The National Conversation on the Future of Our Communities

Compendium Cover

Download all twenty finalist submissions as one 4MB PDF document.

In summer 2012, the Smart Growth Network sponsored a call for papers on the development issues facing our communities in the next 15 years and the steps we will take to solve them. We received 95 papers in response. As we hoped, we heard from established thought leaders in the field and also from many new voices. We heard from planners and architects, university professors, environmental groups and community development organizations, county health departments, engineering firms, a mayor and a police captain, and many others all working to improve the quality of life in their communities.

Each paper was reviewed by a panel of experts from the Smart Growth Network, 20 were selected for a compendium. The panel looked for papers that touched on a broad range of topics, were forward thinking, and presented new ideas.

We hoped with this project to start a conversation on thorny issues the smart growth movement has yet to resolve, issues that have received too little attention, and issues that have escaped us altogether. We believe we have achieved that goal, and we thank the many authors who took the time to draft and submit papers and work with us. We invite you to read them, share them with others, and use them as a springboard to continue the conversation in your community.

 

 


INDEX


Community Development/Public Engagement General — Smart Growth/Sustainability Rural Communities and Small Towns
Economic Development Green Building Schools
Environmental Concerns Housing Suburban Retrofit
Environmental Justice/Equitable Development Public Health Transportation
    Urban Design/Urban Infrastructure

 

Community Development/Public Engagement


A Vision for Inclusive, Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Engaging Increasingly Diverse Residents
In 2007, planners in the City of Minneapolis conducted a planning process for a small area plan for the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. One unique aspect of this neighborhood is the large number of Somali immigrants living there. Somali residents were almost completely absent from this meeting despite the fact that it occurred in the evening at a community center adjacent to a large housing complex that is home to many Somalis. At the last minute, planners realized that Somalis, who are predominately Muslim, were not attending because they had scheduled the meeting during Ramadan, a month-long period in which Muslims fast during daylight hours and increase the time they devote to prayer.

Ryan Allen and Carissa Schively Slotterback
University of Minnesota

Achieving Community Transformation: Intentional Investment in People and Place
We might not be able to change the world, but WE can change our block. By beginning to focus deeply in a place, we can develop a comprehensive investment place-people-based approach that prioritizes community economic development and sustainable wealth building strategies.

Konishi Simmons Hennessy, Youth Uprising

More With Less: for Sustainable Community Development
One of the most challenging issues facing communities over the next fifteen years will be the need to deliver more of everything with fewer resources. Achieving success will require imaginative thinking.

Steven Bingler

Anatomy of Sustainable Community Development
Community does not fit into a nice neat package. Strategies the environment can sustain and that citizens want and can afford will generally vary from community to community. A community is not a static place within a static landscape, but rather a lively, self-reinforcing resonance of ever-changing, interactive, interdependent systems of relationships. More importantly, a community is not just the people who are currently in it.

R. Warren Flint, Ph.D.
Five E's Unlimited

Community Sustainable Development: A Self-Sustaining Approach to Resource Conservation and Environmental Justice
Rising energy costs, water shortages, and concerns about air quality and health, will require communities to upgrade their existing home and building stocks. Unless done using market-based approach, these upgrades will tax local economies.

Ravi Malhotra, iCAST

Level X: Eco-Quest
Achieving Sustainability, Civic Engagement and Community Planning Goals through Digital Gaming

Digital gaming technologies are increasing in popularity and sophistication. Scholars and social scientists have documented this new medium as a model of collaborative learning and cognitive development. The measured benefits of gaming, coupled with, the infinite combination of outcomes, makes the correlation of gaming and real world problem-solving of critical importance. Increased use of digital gaming technology that combines education, entertainment and a commitment to improve the world is proposed to address urban growth and sustainability challenges communities will face within the next fifteen (15) years.

Chris Noonan, Senior Program Advisor
Institute for Energy & Sustainability

Using the GLOBE Study to Explain How Culture Affects Leadership in Cities with Dislocated Cultures
The GLOBE Study identifies how economic and social values are important variables in explaining behavioral differences, not only at national levels, but also within cultures at different geographic levels. Consequently, based on the socioeconomic statistics of cities with high poverty levels, the leadership style in those cities is likely to be that of a humane orientation. According to the GLOBE Study, a humane oriented leadership style is negatively correlated with economic performance.

Henrietta Owusa

Revitalization Strategies and Recommendations are People Investments
Declining population, lack of traditional employment opportunities, crumbling infrastructure and sluggish economies are cry out for new approaches to revitalization. This paper proposes a new approach to change management that adopts street level economic planning, integrating human capital and economic development activities through planning districts in areas served by community ministries.

Ray Whitener

A New Approach to Comprehensive Sustainable Community Development
This short paper is a new voice offering a new approach and direction to policy issues and activities in community planning and development impacting the characteristics and future of urban communities' field in the areas of housing, sustainable economic development, and community engagement.

By Alfred Worley, ARM

Organizational Collaboration to Help Address Coastal Community Growth
As Texas coastal communities change in the face of rapid growth, their surrounding natural environments can often be negatively impacted. The effects of climate change can also exacerbate environmental problems associated with growth. To lessen the impact of these issues it is imperative that community planning becomes a central tool to guide future decision-making strategies.

