Archive: May 2012

  1. May Revision and the Redevelopment Dissolution Clean-Up

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    On May 14th Governor Brown released the revised state budget for 2012-13. You probably already know that the state’s predicted deficit has ballooned to $15.7 billion (up from the $9.2 billion estimate in the January budget). And you’ve also probably heard that the budget is relying on an estimated $818 million dollars in property tax revenues as a result of the shuttering of the state’s redevelopment agencies. (more…)

  2. Small Business Innovations

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    May 20-26 is national small business week. Here in California the news about the economy – and small businesses in particular – is a mixed bag.

    The good: the statewide unemployment rate has dipped below 11%.

    The bad: the state shed over 4,000 jobs last month.

    And the ugly: the state deficit has now soared to nearly $16 billion.

    But what does this mean for small businesses in the state? (more…)

  3. Are Transit Improvements Leaving Some People Behind?

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    Denver is currently undergoing a massive expansion of its transportation infrastructure. The region’s “FasTracks” Program is set to add 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail and 18 miles of bus rapid transit.

    Communities throughout the Denver region are hoping that new rail lines will encourage a slew of mixed-use, transit-oriented development around the new stations. While this is often touted as a means to revitalize our urban centers and make cities more sustainable, there is often little thought given to who accrues the benefits of upgraded transportation infrastructure. (more…)

  4. Food, Sustainability, and Microenterprise

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    In our February newsletter we highlighted some of the ongoing efforts taking place in the food access and food justice movements. Although there is still much work to be done before our food systems become more equitable, there are several initiatives that provide incentives for grocery stores to locate in food desert communities. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of urban farms and community gardens in low-income communities – so we’re moving in the right direction. (more…)

  5. “Short Term Action, Long Term Change”

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    In an era of shrinking budgets and fewer resources, tactical urbanism emerges as a way of incrementally improving the urban landscape by implementing cost-effective, small-scale projects.

    In general, tactical urbanism projects are community minded and have realistic end goals. They range from parking lot-to-parks projects, yarn bombing, to a nationwide Park(ing) Day.

    These tactics can be easily replicated in other cities, as seen in the recent release of Tactical Urbanism 2: Short Term Action, Long Term Change. The free guidebook includes 12 new popular tactical interventions, including park making, ad busting, and reclaimed setbacks. The Street Plans Collaborative is the planning, advocacy and design firm behind the guidebook.

  6. SoCal’s Urban Ocean in 2050

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    Southern Californians love their beaches. Residents swim, surf, snorkel, scuba dive, and spend many a leisurely hour enjoying the Pacific Coast. Aside from the recreational fun, Southern California’s coast is also an economic engine. It is home to the two largest container ports in the nation that collectively provide thousands of jobs for people throughout the Los Angeles region. (more…)

  7. LA County General Plan Update

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    Los Angeles County’s draft general plan update has been released.

    The County’s Department of Regional Planning recently unveiled the 900-page document, which lays out new policies and plans. The update is designed to reflect the expected needs of the county based on the anticipated growth in coming decades.

    Some of the major policy highlights include expanding transit oriented development districts, promoting mixed-use development, expanding ecological areas, and creating employment protection districts.

    You can access the 2012 Draft General Plan 2035 here and review the text in preparation for public hearings, which will take place in the fall.

  8. UC Berkeley Students Nab APA Academic Award

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    Image from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: http://www.flickr.com/photos/berkeleylab/2826519520/sizes/o/in/photostream/

    Image from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: http://www.flickr.com/photos/berkeleylab/2826519520/sizes/o/in/photostream/

    A student report [PDF] that examines how to leverage the regional economic impact of the planned construction of a second campus of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in the East Bay of San Francisco has won the Academic Award for the 2012 California Northern Section of the American Planning Association. (more…)

  9. 10 Strategies for Attracting Development Near Transit

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    Coaxing investors to build cohesive, community-serving developments near transit isn’t an easy task. It takes coordination, political will, and lots of partnering between neighborhood stakeholders, private sector actors, and public entities.

    ELP’s Katherine Perez recently spoke about this topic at the “Lets Build Around Light Rail” event hosted by Citizens for Modern Transit in St. Louis. She outlined ten strategies for attracting development near transit, which we’ve included below. (more…)