How-to workshops help small towns implement smart growth strategies

A new series of free workshops on smart growth development are catching the attention of policy makers and community leaders across the country.

The set of 12 workshops, run by Smart Growth America and several partner organizations, are designed to show local leaders how smart growth strategies can support a local economy and protect the environment while preserving the character of a town and making it more attractive to visitors or new residents.

The one or two-day workshops address a number of smart growth topics, including how to create pedestrian-friendly streets, the benefits of regional planning, innovative parking policies, and zoning changes that benefit small cities. “Transportation Performance Measurement,” for instance, empowers citizens and elected leaders to look at the roads, transit systems, walkways and bike lanes in their area as tools for achieving their objectives for economic vitality, public health, environmental protection and neighborhood character – in addition to the classic transportation objectives of access, circulation and travel.

Uncategorized

Technical assistance workshops webinar materials now online

Smart Growth America is now offering free technical assistance to local communities interested in building stronger local economies while protecting human health and the environment. A recent informational webinar on this free technical assistance provided an overview of the application process and available resources for prospective applicants. The materials of this webinar are now available online.

Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute presented the webinar on this free technical assistance. The Leadership Institute has extensive experience helping local leaders create livable, sustainable and vital communities by providing the necessary tools and technical assistance to help communities move from visions to plans to execution.

Technical assistance

Register today for tomorrow's informational webinar on free technical assistance


A roundabout on LaJolla Blvd in San Diego, CA, keeps traffic moving smoothly while accommodating pedestrians. The Walkability Audit is one of the twelve technical assistance tools being offered free of charge. Photo from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.

Smart Growth America is now accepting applications for a series of free technical assistance workshops for local communities interested in smart growth strategies. Organizations or communities interested in applying for this assistance are invited to join a webinar tomorrow, Wednesday, October 12th at 2:00 PM EDT to discuss the application process and important deadlines.

Technical assistance

Smart Growth America to provide free smart growth technical assistance to communities

Dan Burden, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Livable and Walkable Communities Institute, leads a Walkability Audit in Linden, MI. The Walkability Audit is one of twelve tools being offered free of change to communities interested in smart growth strategies. Photo from the Michigan Municipal League, via Flickr.

Smart Growth America is pleased to announce technical assistance will now be available to select communities interested in smart growth strategies – free of charge.

The new program has been made possible by a five-year technical assistance grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grant will be used to provide direct technical assistance to communities across the nation on how to develop local solutions to help their communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place.

Technical assistance

Smart Growth America's Leadership Institute hosts infill policy workshop in Billings, Montana

Last week, Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute convened a two-day-long “Introduction to Infill” workshop in Billings, Montana. Infill is a development strategy that uses land within an already built-up area for further construction, focusing on reusing and repositioning obsolete or underutilized buildings and sites.

Together with the City of Billings, the Billings Association of Realtors, the Billings Home Builders Association, Healthy By Design, the Montana Association of Planners, Cole Law Firm, the Western Central Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Billings Chamber of Commerce, the workshop offered expert perspectives on infill development to the community in preparation for the City’s goal of developing an Infill Policy. This type of development is essential to renewing blighted neighborhoods and knitting them back together with more prosperous communities.

More than 80 participants from Montana and North Dakota attended the two-day workshop on April 26 and 27 in Billings. The workshop provided an overview of the state-of-the-practice, as well as the application of infill policies to specific issues – economic development, transportation, private sector involvement, and examples of infill development in Billings and around the country. Local perspectives were also provided through several sessions comprised of local developers, consultants, City staff and other organizations.

The workshop was designed to start the process of developing an infill policy for the City of Billings. A portion of the workshop was devoted to discussing the basic elements of an infill policy and beginning to define infill for Billings. A working group will be formed from the workshop attendees and others in the community in the coming months to develop a draft infill policy to present to the City Council for consideration in late 2011 or early 2012.

More information about the workshop, including the days’ agenda, workshop session descriptions and presentations are available at the City of Billings’ website. If you would like to know more about Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute’s workshops and seminars, visit https://smartgrowthamerica.org/leadership-institute or email leadershipinstitute [at] smartgrowthamerica [dot] org.

Technical assistance

EPA Selects 32 Locations for Assistance with Sustainable Community Planning

From the EPA press release:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today named 32 communities in 26 states as the initial participants in the Sustainable Communities Building Blocks program. The communities will receive technical assistance during a day-long session that will help them achieve their sustainable planning goals. Sustainable planning helps safeguard the environment and spur economic development while also improving Americans’ health.

“The public-private partnerships in the Building Blocks program give communities new and proven tools to maximize the health and economic benefits of brownfields revitalization,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This is another great example of how a targeted investment in protecting public health can create jobs and strengthen the economic future of our communities.”

EPA selected the 32 communities from 354 applicants through a competitive process in consultation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). During a day-long session with EPA-funded, private-sector experts, participants will focus on a specific sustainability tool such as zoning code reviews, walkability assessments, or economic and fiscal health assessments. They will also learn about additional environmentally responsible, economically healthy development techniques and general sustainable community strategies.

Sustainable Communities Building Blocks is coordinated through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a joint effort between EPA, HUD, and DOT to coordinate federal actions on housing, transportation, and environmental protection. This interagency collaboration achieves efficient federal investments in infrastructure development, facilities, and services that meet multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives.

The selected communities are: Bemidji, Minn.; Bluffton, S.C.; Cambridge, Md.; Chelmsford, Mass.; Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Dover, N.H.; Erie County, N.Y.; Essex, Conn.; Fitchburg, Wis.; Granville, Ohio; Helena, Mont.; Hellertown, Pa.; Jersey Shore, Pa.; Kayenta Township, Ariz.; Lincoln, Neb.; McKinney, Texas; Muskegon, Mich.; Nashville/Davidson, Tenn.; Northampton, Mass.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Portland, Maine; St. Louis, Mo.; Pike’s Peak Council of Governments, Colo.; Ranson, W.Va.; Reedsburg, Wis.; Renton, Wash.; Rockport, Texas; Shelburne, Vt.; Spencer, N.C.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Wichita, Kan.

More information on the Building Blocks program: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/buildingblocks.htm

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/partnership/index.html

Uncategorized

National Search Nets Complete Streets Workshop Instructor-Trainees

The National Complete Streets Coalition, in cooperation with the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, has selected an outstanding slate of instructor-trainees for its expanding workshop program. The new trainees are national experts in the field and effective instructors of related topics.

Complete Streets