Greater City Providence

News & Notes

Texting while walking, via Transportation Nation.

Planetizen: The Smart Math of Mixed-Use Development

Most of us – city planners, elected officials, business owners, voters, and the like – understand that the city brings in more tax revenue when people shop and eat out more. However, we often overlook the scale of the property tax payoff for encouraging dense mixed-use development.

Many policy decisions seem to create incentives for businesses and property developers to expand just about anywhere, without regard for the types of buildings they are erecting. In this article, I argue that the best return on investment for the public coffers comes when smart and sustainable development occurs downtown.

UrbanLand: Preserving the Past

All completed in the past five years, the following ten projects-which are listed alphabetically, not in any rank order-bring back valuable community resources from decline and neglect. Some crumbled slowly over the course of long vacancies as cities sought ways to pay for necessary seismic strengthening and repairs. Some endured early remodeling attempts that hid or destroyed ornamental details, and some were devastated by earthquake or fire, or both. Some simply suffered from dwindling use as tenant needs changed.

The Transport Politic: On Infrastructure, Hopes for Progress This Year Look Glum

Mr. Obama’s address, whatever its merits from a populist perspective, nonetheless failed to propose dramatic reforms to encourage new spending on transportation projects, in contrast to previous years. While the Administration has in some ways radically reformed the way Washington goes about selecting capital improvements, bringing a new emphasis on livability and underdeveloped modes like high-speed rail, there was little indication in the speech of an effort to expand such policy choices. All that we heard was a rather meek suggestion to transform a part of the money made available from the pullout from the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts – a sort of war dividend whose size is undefined – to “do some nation-building right here at home.”

Better Cities & Towns: War’s end could help fund US infrastructure

Those who want more attention to be paid to transportation and infrastructure pointed hopefully to the president’s “agenda to repair America’s infrastructure.”

“So much of America needs to be rebuilt,” Obama declared. “We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges; a power grid that wastes too much energy; an incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world.”

“In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects,” the president promised. He suggested that the end of the war in Iraq and the winding down of the war in Afghanistan could allow some federal spending to be shifted elsewhere.

National Trust for Historic Preservation: The Environmental Value of Building Reuse

A report produced by the Preservation Green Lab of the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the potential environmental benefit of building reuse. This groundbreaking study, The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse, concludes that, when comparing buildings of equivalent size and function, building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction.

Greater City Providence

Promoting the smart urban growth of the Greater Providence region.

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