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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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Demonizing Smart Growth - The Architect's Newspaper

Demonizing Smart Growth - The Architect's Newspaper | green streets | Scoop.it

Julie Iovine considers how urban planning got pushed into a political hot button.

Here’s a trip: Go to Google and search the words “smart growth” and “transit-oriented design.” There, on website after site, numerous thoughtful expressions describe the goals and values of planning for density that are now current in today’s urban planning and design circles. And it’s all positive stuff about how each effort creates “vibrant livable cities,” “enhances neighborhoods and involves local residents,” “protects farmland,” “provides affordable housing” and “creates spaces with a rich variety of options for living and working.” Promises of the American Dream, right?

Now step through the funhouse mirror, search for “Agenda 21” and smart growth or transit-oriented design, and fasten your seat belt. It’s rough out there. At a community meeting, an elderly lady in Maine is told that urban planners want to take her home away; the American Thinker website warns against smart-code zoning and states flatly: “Smart growth plans usurp property rights and constitutional rights.” The Heritage Foundation rails against “land use regulations that would force Americans into denser living arrangements, curtail freedom of choice in housing, discriminate against lower-income Americans”; use of bicycles, subways, and trolleys is deemed especially subversive...

Somehow, the language needs to be inverted so that the public understands that planning is not about taking away rights and spaces from individuals but rather about empowering them to set a pace and order of change that works. The anti-intellectual streak now coursing through much political discourse is dangerous not only for the future of intelligent planning but for the future, period. In any case, whether accommodated intelligently or fueled indiscriminately, growth isn’t going to stop.

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Smaller, more sustainable living in neighborhoods that fit in

Smaller, more sustainable living in neighborhoods that fit in | green streets | Scoop.it

When talking about reducing the footprint of our living patterns on the landscape and the earth’s limited resources, I always stress that this does not necessarily mean high-rises or even multi-family living at all. Those can be perfectly accessible pathways to sustainability for people who prefer them, but one can also have sustainably designed neighborhoods of single-family homes on moderately sized lots. The lots can be even smaller without sacrificing access to the outdoors if ample shared green space is integrated into the setting. Ultimately, more sustainable living patterns need to be about a diversity of choices within a community, rather than the ghettoes of identically sized and styled housing products typically offered during the recent heyday of sprawl

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Why Smart Growth is Important to Land Conservation

Why Smart Growth is Important to Land Conservation | green streets | Scoop.it

For decades, the amount of developed land in our country has grown much faster than population, in some regions of the country several times faster. In the 25-year period from 1982 to 2007, we lost some 23 million acres of agricultural land - an area the size of Indiana - irretrievably to pavement, malls, and subdivisions, according to the American Farmland Trust.

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Nearly 90 Communities apply for free Smart Growth Technical Assistance

Nearly 90 Communities apply for free Smart Growth Technical Assistance | green streets | Scoop.it
Applications for Smart Growth America’s free technical assistance are in, and they tell an important story: communities across the country are eager to learn more about smart growth strategies.

Smart Growth America received applications from 89 communities in 34 states plus the District of Columbia. Stretching from Maine to Hawaii, these communities represent major urban centers, fast growing suburbs, rural small towns and everything in between. This broad mix of applicants shows that all types of communities are interested in using smart growth strategies to build stronger local economies, preserve a sense of place and protect the environment.

Smart Growth America will announce the communities selected to receive technical assistance on Monday, November 14th.

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

Smart Growth America to provide free smart growth technical assistance to communities | green streets | Scoop.it

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.

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Smart growth can curb traffic deaths - The Seattle Times

Smart growth can curb traffic deaths - The Seattle Times | green streets | Scoop.it

Neal Peirce / Syndicated columnist, The Seattle Times: Reducing vehicle miles traveled, combined with "smart growth" local land-use policies that focus on concentrated out development...

