Smart growth news – October 3, 2012

Is urban sprawl to blame for cities going bankrupt?
KPCC’s AirTalk (CA) – October 2, 2012
Former Ventura mayor William Fulton says that large public pensions aren’t solely to blame for California city bankruptcies. Urban sprawl poses additional problems.

America’s Great Streets Named By American Planning Association
Huffinton Post – October 3, 2012
As part of the Great Places in America program, the American Planning Association has compiled a list of America’s 10 Great Streets for 2012.

The New SimCity Will Turn You Into An Urban Planning Nut
Co.Exist – October 3, 2012
The newest version of the classic city building game is introducing complex models about things like energy, health care, and transportation. But you can also still destroy your city with an asteroid.

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Smart growth news – December 15

Study: Single-Family Homes May Be History
KPBS (Calif.), December 14, 2011
A new study from the Urban Land Institute suggests single-family homes, the largest contributor to urban sprawl, may be a thing of the past. The study looked at California’s major metropolitan areas — including San Diego — and found that by 2035 the supply of homes in conventional subdivisions will far exceed demand.

How the Tea Party Is Upending Urban Planning
Atlantic Cities, December 14, 2011
Across the country, Tea Party activists have been storming planning meetings of all kinds, opposing various plans by local and regional government having anything to do with density, smart growth, sustainability or urbanism. In California, Tea Party activists gained enough signatures for a ballot measure repealing the state’s baseline environmental regulations, while also targeting the Senate Bill 375, the 2008 law that seeks to combat climate change by promoting density and regional planning.

Beyond Sprawl: Rethinking Development in Tucson
Arizona Public Media, December 15, 2011
Tucson and the city’s outskirts were riding high on growth several years ago, with developments seeming to pop up everywhere there was empty land. But that all changed when the housing bust and recession took hold. The Tucson area continues to suffer from the downturn, but does that mean we did something wrong?

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Smart growth news – November 21

Gwinnett Among 15 Communities Chosen Nationwide to Receive ‘Smart Growth’ Assistance From the Experts
Curbed Atlanta, November 18, 2011
With the help of forward-thinking officials like Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson (who as Chairman of the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable, was instrumental in getting the TPLOST project list approved), Gwinnett County has quietly become a leader in the sustainability movement in Georgia by pushing its communities toward smarter growth. The county has now been chosen to receive free smart growth technical assistance from Smart Growth America, one of the country’s premier think tanks on community-building and sustainability issues.

Derry Township selected for free tech assistance
Lebanon Daily News (Pa.), November 18, 2011
Derry Township is among more than a dozen communities that have been selected to receive Smart Growth America‘s 2011 free smart-growth technical assistance.

East El Paso sprawl: Boom strains services, city coffers
El Paso Times, November 20, 2011
Sprawl on El Paso’s East Side is putting a strain on city services, such as fire and police protection, water and sewage utilities, roads and recreational areas, a growing number of urban planners said.

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Smart growth news – October 13

Trending: Hard times for small cities

Pennsylvania state capital declares bankruptcy
AFP, October 12, 2011
Pennsylvania’s state capital Harrisburg has declared bankruptcy, according to a court filing seen Wednesday, a rare move that raised the specter of a string of local government defaults.

A City Forced to Turn Out the Lights
Atlantic Cities, October 12, 2011
As cities face continued fiscal troubles, this isn’t the last we’re likely to see of this sort of drastic cost-cutting: the dark financial straits cities face mirrored by their darkened streets.

National news

White House plan for infrastructure bank ‘dead on arrival’
The Hill, October 12, 2011
President Obama’s national infrastructure bank is dead on arrival, the Republican chairman of the House Transportation Committee said Wednesday. At a hearing ostensibly held to discuss the merits of the bank, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) ridiculed the proposal as something that would cost more jobs than it would create.

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Smart growth news – October 12

Obama selects D.C. project, 13 others to help spur jobs
Washington Post, October 11, 2011
A mixed-use development in the District’s Shaw neighborhood is one of 14 infrastructure projects across the country that the Obama administration has selected to be put on the fast track to help create jobs, the White House announced Tuesday.

Quicken welcomes 1,500 suburban workers to Detroit
The Detroit News, October 11, 2011
As Gilbert and Bing noted, the latest group of workers means another 1,500 people dining in downtown restaurants, walking along the RiverWalk, staying after work for ball games or concerts and, possibly, taking advantage of new incentives to move to the greater downtown area.