Heather Wade and Kristin Hicks


Back to top


Economic Development


A New Normal After the Great Recession? Smart Growth Policies for Urban Industry
Many U.S. cities will be struggling to recover from the Great Recession for years to come, and creating quality jobs for local residents will dominate urban policy responses. While smart growth became a prominent framework for sustainable urban development prior to the Great Recession, a "new normal" for urban development has set in—one that reasserts how important manufacturing is for local economic development and sustainability.

Nathanael Z. Hoelzel
Georgia Institute of Technology

Asset-Based Economic Development in Rural America
How can rural communities succeed and prosper in the 21st-century global economy without losing their treasured sense of identity and unique natural and cultural resources? Traditionally, rural economies were largely based on resource-dependent industries, such as agriculture, forestry, or energy production. Advances in technology, shifting global tax and labor policies, and evolving business practices have forced rural areas to rethink how they approach economic development and job creation. In response to this concern, some rural regions and communities are evaluating and capitalizing on their assets to build economic competitiveness, local capacity, and community prosperity in a sustainable way. These efforts represent a growing trend in how rural America is approaching economic development through a sustainable development framework.

Kathy Nothstine
National Association of Development Organizations

Demographic and Economic Shifts
Our nation is facing demographic and economic shifts that will transform our regions and communities over the next 15 years. These include rapid metropolitan growth, increasing racial and ethnic diversity, a shrinking middle class, an aging population, growing health disparities and the impact of climate change.

Madeline Fraser-Cook, The Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Connecting People and Places: The Urban Renewal of McGinley Square
At the corner of two of Jersey City's major thoroughfares, a neighborhood known as McGinley Square was born more than a century ago. Like many across the country, though, the urban neighborhood fell into decline and despair. But the time now is right to redevelop, revitalize and reconnect the neighborhood.

David Kitchens, AIA, Principal-in-Charge
Cooper Carry's, Alexandria, Va.


Back to top


Environmental Concerns


Stormwater Banking Program: Improving Water Quality Using Compact Development and Smart Growth Techniques
The Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina area is one of the fastest growing regions of the country. According to a growth study by Clemson University's Strom Thurmond Institute, this region is consuming land at five times the rate of population growth, which indicates that much of the growth is low-density development, or sprawl. This has resulted in the unnecessary consumption of large amounts of undeveloped land, which ends up stripped of natural vegetation and non-compacted soils necessary for good water quality.

Heather Nix, Erika Hollis, and Laura Bain
Upstate Forever

The Oasis Smart Water Infrastructure System
The availability and cost of fresh water varies widely across the world, and there are many places where fresh water is considered scarce from supply and economic cost considerations. Countries, cities and neighborhoods in regions of fresh water scarcity must reconsider conventional water cycles if they are to build an economic and environmentally sustainable environment with a high quality of living standard.

Paul Crabtree and Joe Deluca

Urban Noise Pollution: A Planning Perspective
Noise pollution is a disincentive for people to move to denser areas and ignoring it disconnects the movements from actual human behavior. If planners want people to move to urban areas, or stay in urban areas, then planners need to focus on noise pollution as a serious quality of life issue that affects where people decide to live.

Rebecca Kerwin

Protecting Water Quantity with Smart Growth
Adequate high-quality water supplies are critical to sustainable growth. Urban water systems are under increasing pressure from rising populations, climatic uncertainty, increasingly severe drought, higher energy prices, and increasing water prices as new (and more expensive) water sources are sought. Many growing urban areas across the U.S. are reaching (or have surpassed) the capacity of their water delivery systems. Managing surface and ground water quality and quantity effectively is becoming increasingly important as populations continue to grow and the threat of drought persists.

Jennifer Ronk
Stephanie Glenn
Houston Advanced Research Center

Carbon Accounting Software: An Emerging Trend to Support and Guide Sustainability Initiatives
Measuring and reporting carbon emissions is an emerging trend across industries, where it is quickly becoming an operational standard to develop an internal sustainability strategy, including the development of a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory or carbon footprint. A GHG inventory can provide an organization with baseline energy intelligence, support risk management, and provides a means for goal setting and tracking through a tangible and widely accepted metric.

Jeannie Renné-Malone, LEED AP, HDR, Inc.
Amy Haddon, Renewable Choice Energy


Back to top


Environmental Justice/Equitable Development


People are Infrastructure, Too
Smart growth approaches are often discussed with the related topic of sustainability, which is perhaps an umbrella under which smart growth concepts reside. While definitions of sustainability vary, it is frequently described in terms of the triple bottom line — balancing environmental, economic, and social equity factors — suggesting that our priorities, decisions, and investments should consider each component as interconnected factors advancing in unison. Without improvements made to each "E", our actions are not sustainable.

Clark Henry and Kate Marshall

Principles for a Next Era of Community Development
Across our nation, many older, urban communities have endured disinvestment and decline. In 2003, The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), a national leader in revitalizing America's distressed areas, began envisioning a new approach to community development and moved from financer to planner, to on-the-ground developer. TRF set out with a long-term investment plan to use housing investments to drive neighborhood improvement and change market dynamics. With our community partners, we sought to create safe, affordable and vibrant neighborhoods.

