The healthier a community, the better the environment for REALTORS®. Keeping a community attractive, livable and functioning well is a complex task. Who better to be stewards of their community than REALTORS®? Whether your community is grappling with transportation and land use issues, crowded schools or open space, or working to bring vacant properties back to productive use, NAR's Smart Growth program has resources to help your association plant seeds that will pay dividends for your members for years to come.
NAR offers many Smart Growth resources and programs specifically for association staff, including grants, issue research and assistance, publications and polling and surveys. Learn about these programs by exploring this section!
When the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, environmental concerns focused primarily on addressing the pollution of air and water. Over the decades since then, the scope of environmental issues has expanded to include energy conservation, rising sea levels, extreme weather events, farmland preservation, and the multiple benefits to land, water, and air that come from reducing sprawl and providing alternative transportation options. In this issue of On Common Ground, we provide an overview of this wider range of environmental issues our communities — and property owners — will face in the future.
Strong metropolitan markets are experiencing the beginning of what portends to be a major trend for decades — the redevelopment of well-located, low-density suburbs into more intense mixed-use communities. Older shopping centers, with their acres of underused parking lots, are ripe for this type of development; and a location near public transportation is increasingly seen as a needed ingredient for success. As reflected in several articles in this issue, the digital world is bringing new ways of doing things to real estate development.
America's history is a testament to the unique joys of living in small communities like the neighborly connection and sense of community often missing in larger metropolitan areas. Across the country, community leaders are joining together to bring new life back to small towns. They are doing it by focusing on smart growth that highlights the existing assets of a community — its history, culture and landscape — or by creating a new source of vitality, such as by encouraging artists to flourish or by undertaking creative placemaking.
How we move around is undergoing a big shift. Travel by car has reached a saturation point, as evidenced by the leveling off of miles driven, and alternatives such as public transit and bicycles are attracting larger shares of the traveling public. This issue of On Common Ground explores the transportation future.
Housing and community choices are being made by two major demographic groups - Baby Boomers and Millennials. This issue discusses the housing, community and transportation choices that will be made by these groups as well as those of Generation X. The best community is one that works for people of all ages.
For those trying to buy a home, more stringent lending standards and higher down payment requirements are making it difficult for moderate-income families to become homeowners. And a greater demand for rental housing has made rents unaffordable for many lower-income and working families.
The opinions expressed in On Common Ground are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policy of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, its members or affiliate organizations.