As we prepare for site visits in six new communities to develop strategies for local small-scale manufacturing this month, we’re taking a look back at the places we helped in 2016. Two communities—Lowell, MA and Twin Falls, ID—have made some impressive progress to support their budding maker businesses; their work shows how promising this emerging sector can be for building livable communities and healthy economies.
Each of the six communities selected to receive assistance on supporting local small-scale manufacturing are very different. Ahead of the assistance that will happen over the next year, get to know each of the communities we’ll be working with a little better.
The Southern Gateway’s iconic view of downtown Raleigh.
Raleigh, NC is well on its way to becoming one of the South’s next major population hubs. To accommodate that rapid population growth and to help more people participate in the economic growth it will likely entail, Raleigh leaders are planning to create a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line. In October, Smart Growth America traveled to Raleigh to convene a Successful and Equitable Revitalization workshop to help the community ensure that project is both economically successful and socially equitable.
Rural communities and small towns across the U.S. are interested in making smarter investments for their economic recovery. Communities have unequivocally shown that smart practices in housing, infrastructure and transportation will save local, state and federal government significant sums. Small businesses and family farms benefit from strategic local investments too, because smarter short-term decisions mean a stronger regional economy for the future.
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities – a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Transportation – works to help communities achieve these goals. The Partnership along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a new report on how the agencies are collaborating to support rural communities.
“Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities” (PDF) highlights how rural communities and small towns are using resources from these federal agencies to strengthen their economies, provide better quality of life to residents, and build on local assets such as traditional main streets, agricultural lands, and natural resources.
Philadelphia’s Girard Avenue, by Flickr user KGradinger.
Philadelphia has given us some of the world’s best cheese steaks, but the city also offers a great example of how smart growth strategies can help rebuild America’s cities.
Philadelphia’s smart growth efforts date back to 1991, when, beginning in his first term, Mayor Ed Rendell focused on revitalizing downtown. In 2001, Mayor John Street unveiled his Neighborhood Transformation Initiative that invested millions of dollars into neighborhood revitalization. And the City’s current mayor, Michael Nutter, is continuing this legacy by targeting the commercial corridors that provide goods, services and jobs to the City’s residents through the ReStore program.
These are great smart growth strategies that are revitalizing Philadelphia’s urban core and creating opportunities in underserved communities, and the efforts are beginning to pay off. For the first time in six decades, the City of Philadelphia has stopped losing population – and may be even growing. The 2010 U.S Census showed that Philadelphia’s population, which has decreased every decade since 1950, has stabilized.