Sean Closkey and Kavita Vijayan

The Challenge: Equity in Access to Jobs and Quality of Life
Using a framework of sustainability and other initiatives to create jobs and expand walkable urbanity, the District of Columbia has started down the track in addressing equity and opportunity in a diverse community.

The District of Columbia Office of Planning

The Principles of Equitable Development
If smart growth is a means to a sustainable end, truly sustainable outcomes will occur when local and regional smart growth initiatives consider the social implications of land use and economic development decisions, up front, rather than treat them as an after-thought. In brief, equitable development is an idea that needs to be normalized in the application of smart growth.

Carlton C. Eley, MURP, PBCD
Robert García, J.D.
Vaughn Horn, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP
Nora Liu, M.Arch.
Joan M. Wesley, Ph.D.
Sacoby Wilson, Ph.D.
National Organization of Minority Architects
Planning and the Black Community Division of the American Planning Association

Mexico City: Urban Ecosystem of Separation
Numerous scholars have defined and studied urban ecosystems from different disciplines and perspectives. Such studies have drawn some common conclusions, appropriated elements from each other to expand particular notions and assumptions, and in some cases dissented with one another. These different attempts to understand urban ecosystems exist as fragments that need to come together to form a discernible whole. Acknowledging such reality highlights the importance of contributing with the discourse that adds to the concept of urban ecosystem, as well as of discussing the significance of studying such networks.

Laura Alejandra Reyes Ruiz del Cueto

Repairing Social and Environmental Relationships in Mexico City
When urban or human-dominated ecosystems exist as spaces of separation, the social and ecological costs tend to be high. Responses to such outcomes, such as ecological restoration or urban revitalization, range from inaction to inadequacy and often fail to recognize political and socioeconomic injustices that exclude various individuals and thus reinforce their vulnerability and continue damaging their environment.

Alejandra Reyes

A Bay Area Agenda for Investment Without Displacement
Regional planning in the Bay Area must promote investments and incentives to strengthen and stabilize communities vulnerable to gentrification and displacement. Investment without displacement is not only vital to the survival of low-income communities and communities of color, but essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing economic vitality. In many neighborhoods, the low-income communities at risk of displacement are already leading environmentally sustainable lives: using public transit frequently, living in dense neighborhoods with compact homes, and living near where they work, shop, learn, worship, and socialize. Regional and local plans should build upon and strengthen this strong foundation, rather than ignoring or undermining it.

Sam Tepperman-Gelfant


Back to top


General — Smart Growth/Sustainability


Smart Growth for Everyone
The smart growth movement has made major inroads in so-called "blue" states such as California, Oregon, and Maryland, but it has stalled in "red" states, where Republicans and conservatives view it with suspicion, outright hostility or, in the case of the anti-Agenda 21 fringe, a United Nations plot to impose socialism on the United States.

James A. Bacon
Bacon's Rebellion

A Libertarian Smart Growth Agenda
"Smart growth" is often a dirty word among supporters of smaller government. But if smart growth means support for more walkable, less vehicle-dependent communities, smart growth supporters and libertarian-minded property rights supporters should have much in common. In particular, both movements have excellent reason to oppose numerous elements of American zoning law.

Michael Lewyn
Touro Law Center

Neighborhoods in Decay: Restoring Urban Sites and Working With Residents to Create Vibrant Communities
There is a growing body of evidence to support the fact that exercise, fresh air, and contact with nature are important to one's health and well-being. Those of us who have experienced the joys of playing in streams, hiking forest trails and collecting fireflies need no statistics to understand the benefits of spending time outdoors. Yet these experiences are foreign concepts for many people in urban neighborhoods, where green space is scarce and the world beyond their walls is riddled with real and perceived dangers.

Sharon Bradley

Smart Growth
Nationally, people in communities are working together to build smart, livable, healthy communities through sustainable land use and sustainable development of under-utilized and under-developed properties. A critical facet of this discussion and the progress we make on community inclusion and broad based economic prosperity involves ensuring that all communities including low income communities and disadvantaged communities of color are prioritized and included in the transition to the new, green global economy.

Deeohn Ferris, J.D.
President, Sustainable Community Development Group

Shifting Perspectives: Planning Communities for Full and Frugal Lifestyles
The global challenges that are confronting the United States are enormous and include the new fiscal reality, climate change, global social and environmental inequities, shrinking resources, aging population, and environmental degradation, and unemployment, access to care, global health, and resource shortages.

Sandy Fischer

Smart Growth in Lenexa, Kansas
This paper will explore how a typical suburb of Kansas City, Missouri can look ahead and use the tools of Smart Growth to adapt to a changing demographic, community expectations and create a more robust outlook for development in the next ten to twenty years.

Nikki Guillot and Laura Turnbull

Implementing Smart Growth Approaches in Southwest Atlanta Neighborhoods
What are some of the goals of Smart Growth in southwest Atlanta? What are some of the basic principles of Smart Growth that could be implemented in southwest Atlanta?

Garry A. Harris

Planting Olive Trees
Collectively our higher education institutions have not as a whole taken on the responsibility that one would assume an industry that employs or educates a quarter of its population. One would expect that such an industry in a city would make itself felt in many ways: in good works; in motivating businesses to support its needs; in serving those affiliated with it; in finding ways of keeping educated citizens in the city.

