Monthly Archives: March 2016

The “Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015” comes out April 12

best-cs-policies-2015-blog-bannerGuadalupe Street in Austin, TX. Austin had one of the highest-scoring policies of 2014. Which communities will be on the 2015 list? Photo courtesy of the City of Austin.

More than 60 communities passed Complete Streets policies in 2015, and these policies are some of the strongest and most effective ever passed. Which policies stood out as the best? Find out on next month when Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition unveils our annual ranking of the best Complete Streets policies in the nation.

Notably this year, one community has scored a perfect 100 on their Complete Streets policy. In the near decade that we have been tracking policies, this is the first time a community has achieved a perfect score. Which community passed the perfect policy? Join us for the launch of this year’s rankings to find out.


Smart Growth America and Transportation for America welcome a new director of arts & culture

Smart Growth America — along with our signature transportation program Transportation for America — is pleased to announce today the hiring of Ben Stone as director of arts and culture, a new position designed to lead the organization’s broad efforts to help communities across the country better integrate arts, culture, and creative placemaking into neighborhood revitalization, equitable development, and transportation planning efforts.

stoneFor the past four-and-a-half years, Ben has served as the executive director of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, a dynamic cultural district in Baltimore, MD. In that role, he helped make Station North a place that supports artists and attracts visitors and residents alike to the lively, creative community surrounding Baltimore’s Penn Station. (Station North was profiled briefly in Transportation for America’s recent online guidebook to creative placemaking, The Scenic Route.)

“Including the arts in neighborhood development can create well-rounded places that are powerful catalysts for smart, new, inclusive growth,” said Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America. “Ben has an incredible wealth of experience in this field, and we look forward to helping him share it with the local elected leaders, real estate developers, and advocates making neighborhoods great across the country.”

“We’re thrilled to bring someone of Ben’s caliber on board to help lead this emerging area of integrating local arts and culture to produce better projects and places through a better process,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America. “He’s a respected expert and leader who has on-the-ground experience with creative placemaking, an emerging approach to planning and building transportation projects that taps local culture to produce better projects through a better process.”


Complete Streets News — March 2016


Supporters spoke out for safer streets,  USDOT listened — Thanks to advocates like you, all Americans will be safer on our streets. Yesterday the U.S. Department of Transportation released a much-improved ruling for how states and metro areas should measure — and be held accountable for improving — the safety of streets for everyone that uses them. Learn more >>

Submitting a great TIGER grant application— Is your community thinking about applying for a 2016 TIGER grant? Get tips about how to submit a great application during a free webinar with Smart Growth America next Thursday, March 24 at 4:00pm EDT. Register to join >>



Calling all elected leaders of rural communities

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Being a small, rural community hasn’t stopped Pelahatchie, MS from creating a great downtown. Photo via the Pelahatchie Comprehensive Plan.

Are you a local elected official in a rural community and interested in smart growth strategies? If so, we want to hear from you.

Later this spring, Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council will launch our new Rural Leaders Network, a group of elected and appointed leaders from rural communities across the country. The Network will be an opportunity for rural leaders to share ideas, collaborate, network, and learn how a smart growth approach can work in rural places.

Many rural communities are facing declining populations and faltering local economies. Others are struggling to preserve their identity in the path of expanding urban regions or demand for development near natural resources. Smart growth strategies can help with both these sets of challenges, and connecting with fellow rural leaders is a great way to learn how.


Registration now open for Local Leaders Council Policy Forum 2016

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Registration is now open for our Local Leaders Council‘s Policy Forum 2016, taking place July 18-19, 2016 at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health in Washington, DC.

This annual conference gives local elected and appointed officials a chance to learn about some of the most innovative smart growth projects in the country. This year’s theme — “Solutions for Local Success” — will focus on allowing local leaders from communities of all sizes to share their stories and find tools to solve current challenges. The Forum is a unique opportunity to explore the latest policy solutions and network with like-minded colleagues who are making smart growth happen throughout the country.