These case studies present Smart Growth America’s key findings and the lessons we’ve learned about smart growth implementation from a four-year technical assistance program funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The cases are meant to help communities that are committed to (or are exploring) smart growth but struggle with implementation. The cases highlight successful … Continued
Boise, Denver, Greenville, Minneapolis, Nashville, and Pittsburgh are six of the many cities using a new strategy for economic development. Rather than offering tax breaks to lure companies, these cities are creating walkable, vibrant, inclusive neighborhoods that are attracting residents and employers, supporting existing businesses, and fostering entrepreneurs.
We talk about this new approach in our most recent report, Amazing Place: Six Cities Using the New Recipe for Economic Development. The report takes an in-depth look at the development strategies at work in these six cities, and is designed to show communities everywhere how to create diverse and durable local economies that last beyond the lifecycle of any one employer.
As part of Tuesday’s kickoff for the new report, we hosted an online conversation about creating these amazing places. Participants heard an overview of the guide as well as a detailed discussion about development in Denver, Greenville, and Pittsburgh. A recorded version of the webinar is now available.
A new trend in local economic development is emerging. Talented workers—and the companies who want to employ them—are increasingly moving to walkable neighborhoods served by transit, with a vibrant mix of restaurants, cafes, shops, cultural attractions, and affordable housing options.
Many companies—from Fortune 500 titans to lean startups to independent manufacturers—are moving to places that offer great quality of life for their employees. As Smart Growth America detailed in our 2015 report Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown, these companies want vibrant neighborhoods with affordable housing options, restaurants, nightlife, and other amenities in … Continued
Pedestrians walking in the Atlanta metro region. Photo via Flickr.
Pedestrian deaths are a national epidemic in the United States. Within that epidemic, though, some populations have been hit harder than others.
In Dangerous by Design 2014, we ranked America’s most dangerous metropolitan areas for walking using our Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI). We investigated the nature of over 47,000 pedestrian deaths from 2003 through 2012 and identified the regions that most needed to improve pedestrian safety. In more recent years, many of them, including the Florida Department of Transportation, have started taking steps to keep people on foot safe.
But our analysis of demographic data, included in the report from a state-by-state view, also told a story of inequity.
The National Complete Streets Coalition reports on the national epidemic of pedestrian fatalities, offering county-, metro-, and state-level data on traffic fatalities and an interactive map of each loss in the decade 2003 through 2012. This resource specific profiles the state of South Carolina.
The City of Greer had a vision for turning around their downtown. Mayor Rick Danner talks about they went about implementing that vision through a Master Plan created with the help of a public-private partnership and turned their downtown from a couple of restaurants into a vibrant center that includes a new city hall, a … Continued
Since the early 1990′s, the city of Greer, SC has tripled in population and quadrupled in size. Mayor Rick Danner has been there for much of this change.
“We were growing at such a rapid rate that we were losing our sense of community, that small town feel,” Danner says in an interview with Smart Growth America. “And there was an overwhelming desire to be able to retain this sense of uniqueness that comes with the feel of a small town regardless of what size it is or population that it is. And we knew that the heart of that was going to be the downtown area.”
A view of the Reedy River from downtown Greenville. Photo courtesy of Walter Ezell.
Greenville, South Carolina’s West Side is growing rapidly, and planners in the city are using a comprehensive plan to make sure that growth creates better neighborhoods for all the area’s residents.
Currently, the West Side is a cluster of low- to moderate-income neighborhoods adjacent to Greenville’s downtown. Planners from the City of Greenville are considering a number of different strategies to better link the West Side with the rest of the city, while still ensuring that current residents can reap the benefits of the growth that will ensue.
“The West Side is adjacent to downtown so it has a lot of potential,” says Greenville planner Wayne Leftwich. “Growth is heading this way, with a lot of interest from potential developers in this area, and we want to make sure that when these things happen, they’re not disconnected from current residents.”
City planners are bringing concerted planning to the West Side’s robust growth, and are working to ensure that new development meets the needs of as many residents as possible. To achieve that goal, planners are developing a comprehensive plan for the West Side and its three main commercial corridors.
“We are thinking about the potential for revitalization and economic development, because the West Side neighborhoods are not as viable as they could be,” Leftwich says. “Our hope for the plan is to look at how we can make connections between the neighborhoods in this area, but also with the rest of the city.”
Community leaders in Greer, South Carolina, are trying to figure out if and how the town might create better transportation options for its residents and earlier this month, Smart Growth America went to Greer to help those leaders answer some of these questions.
Smart Growth America and our partner Strategic Economics led a workshop on Implementing Transit-Oriented Development. Transit-oriented development, or TOD, means building homes, offices or stores close to public transportation stations. This strategy supports the businesses along the public transportation line, and makes commuting more convenient for residents – even those who don’t ride public transportation. The one-day workshop laid out both the short and long-term benefits such a strategy would bring to Greer’s transportation and planning staff members as well as business and community leaders.
“Greer is extremely interested in smart growth solutions, as our fiscal and environmental well-being depends on having a thoughtful and reasonable pattern of growth across our region,” said Mayor Rick Danner in a statement. “In fact, we see smart growth solutions as the only responsible way to address our transportation needs. Our community faces a choice between an expensive expansion of the I-85 corridor or an enhanced transportation corridor along Highway 29.”