Matthew Johnsen

Smart Growth in Our Communities - Are We Only Thinking of Human Residents?
Smart Growth means a better place for community human residents. It should also mean a better home for our wildlife neighbors.

Roxanne Nersesian Paul
National Wildlife Federation

The Metropolis Versus the City: The Landscape Urbanism's Challenge to New Urbanism and the Tenets of Smart Growth
In the past half-decade a new "ism," has come to populate the planning discourse. Under the guise of a seemingly pro-landscape, pro-environmental agenda, it aims to supplant the "Smart Growth," vision articulated by the Congress of the New Urbanism and this organization. It calls for Metropolitan scale thinking, i.e., for "radically decentralized, urbanization, especially in the context of complex natural environments."¹ It is called, "Landscape Urbanism".

Neal I. Payton

Creating Sustainable Neighborhoods
Residential development is the predominant land use in urban areas and typically occupies more than 50% of a municipalities’ land area. Residential areas should be seen as more than roof tops and streets. They should be conceived of as a small community or a neighborhood. The neighborhood is the environment for individual homes and the quality of the neighborhood environment impacts the quality of life, the sense of place, the feeling of well being and security of its residents.

Pete Pointer
FAICP

What's in a Name... Sustainability, Smart Growth, New Urbanism
Planning commissioners frequently hear abstract terms bantered about at meetings. Three terms currently used in abundance are sustainability, smart growth, and new urbanism. This article focuses on the applicability of each to planning, land use, design, and development decisions at the local level.

Pete Pointer
FAICP

Walker's Bend Redevelopment—Covington, Georgia
The City of Covington has taken a proactive and innovative approach to address a failed and declining subdivision less than one mile from the town square.

Randy Vinson

A Snapshot Of Urban Planning In Texas Coastal Communities
For a long time, the state of Texas has seen very rapid urban growth. Unfortunately, urban planning is only recommended by the state and not mandated like many other states in the country. This proves to be very difficult for smaller coastal communities in Texas because they do not necessarily have the resources to undertake meaningful planning projects, let alone hire planning professionals.

Heather Wade
Coastal Planning Specialist, Texas Sea Grant, Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve

Smart Growth Results for Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities
Over the next 15 years we can make smart growth land use patterns the dominant trend in the United States by changing the rules for private and public development. As it stands now, we can intend to bring about Smart Growth, but intentions are not enough: we must - and can - require it.

Carolyn Wyant

Smarter Smart Growth
New arrangements offer advantages existing cities can't offer. Be open, ready for a different idea; imagine you have never seen a conventional city. Identify longer-term challenges and solutions so future generations will be prepared. Retrofitting old cities is necessary, but don't let that be a trap.

Gene L. Zellmer


Back to top


Green Building


All the Way Green and Smart
This paper outlines a vision for communities to more strongly embrace smart locational decisions, form, and development paired with a deeper consideration of the environment at all scales. The authors call this pursuit of growth that is "all the way" smart and "all the way" green.

Kendra Briechle and Will Allen, The Conservation Fund

The Clearwater Commons Story: Turning Low Impact Development into Positive Impact Development
Low Impact Development (LID) has become the latest strategy to improve stormwater management, reduce pollution, and a key component of green building. However, LID has a long way to go before it can be a viable approach. The shift is from minimizing impacts to creating positive impacts from development projects and policies.

Tom Campbell


Back to top


Housing


Missing Middle Housing: Responding to the Demand for Walkable Urban Living
The mismatch between current U.S. housing stock and shifting demographics, combined with the growing demand for walkable urban living, has been poignantly defined by authors such as Christopher Nelson and Chris Leinberger, and most recently the Urban Land Institute's publication, What's Next: Real Estate in the New Economy. Now it is time to stop talking about the problem and start generating immediate solutions! Are you ready to be part of the solution?

Daniel Parolek
Opticos Design

Universally Designed Basic Access in Every New House
With regard to housing, most community planning documents state some version of the following: "Provide housing types appropriate for older and disabled people." Such statements are halfway to what is needed, in that some members of those populations want special, set-aside housing, which may have certain services attached. This paper will provide a rationale for building every new house with access; will address construction and cost considerations; will highlight municipalities that already require basic access in all or most new home construction; and will suggest strategies to achieve universal basic home access.

Eleanor A. Smith

Creating Opportunity through Holistic Affordable Housing and Community Development Partnerships and Investments
The recent recession and the stunted recovery have resulted in economic and social hardship throughout the country. However, our current challenges sometimes mask the fact that pre-recession economic growth was highly uneven. The downturn exacerbated growing income disparity and has aggravated U.S. poverty levels and basic needs, especially among seniors and other vulnerable individuals. While national solutions and leadership are necessary to provide all Americans with the opportunity to have a good and prosperous life, holistic community-scale initiatives and interventions are crucial to efforts to promote economic and social growth for people of all incomes.

Michael A. Spotts, Senior Policy Analyst
Enterprise Community Partners

Strategies for Fiscally Sustainable Infill Housing
Passed in 2008, new state legislation (Senate Bill 375) now requires every major region within California to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions by accommodating new growth through infill urban development. A growing number of California cities want to comply with this new bill and promote thriving, infill development with multi-family housing affordable to families at a range of incomes.

Chris Schildt


Back to top


Public Health


Promoting Health Through Community Development
Place has a profound impact on a person's health. The conditions into which people are born and where they live, work, learn, and play have the biggest impact on their life expectancy, quality of life, and contributions to society. In this paper, we introduce our Healthy Neighborhoods approach to community development and the preliminary shifts we are making through the lens of the 12 social determinants of health.

Karoleen Feng, Catherine Lim, Kristin Palm, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation Lisa Forti, Alameda County Social Services Agency

Building a Dialogue Around Public Health and the Future of Our Communities
The American Lung Association in California (ALA in CA) has been at the forefront of air quality and global warming policy at the state and local levels for several decades, focusing on the human health effects of air pollution.

Bonnie Holmes-Gen, Jenny Bard, and Will Barrett
American Lung Association in California

Building for Health: The Case for Investment in Transit-Oriented Development
The United States is at a crossroads in public health and community development. Record numbers of Americans are suffering from chronic diseases largely driven by environment and lifestyle, while the cost of health care continues to grow…. At the same time, municipal, state, and federal governments are struggling to finance critically important investments in healthy neighborhoods, including infrastructure, transportation, affordable housing, and community facilities.

Maggie Super Church
CLF Ventures

Health is the New Wealth
"Health is the New Wealth" could be a saying, but it can also be a guiding principle as well as a mode of operation. In communities that choose to take action on this theory, positive results could emerge quickly. In a country that is still experiencing high unemployment and rising healthcare costs, health and well-being is charting a new course in wealth accumulation and economic growth.

Joyce S. Lee and Ariel Timm

Health Impact Assessment as a Tool for Engaging Stakeholders and Addressing Health Trends in Land Use and Community Planning
Land use and community planning decisions have significant impacts on the health and quality of life of community residents. Many of the most urgent health challenges facing our country, including nutrition, physical activity, obesity, motor vehicle accidents, and unhealthy housing, are directly influenced by the design and maintenance of neighborhoods, transportation and other infrastructure systems, and individual buildings.

Ruth Lindberg, National Center for Healthy Housing
Sarah Wylie, Healthy Housing Solutions

Edible Landscapes Grow Healthy Children, Families and Communities
The purpose of this paper presented by a landscape architect, horticulturist, and dietitian is to propose an environment where high quality, nutrient dense fruits and vegetables and opportunities for physical activity are invasive and pervasive through creating edible landscapes.

Pete Melby, ASLA, Professor, Landscape Architecture
Sylvia H. Byrd PhD, RD, LD, Professor, Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion
David Nagel, PhD, Extension Professor, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
Andrew D. Frugé, MS, MBA, Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion
Mississippi State University

Proximity Allergy, Hay Fever and Asthma Caused by Landscape Trees and Shrubs
Perhaps the most serious challenge posed by urban green spaces, though, is related to human allergic reactions to the airborne vascular plant pollen released during pollination. Recent data suggest that people living in urban areas are 20% more likely to suffer airborne pollen allergies than people living in rural areas.

Thomas Leo Ogren

Public Health and the Need for Comprehensive Urban Greening in Cities
Early America was an agrarian culture, with small towns and farms interspersed across the landscape. Industrialization promoted both expansion of settlements across the continent and ever greater population concentration in cities. Today more than 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in cities and urbanized areas.

Kathleen L. Wolf, Ph.D.
University of Washington

Food Safety of Farmers Market: A Similar and Simplified Regulatory Framework Needed
Farmers markets are enjoying increasing popularity in recent years for their advantages in building sustainable communities. Like other emerging markets that grow faster than their management capacity, however, hidden perils of the farmers market are becoming visible. Food safety is one key issue being endangered as the market expands.

Shiming Yang and Jinhui Huang,
School of Natural Resource and Environment, University of Michigan


Back to top


Rural Communities and Small Towns


A Call for New Ruralism: Reinvestment in Metro-Region Agriculture Is Integral to Metro-Region Sustainability
Sustainable agriculture can help bring cities down to earth, to a deeper commitment to the ecology and economy of the surrounding countryside on which they depend. This paper proposes the concept of "New Ruralism"—the preservation and enhancement of urban edge, rural agricultural areas as places that are indispensable to the economic, environmental, social, and cultural vitality of cities and metropolitan regions—as a framework for creating a bridge between sustainable agriculture and smart growth.

Sibella Kraus
Sustainable Agriculture Education

Financing Strategies to Overcome Barriers to Smart Growth in Rural Communities
The traditional economies and ways of life upon which many rural communities were founded have been eroded by fundamental changes in agricultural production, globalization of agricultural markets, economic displacement, and urbanization. Rural communities face significant changes in demographics, land use and development patterns, and demands for social services and infrastructure. Smart growth principles provide solutions to the challenges that arise from these changes. However, when exposed to smart growth alternatives, many rural communities are reluctant to consider them due to real and perceived concerns about fairness in land use and other local policies that affect land values.

William Michaud

Preserving our Rural Landscapes
The only constant in life is change. The question is, what kind of change do we want and how do we achieve it. If there are values we wish to preserve, then we must consciously plan to achieve their preservation. This is particularly true for those who wish to preserve our rural landscapes.

