Introduction and Purpose
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (U.S. HUD) created the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (the Partnership) “to help improve access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment in communities nationwide” (U.S. EPA, 2009, para. 6).
Guided by the goals of the Partnership, the federal government has committed significant resources and attention to implementing livability in state and local governments. While high-level, strategic federal investment in livability is relatively recent; states, regions, and localities have planned and implemented livable communities for more than a decade. For example, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities (Met Council) established their programs in 1995. As many of the…
This Recommended Practice introduces guidelines for designing and operating sustainable transit that both reduces a community’s environmental footprint from transportation and enhances its quality of life by making travel more enjoyable, affordable and timely.
Boulder has a residential population density greater than Denver – and is 40% more dense than peer cities like Palo Alto, California and Madison, Wisconsin. Still, there are calls by some for much greater density in Boulder. The public debate about increasing Boulder’s density has been emotional and rife with misinformation. A comprehensive analysis of the facts surrounding density and growth in Boulder is desperately needed. This PLAN-Boulder County report examines density and growth from four important aspects: regional transportation, greenhouse gas generation, adequate public services, and affordable housing.
In this study, the results of a national survey of rural transit agencies on the topic of technology are presented. Data collected by the survey were joined with that in the Rural National Transit Database (Rural NTD) to provide a more complete picture of rural transit agencies and their current use of technology. These data were used to identify the factors that impact the adoption of individual transit technologies by rural transit agencies using discrete choice modeling techniques. The results of the analysis have implications for rural transit policy and practice.
Transit agencies serving rural areas provide a vital link for many Americans. These organizations are the product of the communities they serve with demographics, geography, and economics dictating the services they provide and how they can be best delivered. Rural transit is about more than transporting people. It requires a commitment to safety and continual innovation to increase efficiency so that…
Suburban multifamily housing is an often overlooked housing typology that is the fastest growing housing market in the country and holds strong potential for achieving smart growth goals in suburbia. This housing type is ubiquitous throughout all regions in the nation, is a widespread example of density in suburbia, and is typically located next to commercial uses. The proximity between suburban multifamily housing and commercial uses creates the potential for nodes of concentrated activity, mixed use, and the possibility of substantial non-auto transport in suburbia. While this potential exists, the design of this housing type often follows an enclaved pattern of development, negating any synergy, minimizing the possibility of non-auto transport, and denying any potential for sustainable development.
Through case studies of suburban multifamily development in Oregon, Arizona, Florida, and Massachusetts, this report looks at the specific ways in which regulation,…
Livability in Small Towns and Rural Areas
What does “livability” mean in a smaller town or city? Some would have us believe that livability is a foreign concept for our small towns and rural areas. The reality couldn’t be farther from the truth.
This collection of 12 case studies provides examples of how small cities, towns and rural regions across the country are transforming themselves into more livable communities. While some of these communities face formidable threats – from job losses and shrinking populations to disappearing farmland and strained resources – their leaders have forged collaborations and created plans that are growing economies, bene.ting people and protecting the land and lifestyles treasured by residents and non-residents alike.
The exact de.nition may di.er place to place, but these case studies reveal some core values and needs that exist in these communities across America. It is about providing people, including seniors and those who cannot…
This publication is designed to provide rural decision-makers with a resource for balancing competing goals while creating more vibrant, sustainable communities. It is intended to show how smart growth approaches can be adapted and applied in the rural context, particularly in times of change. Following a brief discussion of key issues facing different types of rural communities and how smart growth is perceived in rural environments, the majority of this publication addresses how to put smart growth into practice in rural communities. This third section of this publication is framed around three key goals, which can help a community pursue its vision for accommodating and attracting sensible growth in the future, while maintaining and enhancing its rural character and quality of life.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Smart Growth Program commissioned this document to provide communities with guidance on how they can revitalize these commercial corridors to accommodate economic growth, reuse land already serviced by existing infrastructure, and reflect the unique character of the town or city where they are located.
More than just a pleasant amenity, the walkability of cities translates directly into increases in home values. Homes located in more walkable neighborhoods—those with a mix of common daily shopping and social destinations within a short distance—command a price premium over otherwise similar homes in less walkable areas. Houses with the above-average levels of walkability command a premium of about $4,000 to $34,000 over houses with just average levels of walkability in the typical metropolitan areas studied.
This paper explores the connection between home values and walkability, as measured by the Walk Score algorithm. Walk Score measures the number of typical consumer destinations within walking distance of a house, with scores ranging from 0 (car dependent) to 100 (most walkable). By the Walk Score measure, walkability is a direct function of how many destinations are located within a short distance (generally between one-quarter mile and one mile of a home). Our…
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of walkability on property values and investment returns. Walkability is the degree to which an area within walking distance of a property encourages walking for recreational or functional purposes. It is of particular concern to developers, investors and others interested in sustainable and responsible property investing because of its potential social and environmental benefits. We used data from the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) and Walk Score to examine the effects of walkability on the market value and annual investment returns of nearly 11,000 office, apartment, retail and industrial properties over the past decade in the USA. We find that, all else being equal, the benefits of walkability are capitalized into office, retail, apartment and industrial property values with more walkable sites commanding higher property values. On a 100 point scale, a 10 point increase in walkability…