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New Updates on SCRC - 08/08/2012



Developed by the Office of Policy Development and Research in partnership with HUD’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities (OSHC), the Sustainable Communities Resource Center (SCRC) is a section of dedicated to providing you with information that supports local and regional strategies, with an emphasis on sustainable housing and planning.

New on SCRC

Grantee Spotlight: Honolulu’s Transit-Oriented Housing Strategy
Honolulu County occupies 601 square miles along the southeastern shore of Oahu and with 953,207 residents, or 70 percent of the state’s total population, it is the most densely populated part of Hawai’i. The tourism industry accounts for more than 17.4 percent of total employment; in 2011, visitors poured more than $12.5 billion into the state's economy. In part because of its desirability as a tourist destination — coupled with its popularity as a second-home market — Honolulu also has the third-highest cost of living of all U.S. cities. Most of the affordable, recently built single-family homes are situated on the west side of town, whereas most jobs are located to the east in Waikiki. A single overburdened highway connects the two areas; this year, Honolulu had the highest traffic congestion in the United States. To help address these challenges, the city and county of Honolulu secured a $2,383,424 Community Challenge Planning Grant in October 2010. Working with a consortium of for-profit and nonprofit developers, community organizations, and public agencies, the city and county of Honolulu will use the grant to develop a transit-oriented housing strategy focused on increasing the number of new and renovated affordable housing units and boosting investment around Honolulu's future rail line. Read More

Study Confirms Energy Savings in Multifamily Building Retrofits
A recent study sponsored by the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and Living Cities could result in changes to the energy-efficiency retrofits market. “Recognizing the Benefits of Energy Efficiency” is a comprehensive effort to quantify the benefits of energy efficiency retrofits in multifamily housing. The study provides empirical data on energy consumption before and after building retrofits, filling the void where the absence of evidence has stifled demand among owners and kept lenders from creating loan products to finance the cost of building improvements. In addition to illustrating how building retrofits can save energy, the study provides a framework for incorporating energy savings into lenders’ underwriting standards. Read More

Mixed-Use, Transit-Oriented Development in Arlington, Virginia
It took only 90 days to lease all 90 affordable housing units at The Jordan, a development in Arlington, Virginia, completed in August 2011 by AHC Incorporated (AHC). The development, composed of 17 one-bedroom, 68 two-bedroom, and 5 three-bedroom apartments, is located about 4 blocks from the Ballston Metro station. In addition, the complex is equipped with a library, a community room, a landscaped courtyard with a play fountain for children, and underground parking. The Jordan is part of a mixed-use development that includes two office buildings (each about 225,000 square feet) with ground-floor retail and a nearby parcel where 28 market-rate townhouses will be built. Read More


 Dedicated Paths and Lanes: Their Influence on Bike Commuting

Feature Story

Dedicated Paths and Lanes: Their Influence on Bike Commuting
In recent years, cities across the country have addressed the need for cycling infrastructure in various ways. Some cities, such as New York and Chicago, have added on-street bike lanes. Others have added cycling paths or off-street multimodal trails that cyclists share with pedestrians, runners, and in-line skaters.

A recent study published in the journal Transportation examined bike commuting in 90 of the largest American cities and the influence that bike paths and lanes have on commuter cycling rates. The study, conducted by Ralph Buehler of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and John Pucher of Rutgers University, found that cities with more bike paths and lanes have significantly higher rates of bike commuting, even when factors that influence cycling rates – such as weather, cycling safety, degree of sprawl, and the price of gasoline – are taken into account. This study assesses bike lanes and paths separately to determine how the different types of cycling infrastructure influence commuter cycling behavior. Read More

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