N.J. "Pete" Pointner FAICP, ALA, ITE

Russellville, Arkansas: If it Can Happen Here...
Russellville is a small western Arkansas town of around 30,000 people. It is roughly halfway between the state's two largest cities, just under eighty miles west of Little Rock and just over eighty miles east of Fort Smith. The cities are connected by Interstate-40, one of the country's major east-west arteries; however, Russellville is too far from either to be considered a suburb or even an exurb. Despite being an hour away from a sizeable metropolitan area, Russellville's population has more than tripled in the previous fifty years.

Tobin Williamson

Natural Gas Drilling in Rural America: Balancing Land Use and Infrastructure Challenges with Economic Opportunity
Natural gas drilling has taken off rapidly around the U.S. in recent years, creating a "gold rush" atmosphere in some rural communities. This heightened drilling activity holds tremendous economic development potential for many rural regions; however, it also poses numerous planning and development-related challenges. Communities that seek to capitalize on underground oil and gas reserves are grappling with difficult decisions related to land use, transportation, air and water quality, housing, and workforce issues. The drilling boom has happened so quickly in parts of Appalachia that many local communities haven't had the opportunity to develop long-term, strategic plans around how and where drilling will take place. More critically, the primary players making land use decisions regarding well siting are private gas companies, individual landowners, state permitting agencies, and regional watershed management commissions, with some local input. For some persistently poor rural areas, the natural gas drilling boom is a huge game-changer. However, there are debates over how long the drilling will last and what will be left behind. What are the hidden costs, and how can they be accounted for? When wells are no longer active, what types of infrastructure will remain? How will rural landscapes change? How can communities employ sound planning techniques to take advantage of these opportunities to support the long-term sustainability of their regions? These decisions will impact the communities and regions at the heart of the drilling boom for decades to come.

Kathy Nothstine


Back to top


Schools


Sustainable Communities Need Opportunity-Rich Schools: A Smart Growth Imperative
Surveying American citizens in 2012, the American Planning Association (APA) found that the top three priorities Americans want planners to spend their time on are job creation (70%), safety (69%), and schools (67%). The survey also found that education was the highest priority for targeting local funding. Planners—and particularly those that favor smart growth—already recognize the importance of workforce development and job creation, but too often fall short of extending their analysis and planning to a key foundation of strong regional economies: effective K-12 schools.

Jeffrey M. Vincent, Ph.D. and Deborah L. McKoy, Ph.D.
Center for Cities & Schools at the University of California-Berkeley


Back to top


Suburban Retrofit


Residential Diversification: An Infill Strategy for Suburban America
From the Jeffersonian grid of the Northwest expansion to the more haphazard delineations of our suburbs, the direction of development and expansion in the United States has been steered by manipulations of the conditions, rules, and physical layout of property. Today, our nation's system of suburban property delineation is arguably the most expansive spatial creation of the developed world. Its social, economic, and environmental impacts are vast and, as such, small alterations to the suburban economic and physical landscape can lead to vast social, economic, and environmental improvements. This paper outlines one small, potentially catalytic alteration.

Andrew E. Burdick
Ennead Architects

From Sprawlvilles to Sustainable Suburbs: Ideas to Attract Private-Sector Investment in Suburban Improvement Projects in an Era of Reduced Public Support
Fifty-one percent of Americans in metropolitan regions live in sprawling, unsustainable suburbs…. The role of public-sector redevelopment has eroded, which magnifies the challenge of rebuilding and reformulating ailing and unsustainable suburbs. Realistically, the private sector must assume some of the roles traditionally played by the public sector to reverse suburban sprawl. This is a tall order.

Errol Cowan
University of San Diego

The Case for Agriculture within Suburban Retrofit
Both the concept and phrase 'urban agriculture' is not only familiar among urban dwellers, planners, and policy makers; it has been welcomed and has become a poster child by the public health and smart growth communities for sustainable and healthy nutrition.

Angela Bennett Dyjack, MPH, REHS

Efficient Edge Cities of the Future
A "story-format" 2020 vision is provided to reduce edge city per-capita energy consumption by 50%. The story provides an integrated future vision combining: multimodal transit, ridesharing, demand management, land use, market forces, policy, technology, and paradigm re-thinking. Changing away from an autocentered, petroleum-based lifestyle represents a lifestyle change, but not a sacrifice.

Steve Raney

Making Suburbs Sustainable
How can land use and transportation be coordinated in order to make suburbs more sustainable? The strategy that dominates the conversation - and planning practice - is essentially to urbanize certain parts or even whole districts of suburban communities.

Walter Siembab
Siembab Corporation


Back to top


Transportation


Disruptive Innovation and the Future of Transportation in America
The concept of disruptive innovation has emerged as an important conceptual tool for understanding changes in the world economy. Several disruptive innovations are emerging in our industry that challenge deeply rooted assumptions.

Dave Andersen, AICP

Intelligent Highways and Intelligent Vehicles
Versatile and convenient, automobiles remain our dominant choice for personal transportation. Intelligent highways and intelligent vehicles will greatly improve present road capacity to handle numerous vehicles, but the technology will do little to reduce energy consumption, increase average speed, or help parking density. An intelligent highway implimented as a track, however, as this paper will show, can greatly affect energy consumption by the exclusive use of small, lightweight vehicles and by configuring them as aerodynamic trains at high speed.

