Stimulating Smart Growth--Advancing the Anti-Sprawl Agenda

Kaid Benfield and the Smart Growth group at the NRDC introduced a neat visual tool for reimagining sprawl development into multi-purpose places. Using photo-editing software,

the visionaries of Urban Advantage have transformed pictures of communities from all over the country to show how they could become more pleasant, walkable neighborhoods.

There are reimagined designs for 70 communities nationwide available for browsing.

The new tool and conversations I have been watching on Twitter got me to thinking about how Obama can use the stimulus plan to stimulate smart growth development.

1. Invest in transit--One conversation on Twitter was discussing whether Detroit can be retooled to produce mass transit instead of single occupancy vehicles. While I think this might be a stretch, before WWII, the United States retooled many of its plants to make the articles for war very quickly.  I would love to hear more comments about this idea.

2. Invest in cities--The stimulus money should be invested in our urban centers, making them safer through improved infrastructure, more beautiful and sustainable through urban greening projects and more livable through pedestrian and bicycle improvements.  Beyond the built environment, Obama could also invest in schools and libraries, making these amenities rival their suburban counterparts.  This would not only make for smarter growth, but also provide jobs for women and minorities not directly benefitting from the green jobs major sectors like construction and engineering.

3. Invest in planning-- New Urban News has a great idea. Obama should invest in planning projects which would support jobs now and plan for smart growth into the future.

Some federal dollars presently used for transportation and other purposes could pay for regional planning that promotes tight-knit development and preserves open land.

4. Invest in smart code drafting--Redrafting building and zonign codes is an expensive and labor intensive process.  But, by reforming codes to make them more energy efficient and smarter, like investing in planning it would support jobs now and plan for smart growth into the future, not to mention creating a more green built environment.


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Kaid @ NRDC - January 15, 2009 1:42 PM

Shari, thanks so much for the mention of our new web feature at NRDC. I couldn't agree more with your agenda.

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