In Thanks of Communities for All Ages

I’m excited to journey to Kansas City, MO next week to join the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) and local partners in discussing how the Kansas City region can ensure that its many diverse and remarkable communities remains places where people of all ages (and income levels) can thrive. MARC is among the country's top regional planning agencies. It's leadership on such topics as complete streets, transportation equity, and active living make it a national leader. 

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Metropolitan Planners Leaning In to Make Regions Great

Two new resources spotlight ways planners working at the regional and metropolitan level are leaning in to solve complex social, environmental and economic issues through better use of data, improved partnerships and collaboration, and a mix of innovation, tenacity and leadership. “Emerging Trends in Regional Planning*” released last month by the American Planning Association celebrates the ways that regional planning is evolving across the country with numerous examples of regions large and small tackling water and land resource issues, regional economic development and housing issues, climate change and public health issues through integrated planning strategies.  Meanwhile, Transportation For America this week released national survey results detailing how metropolitan planning organizations are developing and using transportation performance measures. Both are useful documents for learning how planners are pushing the envelope, innovating and making great regions.

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We Get What We Ask For: Why America’s Transit Experience Lags Behind

A recent study published by the Mid-Atlantic Universities Transportation Center (co-authored by Ralph Buehler, Kyle Lukacs and Mariia Zimmerman) compares two major transit regions in the US with several European counterparts. The authors found that money  -- both the lack of it and the strings attached to it -- is a key reason as to why transit in the United States isn’t better.

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Recapping the House Transportation Authorization Bill

This week the US House of Representatives did the once unthinkable and passed a six-year transportation bill. At best, the bill isn't as horrible as feared given the over 200 amendments filed to do things like eliminate transit and bike funding. In reality though, it's a missed opportunity on many levels and some of its small changes could have big impacts. On the flip side, in the same week local voters proved once more they want better transportation options and investments that prioritize people and communities.

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Regional Planning Through Local Action

An emerging trend unfolding in many regions is the decision to more strongly support local implementation of regional plans and policies through targeted technical assistance, sub-granting of federal, state and regional funds to undertake neighborhood, corridor or station area planning and more effective strategies to fund and bundle local capital improvements. It is through local action that good regional plans become reality.

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Transportation For America's Release of the Innovative MPO

MZ Strategies, LLC is excited to spread word about the upcoming webinar by Transportation for America (T4America) to celebrate the December 10th launch of their new report, "The Innovative MPO". T4America contracted with MZ Strategies to research and write the publication which features best practices and cutting edge planning by regions across the country.

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HUD Rebrands Its Sustainability Initiative around Economic Resilience

Two new updates worth spotlighting: 1) The Obama Administration has finally released its FY2014 budget proposal which includes a re-branded $75 million Integrated Planning and Implementation grant program at HUD (formerly the Sustainable Communities Initiative) ; and 2) a new State Transportation Funding Proposal tracker by T4America to help follow the evolving set of proposals by Governors and State Legislatures to ​fill the funding gap created by insufficient federal support for highways, transit, bike and rail projects.

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