Christopher Zimmerman to join Smart Growth America full time

Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson today announced that Chris Zimmerman will join the staff of Smart Growth America full time as Vice President for Economic Development. To assume the post, Zimmerman will leave his current position as Arlington County Board Member at the end of January 2014.

“It has been a great privilege and opportunity to serve on the Arlington County Board for the past 18 years,” said Zimmerman. “Arlington has flourished during that time and smart development strategies played an instrumental role in that growth. I look forward to bringing the lessons I’ve learned in Arlington to communities across the country.”

“Arlington, VA is one of the best examples of smart growth development in the country,” said Anderson. “Chris has seen first hand the kind of development that generates economic growth and that experience gives him a valuable perspective on the development process. We’ve very excited to have him join our work.”


Houston, TX to host public workshop on implementing Complete Streets

Houston, TX —Houston officials and local residents will meet with representatives from Smart Growth America on April 17 and 18, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops will aim to give Houston the tools to develop a Complete Streets policy in their Museum Park Neighborhood, which will lay the foundation for future Complete Streets policies in other Houston neighborhoods.

“Museum Park, in partnership with the City of Houston’s Office of Sustainability anticipates that the Complete Streets workshop will take Houston a step closer to achieving a few of Mayor Parker’s stated goals for her second term, such as “sustainable development, public safety, infrastructure and quality of life,” said Kathleen O’Reilly, Vice President of the Museum Park Super Neighborhood. “Museum Park, with its mix of 14 museums, Hermann Park, 3,000 homes, schools, health care, churches and more offers the ideal mix to craft the highest standards for transit and quality of life in Houston. As we launch ReBuild Houston, the timing of this exciting collaborative effort couldn’t be better.”

Houston residents are invited to join the workshop’s first day for an introductory presentation that will feature a broad overview of Complete Streets. The event will be held Wednesday, April 17, 2013 from 6:00–7:30 PM at the Clayton Library, 5300 Caroline St, Houston, TX, 77004.

Complete Streets Technical assistance

Smart Growth America statement on President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposal

In response to President Obama’s proposed FY 2014 budget released today, Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson released the following statement:

“Building strong communities is a key part of America’s economic growth, and I applaud the President for investing in programs that do just that in his FY 2014 budget.

“Investments in infrastructure and “fix it first” projects will help businesses compete in the 21st century economy and will help working Americans get where they need to go more easily and more efficiently.

“This budget’s commitment to investing in—and encouraging private investment in—chronically distressed communities will help whole regions become more prosperous. Strategies like this, that reinvest in existing neighborhoods, also help communities build in ways that are more economically resilient.


Announcing the winners of Smart Growth America's 2013 Leadership Awards

Two mayors and one company are being honored this week with national awards for their leadership on better development strategies.

Mayor Randy Rhoads of Lee’s Summit, MO and Mayor Laura McConwell of Mission, KS have been selected to receive Smart Growth America’s 2013 Leadership Awards. They are joined by Progressive Insurance, for its Snapshot pay-as-you-drive auto insurance.

“This year’s award winners are doing remarkable work,” said Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America. “Lee’s Summit and Mission are creating vibrant neighborhoods through strategic policy and investment decisions. Progressive Insurance is an industry leader in recognizing new trends among American drivers. Smart Growth America is proud to honor them with this year’s Leadership Awards.”


Compromise on Transportation Reauthorization Fails to Advance Critical Transportation Reform


Compromise on Transportation Reauthorization Fails to Advance Critical Transportation Reform
Conference report does not represent major improvement to existing law, lacks significant “fix-it-first” and bike-pedestrian safety measures

WASHINGTON DC — After weeks of negotiations to resolve differences between the House and Senate, the two bodies’ conferees have released a transportation reauthorization. That conference report, now moving toward a vote in Congress, represents a significant downgrade to existing services and fails to provide the kind of visionary, gamechanging transportation reform America deserves.

“The conference report is a disappointment,” says Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoffrey Anderson. “It compromises safety, it doesn’t do anything to ensure that roads and bridges are repaired and maintained, and it bypasses the kinds of innovative transportation solutions that we should expect out of a new transportation reauthorization.”


Smart Growth America Applauds Congress for Preserving Partnership for Sustainable Communities


Washington, DC – Thanks to the hard work of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, White House leaders and Smart Growth America’s national coalition, the final Fiscal Year 2011 continuing resolution includes comprehensive funding for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Smart Growth America is proud to be a leader in the effort to support these innovative federal programs that create economic growth in communities across the country.

Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, said:

“The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is an excellent investment of taxpayer dollars, and exactly the kind of economic development policy the federal government should pursue. These programs have helped communities across the country lay the foundation for stronger economies through smarter growth strategies. I want to thank all individuals, organizations, businesses and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who supported the Partnership in this year’s budget. I encourage the Members of Congress who supported this year’s funds to maintain their commitment to these crucial federal programs in the next fiscal year.”

Smart Growth America worked with national and state partners to lead an advocacy campaign for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities funding in the fiercely debated continuing resolutions. More than sixty national organizations signed a public letter to Congressional leaders in support of the Partnership’s programs, and more than 150 state and local organizations sent letters to their Senators voicing their support as well. Smart Growth America worked with hundreds of advocates to express their support for the Partnership programs, and activated a network of more than 40,000 partners, activists and business leaders to call and write their Representatives and Senators.


EPA Grants Demonstrate How Environmental and Economic Progress Can Go Hand in Hand

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today awarded $4 million to 23 communities as part of its Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Pilot Program. The grants, which focus on remediating potentially contaminated and reusing the sites to strengthen local economic growth, were announced this morning at a press conference in Cleveland, OH.

Transforming brownfields back into productive real estate is a critical part of economic revitalization for many communities. The reclamation process creates jobs, better housing options, and improved education and health facilities, while improving environmental conditions of the area as well.

“Redeveloping brownfields is about providing economic opportunity and jobs as much as it is about the environment,” said Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America. “African American and Latino populations have been particularly hard hit by this recession. Brownfields are often located in minority and low income communities. These targeted grant investments can bring jobs to some of the communities that need them most, and not just in the short term. Re-using brownfields puts stranded economic assets back to work. These grants often lead to sustained interest and investment from the private sector.”


National Associations Congratulate HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Awardees


National Associations Congratulate HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Awardees
Organizations Urge Continued Federal Investments to Ensure Nationwide Community Economic Competitiveness

WASHINGTON, DC – The National League of Cities (NLC), National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), Smart Growth America (SGA), the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI) congratulate the cities, towns, communities and regions which today were awarded Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These communities will now undertake critical regional planning and implementation activities that support building sustainable, livable communities through regional cooperation, broad stakeholder and community involvement and coordinated processes. The organizations also offer gratitude to HUD and the other federal agencies involved for undertaking an inaugural and historic process that will yield results for years to come.


Smart Growth America hires Roger Millar, planner and implementer of great places

Smart Growth America today announced that Roger M. Millar, Jr., AICP, PE, FASCE, is joining SGA as Director of Land Use and Transportation Policy. Roger Millar is a planner and an engineer with an international reputation for innovative approaches to planning and design. His career has been dedicated to improving communities as diverse as New York City and McCall, Idaho. Projects in which Roger played a leadership role are seen as national models for livability. Likewise, Roger has been instrumental in the successful evolution of sustainable practices within rural and gateway communities throughout the American West.