New analysis of Nashville area development reveals opportunity for public savings

The Gulch
The Watermark restaurant in The Gulch district in Nashville. The Gulch generated far more revenue per unit than the two other development scenarios. Photo by The Gulch.

Tennessee taxpayers could save money by using smarter development strategies, according to new research published by Smart Growth America.

Fiscal impact analyses of three development scenarios in Nashville-Davidson County, TN (PDF) examines the public costs and benefits of three development scenarios in Nashville-Davidson County: The Gulch, a smart growth oriented development project; Lennox Village, a New Urbanist-style development in a ‘greenfield’ location; and Bradford Hills, a conventional suburban residential subdivision outside of the city.

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Announcing the best Complete Streets policies of 2012

Communities across the country are making roads safer and more accessible for everyone who uses them, and more communities are using these strategies now than ever before.

The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2012, released today, examines all the Complete Streets policies passed in the last year and highlights some of the best. The analysis also revealed that the Complete Streets movement grew in 2012, continuing a national trend since 2005.

In 2012, 125 communities adopted Complete Streets policies. These laws, resolutions, executive orders, policies and planning and design documents encourage and provide safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, ethnicity or how they travel.

In total, 488 Complete Streets policies are now in place nationwide, at all levels of government. Statewide policies are in place in 27 states as well as the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Forty-two regional planning organizations, 38 counties and 379 municipalities in 48 states also have policies that allow everyone to safely use America’s roads. The policies passed in 2012 comprise more than one quarter of all policies in place today.

Ten cities have led the way in crafting comprehensive policy language. Our ranking of top Complete Streets policies is intended to celebrate the communities that have done exceptional work in the past year.

Complete Streets

Coming next week: The best Complete Streets policies of 2012

Miami Valley, Ohio
The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission in Dayton, OH was one of the communities honored in last year’s analysis. Photo via MVRPC.

Each year the National Complete Streets Coalition takes a look back at the Complete Streets policies passed in the past year, and highlights some of the best. Our analysis of 2012’s policies will be coming out next week – here’s a sneak peek of what’s in the report.

How many policies were passed last year? In the past year we’ve mentioned many communities’ new Complete Streets policies on our blog. Next week’s report will take a comprehensive look at all the policies passed in 2012.

Complete Streets

Where is America growing? The answer may surprise you.

Cities are growing faster than their suburbs for the first time in recent history, and this trend applies to the country’s biggest as well as some of its smallest.

New analysis of U.S. Census data from Smart Growth America reveals that cities in small metro areas are gaining population – and most are growing faster than their suburbs. This finding reflects population trends revealed earlier this year in research from the Brookings Institution, which examined growth rates the country’s 51 largest metropolitan areas. But whereas that report looked only at large metro areas like New York, San Francisco and Chicago, Smart Growth America’s research examines what’s happening in the nation’s slightly smaller – but no less important – metro areas.

The results are surprising.

“Small metro areas’ cities are doing just as well, if not better than, big cities,” says Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoffrey Anderson. “The trend in terms of population growth is toward city living, and that’s happening at a greater rate in our smaller metro areas and the middle of the country.”

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New report highlights laws, policies and program ideas for state transportation officials

The National Conference of State Legislatures has released a new report, On the Move: State Strategies for 21st Century Transportation Solutions. The report is intended to serve as a guide for state legislators, and is filled with policies that promote fiscal and environmental sustainability; facilitate affordable, safe and accessible transportation choices; and achieve shared benefits such as improved public health and economic development.

The new report is broken into four sections, each taking a look at a different aspect of effective policy:

  • Taking the Long View examines policies that exemplify a forward-thinking, sustainable approach to providing surface transportation infrastructure and services over the long term. This includes provision of sustainable transportation funding and consideration of life-cycle costs in transportation decision-making.
  • Using What You Have explores effective and cost-efficient approaches that help make the most of existing infrastructure, such as fix-it-first and asset management, operations and management, and commute trip reduction.
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New green building resources for HUD grantees

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced a new initiative to offer green building training to their grantees and other affordable housing organizations. The free courses include Introduction to Green Building for Affordable Housing, Executive Decision Making, Best Practices for Green Building Operations and Maintenance, Financing Green Building, and Energy Performance Contracting for Small PHAs.

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It’s not too late to apply for a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America

Are you interested in Smart Growth America’s free technical assistance workshops but haven’t had time to apply? Don’t worry – it’s not too late! Applications are being accepted until October 25, 2012 at 5:00 PM EDT.

Smart Growth America’s technical assistance program helps to facilitate local solutions to development issues and concerns. Participating communities are able to grow in ways that benefit families and businesses while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place.

Technical assistance

Free technical assistance webinar materials now online

Smart Growth America recently hosted an informational webinar about this year’s round of free technical assistance workshops. Potential applicants will find in this webinar a summary of the application process, including important deadlines, eligibility requirements and where to direct further inquiries. First, Roger Millar, the Director of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, provides an explanation of … Continued

Technical assistance

New resources for communities interested in applying for free technical assistance

Smart Growth America is currently accepting applications for our 2012 free technical assistance. Two webinars will help communities interested in applying for this free resource.

On Friday, Smart Growth America, Project for Public Spaces, Forterra, and Global Green participated in a webinar to discuss free technical assistance currently being offered by each organization. Hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program, the webinar gave a brief overview of the workshops offered, application process and timeline for each organization’s program.

Technical assistance