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Mapping Out a Vision for Smart Growth « The Washington Independent

Via Rooflines, the blog of the National Housing Institute, here’s a way to think about using money from the stimulus package to encourage smart growth and transit. It’s courtesy of the National Resources Defense Council, which has created a map with that details 70 communities that could be transformed into more livable, sustainable places, if development happens in a careful and forward-thinking way.

That’s the big challenge of infrastructure and other spending in whatever stimulus spending comes to be. Don’t just build a highway to the exurb. Transform the exurb itself into a walkable, liveable community with a town center and a reason for being. From the NRDC:

We have created a map of the United States featuring 70 locations across the country that are ripe for transformative change. Open the map, zoom in on a location and, without leaving our Web site, you will be shown a Google Maps satellite view of the existing site, given some context about the metro area, and be treated to a brief slide show demonstrating how each can be converted, step-by-step, from sprawl, vacant property or disinvestment into a lively, beautiful neighborhood.

The stimulus package will present a once in a generation opportunity to get things right, when it comes to community development. Groups like the NRDC and other housing and planning advocates are going to have to fight hard to get their ideas heard, and this map is a great start.

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