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On Common Ground

A free, semi-annual magazine published by NAR, On Common Ground presents a wide range of views on smart growth issues, with the goal of encouraging dialog among REALTORS®, elected officials, and other interested citizens.

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June 7, 2013
Although far from the high-priced big cities, rural communities and small towns have their own challenges in providing affordable housing options. Now, leadership in small towns and rural areas is moving ahead on innovative ways to provide affordable housing opportunities.
Topics: Smart Growth
June 7, 2013
Small cities and towns are forever being buffeted by the winds of fate. When they are the collection and distribution centers for rural areas, the agricultural economy — changeable as the wind itself — governs all. As a gateway to recreational areas they may fail along with the latest resort to go under, or struggle to maintain their character amid an onslaught of second homes and chain-store commerce. If they are within a longish commute to a major metro area, traffic and sprawl may arrive to swamp a formerly bucolic retreat. Adding to the difficulty, for many years state governments delivered much of their intended economic help in the form of highway by-passes, which often as not drew economic activity away from town centers so that they were by-passed in all senses of the word.
Topics: Smart Growth
June 7, 2013
Since the financial downturn, stories of cities in distress have littered the news. That’s why the smart growth of a small town like Jena, La., is so striking.
Topics: Smart Growth
June 7, 2013
A decade has passed since the federal government earmarked funds for a bridge in Grand Traverse County, Mich. Although it will never carry any traffic, the bridge is complete. But instead of a steel span across the Boardman River as originally planned, it’s a concept called the Grand Vision that connects six neighboring counties to their future.
Topics: Smart Growth
June 7, 2013
From the Arkansas Delta to the wine country of southeastern Washington State and beyond, rural regions around the country are conserving, rehabilitating and developing cultural and historic assets to fuel economic development.
Dubbed “heritage-based development,” the goal is to build sustainable communities and strengthen regional economies by promoting farmsteads, buildings, districts and landscapes, as well as local arts, crafts, music, food and events.
Topics: Smart Growth

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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.