Tag: Local Leaders

Local leaders discuss engagement and regionalism at Leadership Academy for Sustainable Communities

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Cable car tracks in San Francisco, CA. Image by Prayitno, via Flickr.

Last week in Oakland, CA, Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council hosted a special track for local elected and appointed officials during the Leadership Academy for Sustainable Communities. Organized by the Institute for Sustainable Communities and sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the three-day workshop emphasized implementation strategies for recently completed regional sustainability plans. One dozen communities sent teams to the event, including local leaders seeking to help their communities achieve the visions outlined in their sustainability plans.

The Local Leaders Council–hosted track focused on developing an effective policy agenda that supports regional vision, building coalitions and partnerships to help move that vision forward, and talking publically about sustainability and infrastructure issues in ways that highlight local priorities. One of the primary takeaways was the need for a big-tent approach.

“Establishing a relationship with everybody, no matter what side of the aisle they’re on, is an important step in the process,” said Commissioner Yousef Rabhi of Washtenaw County, MI. Leaders in the room agreed that working toward a joint regional vision requires going beyond partisan thinking and keeping focused on positive, relatable economic and quality-of-life goals.

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Councilmember Jan Marcason on transforming Kansas City, MO’s downtown

Councilmember Jan Marcason talks about turning around Kansas City, Missouri’s downtown after a period of serious decline. “We completely transformed our downtown to become a place where people are interested in working and staying after work to go to some …

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Councilmember Dave Richins on using form based code in Mesa, AZ

Councilmember Dave Richins discusses the ins and outs of form based code – – making development decisions based on how a building aesthetically interacts with the street and the other buildings in the area instead of based on what the …

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Mayor John Engen on affordable housing in Missoula, MT

Missoula, Montana passed an affordable housing ordinance to build a community where residents of all income levels can live, work, and play together. Mayor John Engen talks about the importance of building affordable housing for any community. See more video interviews …

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Mayor Rick Danner on revitalizing Greer, South Carolina’s downtown

The City of Greer had a vision for turning around their downtown. Mayor Rick Danner talks about they went about implementing that vision through a Master Plan created with the help of a public-private partnership and turned their downtown from …

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Vice-Mayor Anu Natarajan on building better in Fremont, CA

Vice-Mayor Anu Natarajan believes her city of Fremont, CA, can be an economic leader in the region and the country. Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council sat down with Vice-Mayor Natarajan to learn more about her ideas for building on the city’s existing diversity to make Fremont more vibrant and economically competitive.

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Mayor Madeline Rogero on brownfields redevelopment in Knoxville, TN

Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council recently interviewed Madeline Rogero, mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, to ask her how local governments can catalyze brownfields redevelopment and jumpstart revitalization. In the video above, Rogero discusses how strategic investments by local government have made brownfield sites in Knoxville more attractive to potential developers.

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Mayor Ruth Randleman on stormwater management in Carlisle, Iowa

The topography of Carlisle, Iowa presents a unique challenge for dealing with stormwater management. Mayor Ruth Randleman talks about dealing with these issues in a cost effective way and creating a plan to mitigate future problems. See more video interviews with …

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Vice Mayor Hannah KcKinney explains the benefits of comprehensive planning in Kalamazoo, MI

Hannah McKinney, Vice Mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan, on engaging residents in the development of a Comprehensive Plan for future sustainable development. See more interviews with local leaders here >>

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Ryan Coonerty on attracting a new creative class of residents to Santa Cruz, CA

Ryan Coonerty, former Mayor of Santa Cruz, CA and Co-founder of NextSpace, discusses what Santa Cruz is doing to attract the new creative class of residents and businesses. See more video interviews with Local Leaders here >>

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