DOT, HUD and EPA All Trumpet Smart Growth

Anthony Flint reports from the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, where the Feds all spoke about coordinating at the federal level to implement smart growth policies.

Flint writes, "Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ray LaHood, secretary of the Department of Transportation, and Lisa Jackson, director of the Environmental Protection Agency, detailed how they were working together to favor funding for initiatives for housing with better proximity to jobs, schools, and transit, for example, and give more priority to transportation projects that helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions, over traditional criteria such as relieving congestion. They also said the agencies have also stopped working at cross purposes in the array of programs they administer, unifying disparate initiatives under the mantra of sustainability.

'It's time the federal government spoke with one voice,' said Donovan."

Full Story: Federal smart growth



Michael Lewyn's picture

Not impressed

I would be a lot more impressed if transit service wasn't being cut back everywhere. Whatever the Administration is doing is like putting a band-aid on a brain tumor.

Place a stop on mass- produced development

Government advocates increasingly support smart growth but what this usually means is the "smart" management of mass-produced development. Instead of banning mass production of residential and commercial buildings/subdivisions, policy makers are simply requiring the homes and shopping centers be clustered and more traditional in design.

This is indeed a band-aid, and not a real resolution of the core problems.

And as Michael Lewyn said, any plan that does not include full transit funding is inadequate.

Implementation and Local Perspective

Here is a perspective from Seattle that day, which emphasizes the challenges of on the ground leadership, and a contrasting meeting across town:

Seattle and Portland Sprawl Impacts

Can people from Seattle and Portland speak to the effects of an influx of East Coast residents into the region? People from the Mid-Atlantic keep fleeing to the Northwest. I wonder about the impacts this is having re overbuilding there.

In-migration origins

Chuck is an old prof of mine and all I didn't learn about land-use law is his fault ;o)

Nonetheless, I fail to get the connection between in-migration from a certain region and overbuilding. Don't people overbuild in the East Coast too?



Yes, overbuilding is also an East Coast problem

Yes, overbuilding is a problem on the East Coast too. There is debate about where overbuilding is an actual problem- for example, it is widely agreed that Florida has overbuilt because there are idle townhomes etc that no one has ever bought. But in the Mid-Atlantic, there are vast amounts of new sprawl single family, senior and townhome subdivisions that have had higher occupancy rates, although a large turnover rate(people live there for only a year or three then move onto wherever their job takes them.) Some planners will say overbuilding has occurred there, others won't.

I asked about emigration from the Mid- Atlantic because many residents of the region are fleeing to communities in the Northwest, California, North Carolina and Vermont for "greener pastures" but in the process contribute to making those places more developed. I'm not aware how many of these residents are building new vs. buying pre-existing homes- if most are buying pre-existing homes, long time residents of those areas won't feel as much of a pinch.

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