By Judy Newman
Throughout the United States, housing and commercial construction have slowed to a crawl, as banks have tightened lending and consumers have cut back on spending.
Construction spending nationwide hit a 10-year low of $805 billion in July, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Public Food Markets Enhance the Quality of Life in a Community
Early in the country’s history, Americans bought much of the food they didn’t grow themselves from local farmers at public markets that were a focal point of their communities. Many of those markets faded away in the last century, but now public markets are roaring back.
After the residents of Damariscotta, Maine, blocked development of an 187,000-square-foot Walmart in 2006, the town with roughly 2,000 year-round residents was left battered and divided. It also faced a “What now?” dilemma.
Is a city appealing because it’s prosperous or is it prosperous because it’s appealing?
That may sound like a chicken-or-egg question, but in this case, there’s a right answer — or at least a growing awareness that creating vibrant public spaces is a winning economic strategy.
As a report by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) points out, place has always mattered. The first cities, after all, emerged because people gathered at crossroads, creating lively hubs to exchange goods and ideas.
There was a time when the term “economic development,” as used by most public officials and business leaders, referred to the practice of luring firms and jobs to a jurisdiction by selling companies on the benefits of that community — such as favorable tax rates — and providing monetary incentives to locate there. Now, communities increasingly are realizing that the quality of the places within the community are playing a larger role in today’s economic decisions.
The United States Census Bureau’s highly anticipated release of the 2010 data has those with an interest in the housing industry pouring over the data, analyzing demographics, reviewing numbers and scrutinizing the numbers for trends.
The Richmond Association of REALTORS® (RAR) is no exception. The RAR is working with its regional and state partners, as well as some housing nonprofits, to collaborate on any analyses and studies that can help line up housing with needs, said Richmond Association of REALTORS® Chief Executive Officer Laura Lafayette.