City leaders, real estate agents discuss "smart growth" in South Bend

The city of South Bend is on the brink of expansion, that's the word from Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

On Tuesday, nearly 100 real estate agents, city leaders and architecture students from local colleges gathered to discuss ways of growing South Bend right.

At its core, the city is praised for maintaining affordable housing. Additionally there's an enjoyable range of housing styles and options, in a community with university benefits via Notre Dame and IU South Bend.

Those are at least the thoughts of Nathan Norris, a nationally recognized expert of "urbanism.” The slightly ambiguous word most pointedly described as: "the physical needs of urban societies."

Norris says high-achieving school districts and low crime rates are a key component for community success, often trumping the quality of actual properties.

Norris also suggests cities create “gems” within their downtown district to lure people away from locations like Grape Road or the University Park Mall.

"The Eddy Street Commons project, I was particularly impressed with. It is one of the better examples nationally of how to integrate retail, commercial and shopping along with condos and townhouses. So I think it's a wonderful project to emulate," Norris said.

"We’re a city that's poised for a lot of growth. One of the things we've got to do is grow it right. One of the things we've got to do is think about it at the beginning of this new chapter in economic history instead of when it's too late,” Mayor Buttigieg added.
Part of that new chapter must include the retention of young-innovative minds. Currently, there’s a strong belief that too many high school and college graduate leave the region, returning only for the holidays or Notre Dame football weekends.

“We’ve got a national expert working together with our community investment department. We've also got realtors and students in there. They're all exchanging ideas about how South Bend is going to grow in the new century in a way that makes sense so this is an inviting and efficient place for people to live, work and play,” Mayor Buttigieg concluded.

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