Translation Papers

Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities

No. 1, December 1999, 8 pages; No. 2, June 2000, 12 pages; No. 3, June 2000, 12 pages. Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, Collins Center for Public Policy, 150 SE Second Avenue, Suite 709, Miami, Florida 33131, 305-377-4484

The Funders' Network Translation Papers examine the impact of urban sprawl in different topic areas and identify opportunities for improvement through smarter growth policies and practices. Papers are commissioned from experts in the fields examined in collaboration with Funders' Network staff. The well-documented papers follow a useful format that first defines the specific relationship between the topic and smart growth practices and then outlines concrete actions that interested funders might undertake in an "Opportunities for Funders" section.

Translation Paper No. 1, Social Equity and the Smart Growth Movement, written by Angela Grover Blackwell and Heather McColloch of PolicyLink, describes the implications of urban sprawl from the perspective of social equity and makes a convincing case for the role that grantmakers might take in supporting initiatives furthering a combined social equity/smart growth agenda.

Paper No. 2, Workforce Development and Smart Growth, by Greg LeRoy and Sara Hinkley of Good Jobs First! (a program of the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy), examines the inter-relationship between urban sprawl, poverty, workforce development, and unemployment. Here, grantmakers are challenged to support research initiatives that quantify job creation generated by smart growth policies and that create a fuller picture of the historic geography of economic development spending.

Possibly of greatest interest to arts grantmakers is No. 3, Parks, Greenspace and Land Conservation, by Kathleen Blaha of the Trust for Public Land and Peter Harnik. The vocabulary of urban design provides a natural link between the smart growth perspective and the development of urban parks and open spaces, making this perhaps the most compelling of the three papers published to date.

The case for parks and open spaces is easily made and substantive examples of participation by grantmakers in park development and renovation are documented. Funding opportunities include supporting demonstration projects that advance strategic use of parks and open space, exploring the relationship between parks and ecological sustainability, and researching the economic impact of urban parks. Noticeably absent, however, is mention of the arts and spaces for the presentation of the arts in parks. This could include both features of recognized historic importance and ones that provide new opportunities for innovative participation.

In preparation are papers that consider the impact of "smart growth" on civic engagement, transportation, and agriculture.

Review by Tommer Peterson, Grantmakers in the Arts