Roger Davidheiser

Community Infrastructure for the Electrification of Transportation
The electrification of transportation with power provided by wind and solar energy has the potential to reduce engine exhaust emissions and improve air quality. The health impacts associated with engine exhaust include increased risk of cancer, heart attack and stroke. The costs associated with air quality impacts have been estimated to be as large as 10 cents per mile in some urban environments.

L.E. Erickson, T. Boguski, M.W. Babcock, B.A. Leven, A. Pahwa, G.L. Brase, W. Griswold, K. Kramer, and R.D. Miller
Kansas State University

It Takes a Collaborative: How Mile High Connects is Working to Ensure Transit-Oriented Communities Benefit Everyone in the Denver Region
Walkable neighborhoods and transit-oriented development (TOD) have developed somewhat of a "cool" factor in recent years, and the benefits of TOD have been widely researched and documented. Yet how do we ensure that populations who need access to low cost transportation choices the most are able to benefit from living and working in neighborhoods built around them? This paper uses the Denver region's Mile High Connects collaborative as a case study of how collaboration and partnerships can support equity in community and transportation planning processes, especially in places expecting new transit service and TOD in coming years.

Bill Sadler
Reconnecting America

Smart Growth Network Multimodal Incentives
Providing incentives that make alternative transportation modes an attractive alternative to commuters is a crucial step towards reducing single occupancy vehicle (SOV) use. Most incentives focus on subsidizing transit use or penalizing SOV use. While traditional financial incentives have proved useful, new incentives, both monetary and non-monetary, can accelerate a modal shift away from SOVs. Recent research and innovative tools developed by the private sector incorporate financial rewards as well as other psychological motivations.

Sam Smith and Shannon Smith

Green Infrastructure and Transportation Network Design: Applied Solutions for Modern Commercial Roadside Design
Urban forests are generally decreasing in areal extent across the United States, whereas urban areal extent is projected to increase another 50% by the year 2050. As a result, built environment patterns are subject to increasing scrutiny across many disciplines. As new techniques and polices are implemented to advance roadway design, practitioners are increasingly relying on woody plant material to meet design, safety, and environmental objectives, with these designs having varied outcomes on plant health.

Daniel C. Staley

Gen Y Urban Revolution
How The Youngest Generation Is Driving How Neighborhoods and Regions Should Be Planned, Designed and Developed For The Future

This paper is about today's real life opportunity in how neighborhoods and regions could be planned to meet the needs of current and future generations. It's about demographic trends and the dynamics of a generation positioned to make a huge impact on how and where we live.

John W. Martin, President and CEO
Southeastern Institute of Research

Broadband Networks and Network Access Centers: Technology and New Practices for Sustainable Communities
IN 2010, Google issued a national call for communities of all sizes and locations to apply to be the demonstration site of its high speed (gig/sec) Metropolitan Area Network (MAN). In a visionary move, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the Department of Water and Power of the City of Los Angeles jointly submitted an application to become the demonstration site of the Google MAN. Why?

Walter Siembab
Siembab Corporation


Back to top


Urban Design/Urban Infrastructure


Sprawl Is Dying. Will Smart Growth Be Next?
For the last 15 years or so, the school of thought and practice we have come to call "smart growth" has been primarily concerned with the physical shape of our built environment, and particularly of our neighborhoods, cities, suburbs, towns, and regions. We have made a difference—a big difference, in my opinion—in pursuing these issues to create a more sustainable world. But we are now well into the 21st century, and what qualified as leadership 15 years ago has become mainstream.

F. Kaid Benfield
Natural Resources Defense Council

Sustainable Safe Communities: An International Conspiracy?
Who would believe such a thing! The title of this paper was inspired by a local group in Cherokee County, North Carolina that tried to have the County Commission eliminate funding for a regional planning council. The basis for this request? The group charged that regional planning and sustainability is being guided by Agenda 21, the United Nations' plan for sustainable development, and that it will result in approval of land development regulations and taking of private property. In other words, they didn't want anyone, especially the government, to tell them what to do with their property.

Stanley L. Carter
Carter & Carter Associates

The Future of Cities: Seven Trends We Know and Seven Suggestions for What Might Be
Cities have always been concentrations of innovation and knowledge with the promise of freedom. With cities getting ever larger, will cities become unmanageable or will they remain centers of innovation and freedom?

Klaus Philipsen
ArchPlan Inc.

Atlanta Regional Commission's Lifelong Communities Initiative: Creating Communities for All Ages and Abilities
The Atlanta region is experiencing a monumental demographic shift. By 2030, one out of every five residents will be over the age of 60. The region's housing and transportation infrastructure is not ready to support the changing needs and preferences of a growing older adult population. Getting healthy and staying healthy is increasingly difficult in communities with limited access to basic health services and too few opportunities for walking, exercise, good nutrition, and recreation. Older adults and those who care for them do not have the necessary information or support to make decisions about their future. This paper examines Lifelong Communities, the approach of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) to transform communities into places people can live throughout their lifetimes.

Laura Keyes and Cathie Berger
Atlanta Regional Commission

Next City: City Design and Urban Planning Innovation for the New Era
While the planning and design community remains justifiably fixated on advancing sustainability, the world of business and economic development has shifted its focus to the emergent innovation economy.... But whereas the new imperatives for individuals and businesses have been receiving sustained attention, the implications for the planning and design of cities has not—even though it is becoming increasingly clear that urban environments are the preferred venue for innovation and for innovators. To make the most of the rapidly unfolding new era, urban design and development professionals must respond with long overdue innovations in how we plan, design, develop, regulate, and think about cities that address not only ecological sustainability, but also the new imperatives of economic prosperity.

