City by city, side by side: A look back at 2016’s free technical assistance

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Participants at our 2016 workshop in Chattanooga, TN.

Last week we announced the six new communities that will receive one of our free standard technical assistance workshops in 2017. This program, now in its sixth year and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities’ Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program, has helped more than 70 communities across the country use development strategies to meet their goals.

As we look forward to working with next year’s communities, we wanted to take a moment to look back on the diversity of faces and places we’ve visited this year.

Small-scale manufacturers: creating good jobs, great products, and vibrant neighborhoods

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Rickshaw Bagworks makes and sells cycling-inspired bags in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. Photo by Richard Masoner via Flickr.

Small-scale manufacturers like woodworkers, steel fabricators, hardware prototypers, microbrewers, and coffee roasters with regional distribution have emerged as a significant force in today’s urban economy. For many cities and neighborhoods suffering the loss of skilled-labor employers, this emerging, city-oriented industrial sector offers a powerful revitalization tool that can connect residents to good paying jobs and economic opportunity in the neighborhoods they call home.

New ideas for a historic district in Kansas City, MO

The River Market neighborhood has experienced exponential growth in the last five years that has transformed the former warehouse district into a walkable, bustling neighborhood. Kansas City needed to come up with a long-term parking strategy that encourages, rather than stifles, future ongoing development in the area.

Helping a North Little Rock neighborhood find a prosperous path forward

The Baring Cross neighborhood of North Little Rock, Arkansas grew in tandem with an enormous rail yard to its east, with many of the yard’s employees finding homes in the adjacent neighborhood. Today, some residents and local leaders in North Little Rock believe this unique neighborhood could benefit from a focused effort to revitalize the neighborhood while protecting … Continued

Every street can be a Complete Street

The National Complete Streets Coalition, working with the Active Transportation Alliance, spent a day this week with workshop participants near Chicago dispelling myths and preconceived notions about Complete Streets by demonstrating how every street can be a Complete Street.

Since the workshop: Huntington, WV and a place-based approach to economic development

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Downtown Huntington, WV. Photo via UrbanUp.

Back in 2014, Huntington, WV won a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America to help the city achieve its goals for housing, businesses, and its downtown. What has the city been up to in the two years since? The answer is: a lot.

“Smart Growth America’s technical assistance has provided the City of Huntington with valuable tools that have helped propel efforts within our targeted neighborhoods,” said Mayor Steve Williams when we asked what the city has been doing. “We’re excited about the progress that we have been able to achieve and the plans that we continue to develop to create a financial and sustainable city based on smart growth principles.”

Strengthening Vermont’s Economy by Integrating Transportation and Smart Growth Policy

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) and Smart Growth America partnered to demonstrate that policies and programs at VTrans that connect smart growth and transportation will strengthen the state’s economy and support the Agency’s vision for a safe, efficient, and multimodal transportation system. A Project Stakeholder Group, consisting of a broad spectrum of representatives from … Continued

DOT Innovation in Minnesota: 2014 Working Paper 2

This is the second in a series of working papers prepared for the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Smart Growth America that presents a new framework for evaluating transportation projects based on established and emerging practices in the field of public sector return on investment.