Smart Growth News – October 15, 2012

Top stories

Beltline a walk in the park
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) – October 13, 2012
On Monday, Mayor Kasim Reed will dedicate what city officials are calling “the most significant step forward yet” in the long-awaited Beltline, a projected 22-mile loop in central Atlanta built upon abandoned railway corridor.

As gas prices soar, city cycling more attractive
Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle (CA) – October 13, 2012
Statewide, Californians are increasingly pumping air into the flat tires on their dusty old bikes instead of gas into their tanks. Recent historic spikes in gas prices are expected to stay high, forcing many to look at their gas guzzling minivans and SUVs in a new light.

Trulia Throws Cold Water on ‘Death of Suburbia’ Argument
Wall Street Journal – October 12, 2012
On Page One of Wednesday’s Journal, we wrote about a museum in Kansas that caters to America’s undying fascination with suburbia. Merits of the museum aside, the article highlights a persistent theme in American culture that has fascinated demographers, urbanists and especially home buyers for several generations: the question of whether or not the suburbs are alive and well or hollowed-out and dying.

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Smart growth news – October 25

Bus service, walking trails on Camden agenda
Herald Gazette (Maine), October 24, 2011
Camden Development Director Brian Hodges will ask the board to sign a letter supporting MCEA’s application for a Smart Growth America Technical Assistance Grant. The grant would provide a free public workshop on transit-oriented development that would be used to help MCEA to study the feasibility of a bus service that would connect Camden and other Midcoast towns with Amtrak service that is anticipated to connect to Rockland.

So cheap, there’s hope
The Economist, October 22, 2011
Yet physically, of course, the city remains the same size, imposing most of the same requirements of road maintenance, street lighting, rubbish collection and emergency-service response times. Detroit is a sprawling place, with the city itself (not the wider metro area) covering an area of 139 square miles, as it did in the 1950s when just under 2m people lived there, rather than the 714,000 it has now. You could fit Miami, Minneapolis and San Francisco into its city limits, and still have room left over. “We have a city that ought to be half its size,” says Mr Bing. He would like to concentrate his citizens, boosting the population density in areas that are still economically viable, while encouraging people to move out of districts that are not.

Republicans pitch transportation construction bill as major, bipartisan jobs program
Washington Post, October 24, 2011
House Republicans are pitching a six-year transportation construction plan as a major jobs bill that can win bipartisan approval before next year’s election, a key GOP lawmaker said Monday.

Outside Cleveland, Snapshots of Poverty’s Surge in the Suburbs
The New York Times, October 24, 2011
The poor population in America’s suburbs — long a symbol of a stable and prosperous American middle class — rose by more than half after 2000, forcing suburban communities across the country to re-evaluate their identities and how they serve their populations.

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Building for the 21st Century: American support for sustainable communities

A recent poll by Smart Growth America has found that in the midst of a struggling U.S. economy, support for smart growth strategies remains high among Americans across the country and on both sides of the political aisle.

Click here to download “Building for the 21st Century: American support for sustainable communities” (PDF)

The poll focused specifically on support for sustainable communities: urban, suburban or rural communities that have more housing and transportation choices, are closer to jobs, shops or schools, are more energy independent and help protect clean air and water. Making communities more sustainable means generating more jobs, lowering housing and transportation costs and using limited public funds more wisely.

As the U.S. economy incrementally recovers, Americans want the federal government to stop spending into deficit and use the money it does have more effectively. Smart growth strategies do just that by reducing infrastructure costs at the state and federal level, strengthening local and state revenues and building economic wealth by investing in existing communities.

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