News for June, 2010
Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
This map shows that cities produces less GHG's, per capita, than areas that require more Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT).
CNT, through our partnership with the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD), has released, “Transit-Oriented Development and the Potential for VMT-related Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction.” This report provides a quantitative analysis of potential greenhouse gas reductions of transit-oriented development from the transport sector.
The research, led by CNT, finds that by living in a central city near transit, the average household can reduce its transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent. The number increases when living near the most location efficient transit zones, which can result in a 78 percent emission reduction.
“This research shows that, in a nutshell, location does indeed matter,” said Scott Bernstein, President of CNT. “Individuals and families that live near transit centers own fewer automobiles, drive fewer miles, and leave a much smaller carbon footprint than those who don’t.” Read more »
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is a well-recognized symbol of the city and its historical significance in westward migration. The grounds surrounding it, designed by Dan Kiley, are also beautiful. But the lovely site is isolated from the city and from the Mississippi River, partly due to Interstate 70, a huge highway that cuts off the park from downtown St. Louis and makes pedestrian access difficult.
As we approach the Arch’s 50th anniversary, the “Framing a Modern Masterpiece” competition, coupled with federal dollars, makes improving access to the park and revitalizing St. Louis’s downtown more than just a dream. The competition to properly frame this national masterpiece is underway, and one of the five final proposals got our attention. City To River aims to turn the Arch grounds into a version of Millennium Park and the highway into a boulevard resembling Michigan Avenue. According to Kevin Muesenfechter of City To River, “The boulevard would allow for easier pedestrian access between the riverfront and downtown, and it would allow for the redevelopment of land along the boulevard that could spark an estimated $1.1 billion in investment over the next 20 years.”
This proposal emphasizes walkability and smart growth to revive downtown St. Louis by turning a highway into a boulevard, an action CNT has strongly supported in the past. For more information on the proposals for the park still in the running, visit the “Framing a Modern Masterpiece” website.
Friday, June 4th, 2010
Annunciation Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Parish in Homer Glen, southwest suburb of Chicago
Last week, CNT organized a tour for the Hickory Creek Watershed Planning Group and members of the villages within the watershed to Annunciation Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Parish. The group was eager to learn about the parish’s use of native plant communities to create a unique place in the area and to manage the excessive stormwater flowing over and through the property whenever it rains.
The church was built in 1999 on 10 acres in Homer Glen, a southwest suburb of Chicago. Initially, the landscaping was conventional with acres of lawn to manage. It wasn’t long before it became apparent that very wet conditions made much of the landscaping a nightmare to maintain. Fr. Thomas Loya had attended meetings on sustainability at Homer Glen and met people from Conservation Design Forum. Together they developed a master plan for the church landscape. More than ¾ of the turf grass was converted to native prairie grasses and wildflowers. Read more »
Friday, June 4th, 2010
Location Efficiency Trumps Sprawl, HUD’s Job is Housing AND Urban Development
At the recent 18th Congress for New Urbanism, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan made a tremendous declaration: “For the first time in the history of federal grant competitions, I want to announce today that HUD will be using location efficiency to score our grant applications”.
The energy in the room was tangible. “We’re breaking down silos”, Donovan asserted, and indeed, this commitment from HUD to weight grant applications with spatial context in mind will advance the comprehensive approach to community development that CNU, CNT and other smart growth advocates have urged for years.
Over the past year, HUD has taken on an impressive task of touring cities, meeting and listening—“from mayors and other officials of both small and large communities, to business leaders in growing regions, to governors of states that have been hit hard economically”—to design and tailor a program that reflects what communities want, with the ability to apply context-sensitive solutions that work for each community. And CNT believes that the outcome and the subsequent announcement by Donovan show a real commitment to developing tools and resources that will help regions become strong economic engines—with healthy communities and reduced household expenses. Read more »