Upcoming webinar: Navigating Change: Running Effective Community and Coalition Meetings

Building sustainable communities involves engaging people in meetings to set a vision, agree upon goals, manage projects, and build relationships that will carry forward. Often—even with people who agree with what we are hoping to create—these meetings aren’t as effective as we’d like: they go off topic, we get mired in a particular issue, or we get overwhelmed by the number of decisions we need to make. In many cases, these meetings are interrupted by or taken over by those who are uncomfortable with our work, or might not understand the benefits of creating healthier, more sustainable communities.

Navigating Change, presented by facilitator and community sustainability consultant Odin Zackman, will walk you through the basics of designing an effective community or coalition meeting, provide facilitation tips and techniques, and offer interventions that can help keep public meetings on track. We’ll also reserve time for questions and a “community meeting clinic” where your stories and challenges can serve as case studies for all participants.

In preparation for this webinar, please fill out a brief survey to share your expectations. This will help design a session that addresses the questions and challenges you face that tend to be common to many communities.

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Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Technical Assistance webinar materials now online

Communities across the country interested in fostering development that supports thriving local economies while protecting the environment and sense of place can turn to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program for resources and tools to help them achieve desired development goals.

A recent informational webinar by the U.S. EPA, Forterra (formerly Cascade Land Conservancy), Global Green USA, Project for Public Spaces and Smart Growth America provided an overview of the available resources and the application process of the Building Blocks program. Materials from this webinar are now available online.

Technical assistance

"Brownfields Redevelopment, Community Revitalization, and Regional Planning: Making It Work Together" webinar materials now available

Thank you to everyone who attended SGA’s Sustainable Communities Network “Brownfields Redevelopment, Community Revitalization, and Regional Planning: Making It Work Together” earlier this week.

We heard from Adhir Kackar and Stacy Swartwood of the Environmental Protection Agency on how the federal government is working to streamline investments in community brownfield redevelopment and regional planning efforts, particularly through the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities. We then heard the stories and lessons learned from the community of Ranson, West Virginia already working on brownfield cleanup in conjunction with other economic development projects from Dawn Seeburger, Environmental Resources & Consulting.

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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

Partnership for Sustainable Communities Web Briefing materials now available

Thank you to everyone who attended SGA’s Sustainable Communities Network “Partnership for Sustainable Communities Web Briefing” earlier this week.

Smart Growth America hosted senior leadership from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House Office of Public Affairs on the briefing and provided an opportunity to ask questions and receive updates on this year’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities grants, where the Partnership stands in the fiscal year 2012 budget, and upcoming announcements and opportunities. We also heard about the American Jobs Act and a joint report to Congress from DOT and HUD on barriers to coordinated transportation and housing investments.

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"TIGER and Rural America Part 2" webinar materials now online

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Sustainable Communities Network’s recent webinar, “TIGER Grants and Rural America, Part 2.” The webinar was the result of a collaborative effort between Smart Growth America, Reconnecting America, the National Association of Development Organizations, Policy Link, the American Public Transportation Association, the National League of Cities, Rural Assembly, and Transportation for America to provide rural communities with the necessary tools and technical assistance to help advance superior TIGER projects.

Materials from last week’s webinar are now available online. The webinar includes strategies and lessons on how to submit competitive TIGER applications, with tips from both the funding agency as well grant writers and political leaders who have brought millions of dollars to their own communities. Learn what distinguishes an outstanding grant application from all other eligible applications and understand how to write a successful TIGER grant. Gain in-depth knowledge on what is needed to conduct a Benefit-Cost Analysis, an integral part of the TIGER application. Become familiar with the selection criteria and learn how to successfully position your project with regional partnerships. And for prospective applicants, learn about next steps and where to get additional resources and help.

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“Transit Corridors for Sustainable Communities: Planning Transit to Connect the Dots” webinar materials and answers to your questions now available

Thank you to everyone who attended Smart Growth America’s Sustainable Communities Network webinar “Transit Corridors for Sustainable Communities: Planning Transit to Connect the Dots” earlier this week. This webinar was hosted by Smart Growth America, PolicyLink, Reconnecting America, and the National Housing Conference.

Listen in: Click here to view the archived webinar

Speaking on the webinar were Dena Belzer, President of Strategic Economics and partner in the Center for Transit-Oriented Development; Crista M. Gardner, Senior Planner at Portland Metro; and David Johnson AICP, Director of Planning, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. The webinar was moderated by Elizabeth Wampler, Program Associate at Reconnecting America and the Center for Transit-Oriented Development.

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"Advocacy Training 201" webinar materials now available online

Thank you to everyone who attended Smart Growth America’s Sustainable Communities Network webinar earlier this week, “Advocacy Training 201.” Telling Members of Congress about your projects and the benefits of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities is a crucial part of supporting these valuable federal programs.

Christopher Coes, Manager of LOCUS, provided additional training on how to talk about your project, The Partnership for Sustainable Communities, and Member of Congress meetings. The webinar also included a simulated in-district meeting with a Member of Congress, which can be viewed below.

As we’ve mentioned before, August recess is one of the best times to meet with your member of Congress (or their staff) to discuss the importance of the Partnership on the ground in your community and to our nation as a whole. To help you make these meetings happen, we have a toolkit available on the Partnership Blog and we are more than happy to assist you with scheduling or provide more infomation. Please contact Melissa Schreiber-Stahl at mschreiberstahl [at] smartgrowthamerica [dot] org with questions or to request scheduling help.

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"TIGER and Rural America" webinar materials now online

Thank you to all the participants of the recent webinar “TIGER Grants and Rural America.” The webinar is the result of a collaborative effort between Smart Growth America, Reconnecting America, the National Association of Development Organizations, Policy Link, the American Public Transportation Association, the National League of Cities, Rural Assembly, and Transportation for America to provide rural communities with the necessary tools and technical assistance to help advance superior TIGER projects.

Included on this webinar are strategies and lessons on how to submit competitive TIGER applications from both the funding agency as well as prior successful grant recipients. First is an overview of the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program for rural projects from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation that highlights how to compete for a TIGER grant as well as important deadlines and eligibility requirements for applicants. This is followed by an exploration of rural TIGER projects that support strong economies and livable communities, helping to show the usefulness of the TIGER program to rural America. Finally, an in-depth case study from a past TIGER grant recipient provides first-hand knowledge of how to submit a successful application.

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Join us on Monday, August 8th for "Advocacy Training 201"

In the next few days, Members of Congress will return to their districts and states to meet with constituents like you. As you know, the Partnership is under threat in the current budget cycle, so it is extremely important that you meet with your Members of Congress while they are in your home state during August. By meeting with your Senators and Representatives from the districts your project covers, you will help to show the positive impact of the Partnership and its future potential.

Should you choose to meet with one or more of your Members, we are here to support you every step of the way. Join us on Monday, August 8, 2011 from 3-4 PM EDT for “Advocacy Training 201,” which will include a simulated meeting with a Member of Congress.

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