West Virginia capital will finally have a town square thanks to the Partnership for Sustainable Communities

In the heart of Charleston, West Virginia’s downtown is Slack Plaza. Located near the city’s main transit hub and Charleston’s central business district, the concrete-heavy plaza with more parking spots than park benches has attracted more crime than consumers.

But thanks to a Greening America’s Capitals grant from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, Slack Plaza will one day become a walkable green space that connects important business districts and downtown to transit.

The EPA recently released design plans for Charleston’s Slack Plaza that would make the plaza more inviting to pedestrians. EPA’s project team and landscape architects Origin 4 Design also came up with a design for the plaza that include more green space and permeable pavement; a projection screen for art, movies, or public gathering events; plenty of comfortable seating with ample shade; and LED lighting.

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Smart growth news – August 8

America is Broken: Five Ways to Fix the Nation
International Business Times, August 6, 2011
1) Create a federal iBank — a public-private partnership to fund infrastructure investment in the nation. The infrastructure bank, or iBank, can get projects done including repair and building of subways, highways, bridges, dams and waterways without busting the budget.

Developing Dover: Measured growth, mixed use in Garrison City’s future
Fosters Daily Democrat (N.H.), August 7, 2011
[T]he Dover of five to 10 years from now will look like a more urbanized version of what can be seen today. Yes, mixed use development is coming, but what appears to be in the books for the city works hard to preserve the Hometown, USA attributes that make it such a desirable place to live.

No-charge Main trolley service fuels local ridership boom
The Durango Herald (Colo.), August 6, 2011
Public transportation in Durango isn’t your usual bus service. For starters, the most popular of its “buses” actually are trolley cars on wheels. And residents and visitors alike are exceptionally fond of the service.

Several new developments in progress despite national economy
Hudson Reporter (N.J.), August 7, 2011
While the nation still suffers from a slow economy, a number of luxury residential developments are rising from North Bergen to Jersey City, likely fueled by the proximity to Manhattan and to several forms of public transportation.

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"Promoting Affordable and Fair Housing near Transit, Jobs, and Town Centers" webinar materials now available online

Thank you to everyone who attended Smart Growth America’s Sustainable Communities Network webinar “Promoting Affordable and Fair Housing near Transit, Jobs, and Town Centers” last week. This webinar was hosted by Smart Growth America, PolicyLink, Reconnecting America, and the National Housing Conference.

Included on this webinar are practitioners taking steps to ensure that housing for families at all income levels is available in location-efficient and opportunity-rich areas. Following an overview of tools available to create and preserve affordable homes in areas where transportation costs are likely to be low, learn how some of these tools have been implemented in Denver, Colorado as Denver expands its public transportation system. Included is a discussion of policies and legal decisions that help to ensure communities create their fair share of homes for low- and moderate-income families in New Jersey, as well as strategies to build public support for well-located affordable homes.

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Arlington, Virginia's story of smart growth: The movie

If you’ve been around the conversation on growth and development for any amount of time, you’ve undoubtedly heard someone bring up Arlington, Virginia. Arlington is the bit of Virginia just across the Potomac River from the monumental core of Washington, DC that leveraged the arrival of two Metro rail lines in the 60’s and 70’s to renew and revitalize their county into a prosperous, enjoyable and livable community that is a sought-after destination for employers, businesses, residents and visitors.

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