Five Local Leaders Council members join President Obama's Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

Local Leaders Council at the White HouseLocal Leaders Council members Mayor James Brainard and Mayor Ralph Becker (center) at a meeting of the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience last week. Photo via the Office of Governor Neil Abercrombie.

Congratulations to the five members of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council who have been appointed to President Obama’s new Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, a group of 26 state, local and tribal leaders from around the country charged with advising the Administration on how the federal government can respond to the needs of communities dealing with the impacts of climate change.

Local Leaders Council

Councilmember Chris Trumbauer on balancing growth and the environment in Annapolis, MD

Annapolis, MD waterfront.
Annapolis, MD’s waterfront. Photo by JP via Flickr.

Anne Arundel County, MD is a county of 540,000 residents situated between Washington, DC and the Chesapeake Bay. Chris Trumbauer, County Councilmember for Anne Arundel County and Chair of the Advisory Board for the new Maryland Chapter of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is working to accommodate new development in Anne Arundel County while protecting the natural beauty and resources of the Chesapeake Bay region.

“The Annapolis area has a unique sense of place,” Trumbauer explains. “It has 300 years of history, a connection to the Chesapeake Bay and is Maryland’s capital city. Anne Arundel County has 500 miles of shoreline on the Chesapeake Bay, and while there is a lot of development pressure there is also a lot of affinity for environmental issues. It is a vibrant community and I would like to keep it that way.”

Local Leaders Council

Commissioner Annabelle Jaramillo on supporting cities and protecting open space in Benton County, OR

The view from above Corvallis, Oregon. Photo via prw_silvan on Flickr.
The view from above Corvallis, OR. Photo by Paul Woods via Flickr.

Benton County, OR is a mix of great urban places and rural areas, and smart growth strategies are helping to protect both.

That’s according to Benton County Board of Commissioners Chair Annabelle Jaramillo, who has served on the board since 2000. Jaramillo is a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, a nonpartisan group of municipal officials who share a passion for building great towns, cities, and communities.

Local Leaders Council

Peter Harnik on creating great urban parks for cities

Urban parks can increase property values, enhance neighborhood identity and provide access to open space within a neighborhood. More and more communities are finding creative ways to integrate parks into urban environments, and Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council recently caught up with expert Peter Harnik to learn more about this smart growth strategy.

“We look at parks not just from the perspective of a great park, but how the park can interact with the city and make it great,” says Harnik, who is the Director of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence and member of Smart Growth America Board of Directors. The video interview is part of our Local Leaders Council’s “Meet the Experts” video series, which provides information for local leaders interested in learning more about smart growth strategies.

Local Leaders Council

Mayor Ralph Becker on building a prosperous Salt Lake City, UT

TRAX SLC
Salt Lake City’s TRAX light rail line, one of Salt Lake City’s many innovative transportation projects. Photo by Matt Johnson via Flickr.

Mayor Ralph Becker, a charter member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is turning Salt Lake City, UT into one of this nation’s most prosperous urban centers. And he’s doing it by building accessibility, sustainability and livability into many city policies.

Becker’s efforts are evident across Salt Lake City. He has spearheaded one of the most ambitious rail systems in the country, building new light rail, bus rapid transit, streetcar AND commuter rail systems. He’s also made the city accessible for all users by more than doubling the number of bike lanes, launching a bike share program and focusing on walkability and pedestrian safety.

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Mayor Bryan Barnett on fostering a liveable Rochester Hills, MI

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Located 25 miles north of Detroit, the city of Rochester Hills, MI may seem like an unlikely place for smart growth to be taking hold. But local residents have taken to smart growth concepts on multiple fronts—from transportation, to preservation of open space to economic development. Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is committed to advancing them even further.

“To me smart growth is a philosophy and it’s a lifestyle,” Barnett says. “It’s not all economic development, it’s not all transportation. It’s about stepping back and looking at how our decisions impact where we want Rochester Hills to be a few years down the road.”

Local Leaders Council

Warwick, RI Mayor Scott Avedisian on preservation and new development going hand in hand

Warwick, RI is the state’s second largest city, and with 39 miles of coastline and a “small town village feel,” Warwick could rest on its laurels. But Mayor Scott Avedisian, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, has an ambitious vision for his city, and is working to create a more vibrant public waterfront and a more diverse local economy.

Local Leaders Council

Mayor Nancy Chaney on building a healthier, better connected community in Moscow, ID

Moscow IdahoFarmers’ market on Friendship Square in downtown Moscow, ID. Photo via the Moscow Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Nancy Chaney of Moscow, ID, is working to help residents be healthier AND better connected to the broader region, and she sees smart growth strategies as a way to achieve both those goals at the same time.

“We pride ourselves on being a walkable, bikable community in the midst of rolling wheat fields, dried peas, and lentils,” Chaney says. “Smart growth means connecting people in the physical and social sense. It includes gathering places and public centers like Friendship Square in the heart of our downtown. And smart growth means providing for all residents regardless of their preferred mode of transportation—bicycles, strollers, wheelchairs. Smart growth gives Moscow’s residents this flexibility to choose whether to be in a motorized vehicle or to walk to a doctor’s appointment. Smart growth is about how people and place are interrelated.”

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