Mayor Swearengin unveils Fresno Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan
ABC 30 (Calif.), October 12, 2011
Fresno residents voiced their concerns Tuesday as city leaders revealed their plan to revitalize Downtown and its surrounding areas. The 150-page document has been two years in the making.

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Smart growth news – October 5

EPA Programs Offer Communities Smart-Growth Solutions
Builder Magazine, October 4, 2011
The agency has put together a toolkit of proven techniques to help communities find smart-growth answers for challenges they face.

Area lawmakers want changes to state’s Smart Growth law
The Lakeland Times (Wis.), October 4, 2011
The state’s comprehensive planning law, also known as Smart Growth, has long been a thorn in the side of property rights advocates, even if stormier protests have subsided in recent years, but now several northern Wisconsin lawmakers are making another attempt to modify the statute.

Urban analysis
Boston Globe, October 3, 2011
What makes a location a good place to set up shop? Is it a nearby T station, or visibility on a busy corner? Is it better to be in the midst of a strip with lots of other stores, or within a 10-minute walk of many offices?

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Smart growth news – September 29

New Austin blueprint envisions new direction for growth
The Statesman (Texas), September 28, 2011
After two years of debates and committee meetings, Austin officials have unveiled a broad vision for growth that condemns traditional suburban development and is garnering both praise and skepticism.

Smart Growth Policies Face Overhaul
NJ Spotlight, September 28, 2011
The state is thinking about revamping its policies dealing with what projects receive financial incentives to reduce energy use in buildings, a change smart growth advocates fear will lead to further sprawl and loss of open space.

HUD grant would help homeowners in 4 Iowa counties
KTIV (Iowa), September 27, 2011
Residents that experienced tornado and damaging winds back in April may get some financial help from the federal government. The Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) has submitted an application to the state of Iowa to help certain home owners whose homes were damaged from the strong winds.

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Austin, TX considers plan to improve downtown with better parks, housing and transportation choices

Austin, Texas, has ambitious goals to make the city’s downtown more affordable to live in and a better place for businesses.

Planners in the city have spent the past four years compiling a master plan for development, to address existing challenges and to plan for growth over the next 25 years. The resulting Downtown Austin Plan, due to go before the city council this week, recommends a number of smart growth strategies for the city, including: improving downtown parks, adding lower-priced housing, preserving historic buildings, making zoning changes that would encourage a greater mix of uses and creating an economic development group to help guide growth in the city’s center.

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Smart growth news – July 28

Maybe It’s Time to Start Listening to Tom Low
Charlotte Magazine, July 2011
Charlotte has been called a “foreclosure hot spot” and one of the nation’s worst gas-guzzling cities. Meanwhile, fuel prices continue to climb, single-family home sales continue to dip, and developers still exert undue influence over the planning process.

Decaying infrastructure costs U.S. billions each year, report says
The Washington Post, July 27, 2011
As Congress debates how to meet the nation’s long-term transportation needs, decaying roads, bridges, railroads and transit systems are costing the United States $129 billion a year, according to a report issued Wednesday by a professional group whose members are responsible for designing and building such infrastructure.

Federal Regulations at Odds with Demand for Urban Housing
Streetsblog, July 26, 2011
The real estate market is undergoing the most rapid period of change in a generation — and the shift is decidedly urban. A succession of recent studies have found there is an under-supply of urban-style housing — attached and small-lot, single-family homes — on the scale of about 13 million units. On the other hand, there is an estimated oversupply of detached housing in the car-based suburbs of about 28 million units.

Rural US disappearing? Population share hits low
AP, July 28, 2011
Rural America now accounts for just 16 percent of the nation’s population, the lowest ever. The latest 2010 census numbers hint at an emerging America where, by midcentury, city boundaries become indistinct and rural areas grow ever less relevant. Many communities could shrink to virtual ghost towns as they shutter businesses and close down schools, demographers say.

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The Ford Foundation hosts Just City: a forum on metropolitan opportunity

Today in New York, The Ford Foundation is holding a 75th anniversary event to explore how fairness, opportunity and equity can serve as defining features in the development of megacities and metro regions this new era of urbanization. The event includes speakers working on all kinds of issues related to cities, including mayors, transportation experts, academics, artists, business leaders, journalists, governors and federal lawmakers.

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