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NOTE: This is an archived page - click here to view the current edition of In Focus In Focus
October 2008 - Transit-Oriented Development

Photo courtesy of Cahill Contractors, Inc.

In the Toolbox

This issue of In Focus features transit-oriented development (TOD), which describes a mix of homes, businesses and civic uses clustered near public transportation, offering residents proximity to jobs, schools, cultural activities, and basic services. TOD works best when land-use and transportation policies are coordinated to encourage higher density development and a mix of land uses within close proximity to a transit station or hub. Well-designed transit-oriented development can increase the ability for people to walk or bike to work and provide alternatives to automobiles, thus improving air quality and reducing household transportation expenses.

Studies estimate that the demand for homes in transit-oriented developments is likely to double as a result of demographic changes in the U.S. population, an estimate figured well before the recent surge in gas prices, which could further increase demand. As demand for homes near transit grows, it is important to ensure that a supply of those homes remain affordable for working families. The In Focus series, Six Housing Policies for a World of High Energy Costs, features strategies to help preserve affordable housing near public transit and ensure that newly built housing is also affordable to low and moderate income households.

Learn More About Transit-Oriented Development

"Out Loud" Podcast's monthly Out Loud podcast series focuses on noteworthy housing policy solutions being implemented at the state and local levels. In this month's podcast we hear from Shelley Poticha, President and CEO of Reconnecting America. Reconnecting America is a national non-profit organization that works to integrate transportation systems and the communities they serve, with the goals of generating lasting public and private returns, improving economic and environmental efficiency, and giving consumers greater choice.

In this podcast, Poticha discusses the importance of policies and programs to ensure homes near transit are affordable for families of all incomes.

Listen To The Podcast

Solutions in Action

Minnesota Housing, the state housing finance agency, administers a land acquisition initiative called Land Acquisition for Affordable New Development (LAAND) that provides four million dollars in loans to help communities meet their affordable housing needs. Under the LAAND program, Minnesota Housing, in partnership with the Metropolitan Council and Family Housing Fund, provides grants to local governments and non-profit developers through a request for proposals (RFP) process that prioritizes development that: takes place on sites near growing jobs centers or areas with existing lower-wage jobs, allows for density that is consistent with achieving affordability, minimizes vehicle miles traveled, and meets the state's green building standards. This funding provides incentives for the development of affordable housing projects that provide opportunities for working families to live in homes near transit and other amenities, facilitating the reduction of household transportation costs.

Read More About This Solution

What's Your Story?

The November issue of In Focus will focus on efforts at the state and local levels to stabilize neighborhoods affected by large numbers of foreclosures. Under the recently passed Housing and Economic Recovery Act, Congress has appropriated $3.9 billion to be allocated to states and localities across the country to acquire, maintain and/or rehabilitate foreclosed properties and bring them back to productive use.

Do you have any examples of promising programs or services that are used to promote neighborhood stabilization among communities affected by foreclosures? Has your community formed a neighborhood stabilization task force or other group to promote and implement these programs and services? What are some of the most pressing challenges your community has overcome in order to prevent community decline related to foreclosures and property abandonment?

Share Your Story!


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New Website on Neighborhood Stabilization

NeighborWorks America has developed a new website as part of its Stable Communities initiative- a national response to the local challenges of vacant or abandoned properties- to provide community development practitioners with information and strategies to stabilize and revitalize communities in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. The website,, provides resources to nonprofit organizations and their public and private partners, including state and local governments, rehab contractors, researchers, funders, and servicers.

Visit The Website

Featured Gallery Entry:
Museum Place, Portland, OR

Photo courtesy of ULI Development Case Studies

September 2008 --
In Focus: Inclusionary Zoning
August 2008 -- In Focus:  Rental Housing Preservation
July 2008-- In Focus: Shared Equity Homeownership
June 2008 -- In Focus: Green Affordable Housing -- This issue of In Focus kicked off a series of Six Housing Policies for a World of High Energy Costs
May 2008 -- In Focus: Foreclosure Prevention
April 2008 -- In Focus: Employer-Assisted Housing
February 2008
-- was launched in January 2008 as part of Housing Solutions Week. Click here to view materials from the week.