Creating Connected Communities Guidebook Released

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development just released “Creating Connected Communities: A Guidebook for Improving Transportation Connections for Low- and Moderate-Income Households in Small and Mid-Sized Cities,” which Strategic Economics wrote in partnership with the Center for Neighborhood Technology and Reconnecting America as part of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development.
UntitledThe guidebook provides elected officials, city staff members, and community leaders in small and midsize cities with strategies for improving the transportation choices available to low- and moderate-income households. Strategic Economics’ principal Sarah Graham will present the guidebook at Rail~volution in September. In the meantime, you can download the guidebook on HUD’s website.

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New Report on the Savings and Revenues Generated by Smart Growth Development

Earlier this week our friends at Smart Growth America published a fascinating and innovative report entitled Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development.  Strategic Economics staff members Sarah and Alison led the firm’s contribution to this report and were supported by Dena and Sujata. The report is a must read because it is the first of its kind to aggregate the studies that municipalities across the nation have conducted to understand both the costs and revenues associated with smart growth development. In some cases, like Charlotte, North Carolina the team’s research revealed that the increased road connectivity enabled via smarter development allowed the fire department to reach residents more easily, and thus lowered the city’s service costs. In other instances, like the original research Strategic Economics conducted on smart growth development in Nashville, Tennessee the findings were similarly interesting. SE’s Sarah Graham found that a smart growth project in a brownfield location could generate two times as much revenue per unit (and 42 times as much revenue per acre) as a conventional suburban development in a greenfield location. Wow, talk about incentive to reconsider the ways we develop land!

You can check out SGA’s full press release here and download the full report here. Happy reading and happy Memorial Day Weekend!

TOAH Gets EPA Honorable Mention

Earlier this month, the Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (TOAH) was an honorable mention recipient of the 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in the category of Programs and Policies. We are especially excited about this because SE had a major role in making the TOAH possible. Back in 2009, working with our CTOD  partner Reconnecting America, Strategic Economics made the case for why a property acquisition fund should be established in the Bay Area and provided the Great Communities Collaborative with initial ideas on fund organization.  The Bay Area MTC then committed ten million dollars in grant funds to the creation of acquisition loan fund and in the spring of 2011, TOAH began making loans.

To date, the fund has provided loans for a 153-unit high-rise for low-income families located in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco that is two blocks from a major BART rail station, and for a 64-unit building for seniors citizens of San Jose that is close to a VTA light rail station that has plans to provide free transit passes for all residents.

You can read the full EPA honor article here, and check out the units that TOAH has funded here.

Opportunities for Change Along El Camino Real

Last week Dena was one of four guest participants on KQED’s morning show Forum…did you hear her? Throughout the hour long program, “”Re-Inventing El Camino Real”, Dena discussed the work that the firm is doing along the corridor and in partnership with regional transit planners, responded to issues raised by callers and articulated what the corridor’s transformation will look like and require. Check it out here!

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