When communities grow compactly, close to jobs and along transit routes, households have greater choice between affordable communities in which to live, increased employment opportunities close to home, and multiple transportation options connecting the two. However, several decades of fragmented regional planning in the Chicago region de-emphasized this connection between housing, transportation choice, and economic development in favor of increased highway capacity and continued suburban expansion. Cheap oil reinforced the illusion of growth for decades, but surging energy prices raised transportation costs and exposed household pocketbooks and municipal budgets to the true cost of sprawl.
To address this challenge, CNT proposed, in Prospering in Place, that the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) establish Priority Development Areas (PDAs) that align investments in transportation, housing, and economic development across public agencies in regional activity centers.
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Monday, June 10th, 2013 at 3:03 pm
Flickr photo by alforque
There is a growing consensus that public spending cuts don’t just threaten the provision of crucial services but risk damaging our fragile economic recovery. Cuts to transportation funding are particularly harmful and are, as a recent survey conducted by the American Public Transit Association shows, especially unpopular. Seventy-four percent of respondents supported using public money to “create, expand and improve public transportation.” Nearly 90 percent agreed that public transportation improves access to jobs and close to 80 percent agreed that it “can help pave the way to a stronger economy.” Voters in metro areas across the country have voted to create dedicated revenue streams for transit funding (see Los Angeles and Denver examples).
As former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell suggested, although political leaders have been reluctant to support increased taxes to pay for transit improvement, there is a growing realization that public transportation is as popular as it is essential. Expanding transit doesn’t just benefit train and bus passengers; it benefits motorists by helping to mitigate traffic congestion. It improves air quality and reduces dependence on foreign oil. Public money invested in transit ultimately comes back to the government in the form of higher tax revenues due to greater economic growth and lower unemployment. Advocates for public transportation still have a fight on their hands to convince opponents of the merits of investing in rail and bus services instead of highway expansion and to translate increasing public support into political action. Thankfully, as Governor Rendell says, “the tide is turning.”
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Mayors, municipal leaders, and stormwater experts joined USEPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water, Nancy Stoner at a convening hosted by CNT
USEPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water, Nancy Stoner, joined mayors and municipal leaders from around the country at a convening hosted by the Center for Neighborhood Technology and sponsored by the Mayors Innovation Project (MIP). The meeting, held at CNT’s offices in Chicago on May 29, focused on USEPA’s new stormwater regulations and potential local-level impacts.
Participating in the discussion were Mayor Paul Soglin of Madison, WI, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt of Chapel Hill, NC, and Commissioner Debra Shore of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Others included representatives from the cities of Bridgeport, CT, Grand Rapids, MI, Nashville, TN, and Tucson, AZ, and Chicago and Oak Park, IL.
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Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 at 2:39 pm
In a recent post, we highlighted a report that shows how energy efficiency upgrades in multifamily buildings could save building owners and residents up to $3.4 billion annually. Despite this, the multifamily building sector represents a mostly untapped opportunity for energy efficiency gains amongst traditional utility-run programs.
One reason for this is because the multifamily market has unique challenges that must be addressed in order to deliver effective programs. The good news is, we have a roadmap and there are partners along the way to help utilities capitalize on the enormous opportunity for energy savings that exists in the multifamily housing sector.
A new report we released along with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Engaging as Partners: Introducing Utilities to the Energy Efficiency Needs of Multifamily Buildings and Their Owners, examines the factors that contribute to effective energy efficiency program design for multifamily buildings and recommends strategies that can help utilities design and implement energy efficiency programs. Read more »