Nonprofit and government funding sources

The political battle over America's streets and roads

Now that demand for walkable urban places outstrips supply, a generational political crash is emerging over infrastructure.

The city that wouldn't die

More than 10,000 jobs have been added to downtown Detroit in the last few years, and that number is expected to top 15,000 by 2015.

Infrastructure for the sake of jobs

Building infrastructure with the primary purpose of creating jobs, with little consideration to context, is setting a bad precedence and setting up communities for unexpected liabilities.

LaHood, a one-of-a-kind DOT secretary, will step down

As Department of Transportation secretary, he avoided just going through the motions and doing what was expected of him.

Plan to shrink Detroit gets boost from foundation

A plan by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to concentrate services and resources into compact urban centers and allow other parts of the city to depopulate has been on hold for more than two years, but the idea got a shot in the arm from a $150 million Kresge Foundation gift. Kresge, based in Troy, Michigan, made the gift specifically to get the plan moving again. It includes $120 million in new funding beyond previously announced programs. The money will be distributed over five years. The foundation has invested more than $100 million in Detroit in the past decade to fund a new trolley line, build a riverfront promenade, and construct greenways, the Wall Street Journal reports. Detroit lost a quarter of its population in the last decade alone, and is now stands at around 700,000 people — down 62 percent from its peak in 1950. The city can no longer afford to maintain services over its 139 square miles, Bing says. Never a very densely populated city, many neighborhoods are now virtual ghost towns. Nevertheless, the city enjoys tremendous historic and cultural assets. The Detroit Future City plan calls for focusing growth in seven to nine population centers. "It is a fundamental belief on our part that every dollar we spend simply has to reinforce the spirit, the letter and the intent of this plan," said Rip Rapson, CEO of the Kresge Foundation, told reporters.

Choice Neighborhoods grants leverage inner-city revitalization

HUD recently announced $109 million in Choice Neighborhoods grants for four cities — Cincinnati, Seattle, San Antonio, and Tampa. The funding to "transform distressed communities" leveraged $393 million in private and local funds. Choice Neighborhoods is a less funded successor to HOPE VI, a program that spanned the better part of two decades and invested $6 billion in public housing redevelopment, leveraging some $50 billion in local and private funds. “HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative supports local visions for how to transform high-poverty, distressed communities into neighborhoods of opportunity,” said HUD secretary Shaun Donovan. “We’re emphasizing a comprehensive approach to revitalizing neighborhoods by considering the totality of a community with regard to health, safety, education, jobs and quality housing in mixed-income neighborhoods.” The image above is from the Yesler neighborhood in Seattle, 2010 Sustainable District Study.

CNU gets grant from Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust

The grant allows New Urbanist experts to teach the CNU/ITE Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares manual to Chicagoland’s transportation engineers, policy-makers and public officials.

Voters support smart growth in El Paso, across US

Voters in El Paso, Texas, overwhelmingly supported $473 million in “quality of life” bonds that will implement “among the best, most articulate comprehensive plans.”

HUD builds impressive record of support for smarter community planning

Working with an extremely limited budget (as federal programs go), HUD has assisted cities and towns all over the country.

Developer gets tax credits for Baltimore historic reuse

Richard Florida is fond of saying that historic buildings are irreplaceable treasures for cities and towns, but sometimes turning them into new uses is expensive and requires a boost from government. The City of Baltimore approved a tax break to allow an 11-story Beaux-Arts Provident Bank Building to be converted to 102 apartments with ground-floor retail. The developer will get an 80 percent reduction in taxes for 10 years and then stepped-down reductions ending on year 20, according to this report in the Baltimore Brew. Total value of tax abatement: $3-4 million. The developer will also get historic tax credits and state enterprise zone credits for the $19 million project.

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