected to regional transportation networks and consider ways to ensure mobility for an aging population, expanding rural transportation, providing low-cost and efficient transportation and better integration of transportation and land use.
In 2010 the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) was awarded $640,000 for the Planning for Livable Military Communities project to provide improved transportation and housing conditions for families in the US armed forces. The award comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Challenge Grant, which is an initiative of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
North Central Texas is home to Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Joint Reserve Base. Many of the military families live off base, in surrounding communities including Fort Worth, White Settlement, Westworth Village and River Oaks. Planners intend to use the community challenge grant in a number of studies aimed at integrating smart growth strategies in the surrounding communities.
The NCTCOG will conduct a number studies that will create short- and long-term recommendations to improve transportation options, establish a model building code for greater energy efficiency, and update the City’s zoning, ordinances and comprehensive plan.
Balancing development with environmental and economic concerns is one of the biggest challenges facing Southern Maine today.
“Maine has a lot going for it: its sense of place, its scenery, its quality of life,” says Carol Morris, President of Morris Communications and lead consultant for Sustain Southern Maine, a regional partnership of organizations, communities and businesses working to make Maine’s economy, environment and sense of community stronger. “If we lose that, we’ll never get it back, and people understand that, so there’s a fair amount of local support for balancing it all together.”
Sustain Southern Maine is addressing these important challenges with a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach to planning. Aided by a Regional Planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the partnership is working to make sure development in small, rural communities as well as larger urban areas like Portland – Maine’s biggest city – will benefit the communities and economies of the entire region.
El Paso, Texas, is split by a mountain and bordered by Mexico, and Susie Byrd is helping the city build great neighborhoods around these unique features.
Byrd is a City Council Representative in El Paso, and has represented District 2 since 2005. During her time as a Representative, Byrd has led numerous efforts to preserve the best parts of El Paso’s historic corridors while also transforming the city into a model of 21st-century success. Her leadership has helped lead to the adoption of a city-wide Smart Code (PDF), a new Rapid Transit System, and an innovative comprehensive plan for El Paso’s growth in coming decades. Plan El Paso has already been called the best smart growth plan in America, and it’s hardly a coincidence that an experienced, knowledgeable supporter like Byrd is behind it.