Michael Freedman
FTS Design

Recycling the City
For cities and neighborhoods that have lost residents, schools, businesses, and factories and now face the challenge of abandoned and vacant properties, there are alternatives to austerity-based measures that simply shrink these areas. The challenges associated with population shifts and economic restructuring are extensive and beyond the scope of the solutions typically proposed for urban revitalization. However, there are opportunities in these places that vary based on the perspective from which they are viewed. By using the analytical and rhetorical framework of recycling, a number of creative solutions to urban erosion emerge that are otherwise obscured by population statistics, legal liability, financial cost, historical legacy, and emotional loss.

Dayne Walling
Mayor, Flint, MI

Prescribing Catalytic Opportunities: A Spectrum of the Modern American Urban Landscape
While the complexity of the current economic reality in the United States has resulted in a fragmented architectural typology, the dynamic articulation of marginalized vacant space in the urban core has become a strong player in a revival of localism. Through a revival of localism and a re-appropriation of urban energies, markets exemplify the bottom-up approach of incremental urban design powered by formation of strong micro economies.

Edna Ledesma
University of Texas at Austin/Texas A&M University

Smart Communities and the Relationship Between Crime and Urban Design
Building neighborhoods that integrate both social housing and regular citizens has demonstrated that people from social housing take over the territory and the owners of the regular apartments use the streets only as an access to their garages. The main challenge is to make these streets atractive to both groups.

Ana Veronica Neves

Experiential Design as a Way to Reconnect Urban Communities and Environmental Systems
Recognizing that society has grown increasingly disconnected from the natural systems that sustain and surround its urban environments, landscape architects can illuminate these relationships and create communities that better connect with environmental processes.

Gwen Wolfgang

Solar-Smart Urban Forests in the New Energy Economy
Solar energy is projected to provide about 7% of the world's electricity by 2020, and with solar prices rapidly approaching those of traditional power sources, this growth should continue. Soon it will be common to see solar energy collection in urban areas and therefore throughout the urban forest. Preventing conflicts with solar energy collection will be an excellent business opportunity for both professional arborists and solar installation companies.

Daniel C. Staley

Vibrant Cities and Urban Forests: A National Call to Action
Society, as a whole, has long viewed cities and nature as distinct from one another. More recently, however, cross disciplinary research and discourse is changing the way we think about and understand our urban environments. We are becoming increasingly aware of the complexities of urban issues, but also the benefits that arise from the dynamic relationships of urban ecosystems. Considering that nearly 84% of all Americans live in metropolitan areas, this understanding is essential to our country's environmental, social and economic success.

Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition

Throw Me a Bone!
Planners are presented with an exciting opportunity to design spaces to meet the demands and needs of people and our furry friends, implementing an innovative, forward thinking approach to the way in which people and dogs use public spaces.

Anita Woodmass

Water Infrastructure and Vacant Land Management in Legacy Cities
According to the American Water Works Association, simply restoring existing water systems will cost over $1 trillion over the next 25 years (AWWA, 2012). However, if utilities maintain current spending needs, and in light of the recent financial meltdown, funding of all needed investments is not feasible.

Mark Wyckoff, Mohamed El-Gafy and Mary Beth Graebert

Pocket Neighborhoods: Building Blocks for Resilient Communities
In a pocket neighborhood, active living spaces of houses face toward a common area shared with nearby neighbors, while quieter, more private spaces are farther back. Living in such a neighborhood, conversation is effortless—like friends around a dinner table.

Ross Chapin, FAIA

Reimagining Park Oriented Development and the Future Of Cities
At the heart of every city are two great immutable facts. First, and very simply, cities are about people, lots of people, you and me. And, second, there was, is, and always will be some natural, physical advantage to every city's location—if, of course, those natural advantages are embraced and valued when it comes to the "always" part. Taken together, these facts of city life, people and place, should always serve as the starting point for planning, designing, and building our cities and continuously improving them. So, how do we build cities around people and place? In a word, parks.

John Houghton

Designing Florida's Future
Geodesign integrates science and social values into landscape planning and lets us move from designing around geography to designing with geography. Using geodesign principles and the LUCIS Plus framework, a consensus vision for future growth in East Central Florida was established.

Shannon McElvaney

Using Improved Infrastructure Funding to Integrate Land Use and Transportation for Affordable, Sustainable & Equitable Communities
If smart growth is so smart, how come there's so much dumb growth? Part of the answer lies in our failure to understand the way that public investments, intended to benefit communities, result in economic displacement and incentives for sprawl. Fortunately, some communities are correcting this problem. They are using value capture to transform their property tax into a public services user fee. This creates more sensible economic incentives that foster more employment combined with more sustainable and affordable development.

Rick Rybeck, Director
Just Economics, LLC

At Home, or on the Road?
Our task is to engage both the property development sector and public land-use authorities so that all city dwellers can also win at home. It may be the only way to attain lasting urban tranquility and opportunity for all citizens.

Gregory Iwan, M.URP


Back to top


← Home