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How smart growth in cities saves wilderness [VIDEO]

How smart growth in cities saves wilderness [VIDEO] | green streets | Scoop.it
The relationship between urban development and rural conservation is a mutually beneficial one.
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The Atlanta BeltLine: The country's most ambitious smart growth project

The Atlanta BeltLine: The country's most ambitious smart growth project | green streets | Scoop.it
Enormous, multifaceted, ambitious, and potentially transformative, the Atlanta BeltLine shows some progress and much remaining potential.
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What does the new economy mean for the shape of communities

What does the new economy mean for the shape of communities | green streets | Scoop.it

Thomas Fisher, dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, believes that we are undergoing an enormous change in “how people will live and work, in how businesses will operate, and in what services and support we will need from government.” Writing in The Huffington Post, Fisher contends that the 20th-century model of large-scale, heavy industry is largely over and that the new workforce is much more independent and nimble...

So, in the end, our coalition speaker who was making the "business case for smart growth" was right that business needs urban densities, but perhaps not much longer for the traditional reasons he was citing. If the reasons matter - and Fisher, Florida, and the Dublin experience all suggest that they do - both city planners and companies will need to take note in order to ensure that they are prepared for them. Cities will still be cities, but education, retail, and workplaces may all need to change, along with government services and regulation. The companies and communities that figure this out first are likely to be the ones to succeed in the next economy. Likewise for urban advocates...

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Top 5 smart growth projects in the U.S.

Top 5 smart growth projects in the U.S. | green streets | Scoop.it
Where can you find the most innovative smart growth projects in America?

They’re in places like New Mexico and South Dakota, and they’re transforming their communities.

For the tenth year, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Growth Achievement Awards has highlighted the most innovative approaches that communities are using to “strengthen their economies, provide housing and transportation choices, develop in ways that bring benefits to a wide range of residents, and protect the environment.”

Here’s EPA’s choices this year for the top 5 smart growth projects in the U.S. (in no particular order).

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The Best Smart Growth Projects in America

The Best Smart Growth Projects in America | green streets | Scoop.it
The EPA's newly released list includes a green learning center and an innovative civic gathering space...

One of the country’s very best revitalizing neighborhoods and one of our most articulate city plans for a more sustainable future are among this year’s five national honorees for achievement in smart growth, awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency. The other very worthy winners include a green learning center in a small South Dakota town, a green, affordable apartment building in New Mexico and an innovative civic gathering space in Illinois...

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New Urbanists: No Economic Recovery Without Smart Growth

New Urbanists: No Economic Recovery Without Smart Growth | green streets | Scoop.it

What happened to the United States over the past several years is most commonly described as a recession. By the technical definition of the word we’re two years into a recovery. But it sure doesn’t seem that way.
Meanwhile, a growing chorus of intellectual leaders says the country is experiencing something different than a normal cyclical fluctuation: the end of an epoch.

Leading urban thinkers believe we have reached the limits of our fossil-fueled, double-mortgaged, McMansion-based economy. Relief won’t come, they say, until America begins confronting the systemic problems that produced the meltdown, including inefficient and unsustainable public infrastructure investments and housing development.

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Smart growth investment may be key to small cities' economic vitality

Smart growth investment may be key to small cities' economic vitality | green streets | Scoop.it

This recent report from the Center for Neighborhood Technology looks very interesting. Among other things, it seems to confirm exactly what Chuck Marohn (Community Growth Institute, Strong Towns) has been telling us about the economic imperatives facing smaller cities and towns in Heartland America: to become resilient, prioritize investment in smart growth and efficient transportation.

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Rail~Volution coming to DC this October - Greater Greater Washington

Rail~Volution coming to DC this October - Greater Greater Washington | green streets | Scoop.it
Rail~Volution coming to DC this OctoberGreater Greater WashingtonRail~Volution, the leading national conference for anyone passionate about transit and smart growth, is coming to DC October 16-19.
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A beginning agenda for making smart growth legal | Kaid Benfield's Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC

A beginning agenda for making smart growth legal | Kaid Benfield's Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC | green streets | Scoop.it
When then-governor Parris Glendening announced a key portion of what was to become Maryland’s path-breaking land use legislation in the 1990s, he stood in the historic district of Annapolis, where Maryland’s State House is located.
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