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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities - Michael Hancox EPISODE 60
Is the Smart-Growth Movement at an Inflection Point?
00:00:00 00:21:06

Is the Smart-Growth Movement at an Inflection Point?


Sustainability and Economic Opportunity and Inclusion

In This Episode:

[01:24] Co-host Kif Scheuer is introduced.

[01:32] Julie Seward is introduced.

[01:40] Julie shares how she became interested in working in resiliency, sustainability, and community equity.

[03:14] Julie describes the biggest successes and the biggest challenges in the smart-growth movement.

[05:23] Julie speaks about the subtopics and interconnected terms of the smart-growth movement and if there’s confusion for the public.

[06:47] Julie comments on who is involved in the smart-growth movement and the roles they play.

[08:28] Julie addresses challenging issues that go beyond jurisdictional boundaries.

[10:41] Julie states how to weave together thriving-economy areas and non-thriving-economy areas of the country.

[14:37] Kif mentions the economic imbalance of coastal urban areas, valuable resources we have under a stressed climate, and the “makers and takers” of the environment.

[15:35] Julie expresses her thoughts on the future leaders who may be able to help shape the future

[16:50] Mike adds to the discussion his opinion that the biggest need is for people to have equitable opportunity to participate in the economy.

[18:29] Julie responds with her perspective on economic inclusion, urban economies, and the inflection point.


Kif Scheuer joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.…


Julie Seward is the Principal of Julia Seward Consulting. Julie is skilled at building the foundation for long-term initiatives and transforming strategies into actions. Her consulting work often involves finding solutions and promoting common goals and collaboration among highly diverse stakeholders. Julie’s particular areas of interest and experience include building sustainable communities through smart growth; creating and integrating state policy partnerships; and planning and orchestrating conferences and meetings that produce innovative outcomes.


Julia Seward Consulting provides strategic planning, project management and implementation, and facilitation to national organizations, local, state, and regional governing bodies, community based organizations, foundations and consulting firms.

Take Away Quotes:

“The biggest success in the smart-growth movement, in fact, is there is a smart-growth movement that is understood, and smart growth is now a fairly accepted frame of reference for people. If you had asked people a decade ago what that means, certainly there are a core of people who would understand that, but many people would not have. I think there’s huge success and the…people that are involved in smart growth should really claim great credit for having really created something that has become a common word for people in the United States. Sustainability is now a part, I think, of the way most people think about the work they do—certainly not that way a decade ago—so I think in some ways that’s the greatest success is it’s become an integral part of the way people think about their lives.”

“Well, I think sometimes we even confuse ourselves. Yeah, I think in many people’s minds they [the interconnected terms of smart growth] are the same thing. I think that people assume that if you are a smart place, you are a resilient place, and that means not only do you deal with some type of disaster well but also do you deal with the stresses that are inside your communities. So, in my mind, I guess, when I hear the word resilience, I love the word itself—I think it sort of says what it is—but how that gets connected into and used in the same context of smart, I don’t think we clearly know. But many people would say smart growth is no longer, perhaps, the best way to describe what we’re about. So maybe resilience is becoming the way we describe that work in the future.”

“Equity is sort of a word that, as my father would have said, you can drive a truck through; it means many different things to many different people. But I think that people that are trying to work around equity issues now, a lot of that conversation is moving toward economic inclusion as a way they like to think about equity as we move forward. And to me there’s a great connector between that and sustainability and resilience, and how that’s something that is afforded to everyone and is that something that, in fact, can apply to all communities in an equitable way, because when you’re thinking about equity or economic inclusion, it’s just not about individuals; it really is about cities and towns…so that whole concept, I think, of economic inclusion becomes something that could, well, potentially certainly could cover a lot of that work that’s going on among all those actors.”


2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Local Government Commission


Thanks so much for joining us. Have some feedback or an idea you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below.

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