Tuesday, June 22, 2010

DOT & HUD to Give $75 Million for Sustainable Communities

Get your grant writing pens ready, folks. (Shameless plug alert: or you can just call this guy.)

There's a brand spankin' new joint agency grant program designed to create sustainable communities. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have teamed up to leverage the agencies' transportation, land use, housing and community development resources to provide communities with funding to build more livable, sustainable places.

The new grant program stems from a recently announced interagency collaboration between the DOT, HUD and the EPA, known as the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The Partnership is built on six Livability Principles:

1. Provide more transportation choices.
Develop safe, reliable and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote public health.

2. Promote equitable, affordable housing.
Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.

3. Enhance economic competitiveness.
Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers as well as expanded business access to markets.

4. Support existing communities.
Target federal funding toward existing communities – through such strategies as transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling – to increase community revitalization, improve the efficiency of public works investments, and safeguard rural landscapes.

5. Coordinate policies and leverage investment.
Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.

6. Value communities and neighborhoods.
Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe and walkable neighborhoods – rural, urban or suburban.

Here are a few of our best thoughts on sustainable communities, placemaking and market based redevelopment:

Sustainable Suburbs: From Drivable Suburbanism to Walkable Urbanism

Walkability: The Key to Sustainable Suburbs

Redevelopment Revolution: Market Based Solutions

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sustainable Suburbs: From Drivable Suburbanism to Walkable Urbanism

In this information-packed presentation below, Jim Houk, co-founder of architecture and planning firm, Bird Houk Collaborative (now a division of OHM) shares best practices in suburban redevelopment – creating suburban sustainability.

Jim, a certified planner and market-based redevelopment expert, reviews the history of town planning, current social, demographic and psychographic trends, and shares best practices in making places better for people.

What is suburban sustainability? It’s the sweet spot where people/lifestyle, the planet, and economic prosperity intersect.

I don’t know about you, but sounds like a great place to me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Green Stormwater: LID with GIS

Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) are rapidly evolving and gaining significant popularity as a method to fight non-point source pollution. But knowing where to place BMPs in the ground to effectively treat stormwater can be tricky.

By using GIS, you can review several environmental variables such as BMP location, size, and mitigated runoff volume. And by analyzing orthoimagery, DEMs, existing infrastructure, soils, and right-of-way, users within organizations can more efficiently and effectively plan and optimize their BMPs.

Often BMP placement is determined on a site-by-site basis. Using GIS and existing spatial datasets allow you to evaluate many sites and perform large scale planning efforts to get the most out of each BMP location. Effective planning at the local or watershed scale will make it easier to prioritize BMPs.

In this presentation delivered at an ESRI User Conference, GIS analyst and Environmental Planner Scott Kaiser, GISP, CFM, describes the step-by-step methods used to plan and choose stormwater BMPs with GIS.

Scott Kaiser is the green stormwater guru. A GIS Analyst and Environmental Planner with OHM, Scott has more than eight years experience in GIS, focusing on water protection.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Testing Feedburner Updates

This post is to test Feedburner updates. Did you recieve an email notifying you of a new post from OHM Advancing Communities?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sizing Water Storage Tanks

The blackout of '03 made municipal water storage a serious issue. Even though the blackout itself is a distant memory, public works directors and water system personnel continue to grapple with how to maintain enough storage in community distribution systems. Luckily, a general rule of thumb can be applied that combines best practices and regulations in a simple formula.

Determining Distribution Storage Needs (Opflow) author Murat Ulasir, PhD, PE, explains that while most community decisions regarding storage amounts are driven by regulatory standards, engineering judgments, community need and financial capacity, the two most important factors are:

-Functional design considerations.

Regulations establish minimum storage capacity based on average daily consumption, peak demands and whether the community provides fire protection.

Functional design considerations include three basic design components:

-Equalization or supply volume (supply volume)
-Fire protection volume (fire volume)
-Volume for other emergencies, such as power outages or water main breaks in supply lines (reserve volume).

For more details on calculating water storage volume, including a handy rule of thumb calculation, read the rest of the how-to article from Opflow magazine: