Norquist Speaks at Smart Growth Summit

John Norquist, President and CEO of CNU, was a keynote speaker at this year's Smart Growth Summit in Melville, New York, on Friday November 18th.  The Summit included a series of workshops and lectures highlighting the benefits of Smart Growth developments.  Under the theme of "Crisis and Opportunity: Placemaking in a Time of Economic Uncertainty," panelists debated best practices of community design for livability and economic revival.

Norquist spoke about federal improvements to housing and transportation that could help finance Smart Growth projects in Long Island’s downtowns.  The demand for mixed-use development has been steadily increasing, but current federal regulations prevent mixed-use developers from moving in to help revitalize blighted downtown areas.  Reform of the FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD is critical for the expansion of mixed-use city centers.  By using an interconnected street grid to spread traffic and land-use, small businesses can gain a foothold and residents are provided with social gathering space.  Norquist emphasized the need to bring people back into the downtown areas for regional economic revival.  Long Island has already gotten its start: nearly 5,000 units of transit-adjacent housing have been approved in the last five years with another 5,000 currently under review.  Millions of dollars in infrastructure investment for downtowns, corridors, and new town centers has been approved.

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