not blocking the sun


See what we are doing as reflected in the press!

June 9, 2016 – “Preserving Lehigh County farms sprouts intense debate,” read article

June 9, 2016 – “Pushing for farmland preservation in the Lehigh Valley,” read article

May 24, 2015 – “Some municipalities keeping development at bay,”  watch WFMZ video coverage

May 23, 2016 – “Little progress made in preserving farmland in Lehigh County,” watch WFMZ video coverage

May 12, 2016 – “Lehigh County encouraged to preserve more farmland,” read article 

May 5, 2016 – “Poll: Most Lehigh Valley voters would support tax hike to preserve farmland,” read article

April 26, 2016 – “Renew Lehigh Valley holds talks on growing the local food economy,” read article

March 7, 2016 – “LVB: Easement could hurt farmer’s ability to borrow,” read article 

Feb. 26, 2016 – “Andrew Wagaman: Lehigh Valley needs to do more to meet farmland preservation goals, panel says,” read article 

Feb. 8, 2016 – “Wally Ely: Lehigh Valley shouldn’t miss the next train, ” read article

Jan. 6, 2016 – “Joyce Marin and Julie Thomases: Looking ahead to smarter growth, planning for Lehigh Valley,” read article

Dec. 27, 2015 – “Alan Jennings: Valley’s blossoming but there’s work to be done,” read article


In Review : 2015

This year has been a landmark year for RenewLV.   On Dec. 4th at RenewLV’s Summit for Smart Growth, Joe McHugh, Senior VP of Amtrak and Allentown native, sat down with leaders for a deep dive about bringing passenger rail to the Lehigh Valley.  Mr. McHugh said that if all went well, passenger rail could be restored by 2020.   He also stated that we could take an Amtrak excursion train on a Saturday or Sunday from Allentown to New York City as early as this spring.

The press and enthusiasm supporting passenger rail has been remarkable!  Through social media, we asked “Do you support re-establishing passenger rail between the Lehigh Valley and NYC?”  Almost 110,000 people have seen this poll.  The reponse has been overwhelmingly supportive.   If you have not already done so, please take the time to please join the over 600 hundred in responding to survey,

Additional RenewLV 2015 successes include:

  • Hosting six food related events to catalyzed the creation of the Lehigh Valley Food Council to grow our local food economy and eliminate food insecurity.  Six more events to come in 2016!
  • Highlighted the urgent need for Farmland Preservation through urging county commissioners to allocate $500,000 toward Farmland Preservation in Lehigh County.
  • Gathered hundreds of community leaders, entrepreneurs, employers and farmers into the same room where connections were made, ideas were born and solutions were crafted.  As a result, interest in establishing food hubs is breaking out in neighborhoods all over the Lehigh Valley.

Change is in the air and on the ground!  We are at a crucial juncture–we need your help to keep the forward momentum and support our ongoing work as a catalyst for change in 2016.  We hope you will help us make a difference and donate now.

 3rd Annual Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities 

The 2015 Summit for Smart Growth was a booming success!  The event brought together almost 2oo community members and leaders committed to forwarding a Smart Growth agenda in the Lehigh Valley.  Here is just some of the amazing attention drawn to to our core initiatives.

  • To date, almost 17,863 people have viewed RenewLV’s Facebook post summarizing the passenger rail Summit Table Talk and 1,650 people watched our YouTube video of Allentown’s Mayor Pawlowski announcing Amtrak’s offer to test passenger rail from the Lehigh Valley to New York.
  • We created a yes/no survey asking, “Do you support re-establishing passenger rail between the Lehigh Valley and NYC?”Almost 112,500 people saw the poll and more than 3,000 have responded. The results are resoundingly positive – only seven people “voted” no.
  • The media responded to your fervent interest. The Morning Call,, Lehigh Valley Liveand Lehigh Valley Business reported on the news announced in our video.
  • As a result of these meetings and the Summit, the Lehigh Valley Food Policy council was launched and the food hub idea is moving from idea to action.


Packed room for 3rd Annual Summit for Smart Growth

October 2015 Farmland Preservation Highlighted in Morning Call 

Oct. 13, 2015 – “Thomases and Beitler: Lehigh County has chance to boost farmland preservation,” read Morning Call article

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Lehigh County is considering contributing $500,379 to its farmland preservation program, which, when combined with state funds, could result in having more than $2 million available for land conservation. (Morning Call File Photo)


Dec. 22, 2014 – “Joyce Marin: What’s next step in planning Lehigh Valley’s future,” read Morning Call article

Aug. 14, 2014 – “Joyce Marin and Michelle Diaz: Eating locally grown food benefits our health and region’s economy.”  Read the article

The Lehigh County community garden in Jordan Creek Parkway, South Whitehall Township, is one of about three dozen such public gardens in the Lehigh Valley. (Donna Fisher, Morning Call File Photo)


Jan. 21, 2014 – Take the EnvisionLV Sustainability Challenge from Joyce and the Morning Call

Jan. 5, 2014 – Can Boston’s revival serve as a “How-to Guide” for revival in the Lehigh Valley-Read the article


November Newsletter- November 2013 Envision Newsletter

A closer look at Renew Lehigh Valley – Read the article

State of the Lehigh Valley Report Findings – Read the article

Job Growth Lagging, State of the Lehigh Valley Report – Read the article

Lehigh County Authority Would Serve Allentown Water System Well– Op-ed From the RenewLV Board- Read the article


Slate Belt leaders offer collective views for area’s future – Read the article

Coalition asks people to help shape the Lehigh Valley’s future – Read the article

Envision LV looks to the Lehigh Valley’s future – Read the article

Envision Lehigh Valley on Lehigh Valley Discourse – Read the article


Smart Growth America, Septic Tanks and Development Policy – Read the article

The Morning Call, Planners’ Dream: Adjoining Neighborhoods – Read the article

Lehigh Valley Live, Water Tainted by Fracking Dumped Into Delaware River Tributary – Read the article


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Like urban planning books? Join the Smart Growth Discussion Book Club

Do you have opinions about urbanism, smart growth and public policy that supports sustainability and equity? We gather regularly to discuss relevant community issues at the Coffee House Without Limits in Allentown! Come make friends, drink coffee and explore ideas that will improve our communities such as: zoning, gentrification, air quality and more.

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Make friends, discuss civic activism, new urbanism, smart growth, making a difference, and anything on your mind about your neighborhood or regional growth. Come make your voice heard!

If you are reading a really interesting book and want to propose it for future discussions please contact us: or call 484.893.1060.

The Coffee House Without Limits in Allentown!

Moving Ideas to Action

4th Annual Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities
"Our Towns, Our Farms, Our Future"

Our 4th Annual Summit for Smart Growth was a huge success! We focused on social entrepreneurship and how to make sustainability legal. Check out the coverage of our event by The Morning Call here

SoCap and Ben Price of CELDF.

Last year on December 9th, 2016, almost 200 community leaders and concerned citizens gathered at the Renaissance Hotel in Allentown for RenewLV's fourth annual Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities to discuss social entrepreneurship and how to make sustainability legal. We also held table discussions that covered topics such as strategies for land preservation, community revitalization and municipal cooperation.

At last year's Summit, we asked the questions:

•How do you balance what appears to be competing interests: Doing good and making money?

•How does overbearing local, state or federal laws prevent us from preserving quality of life and/or supporting smart growth?

•How do we achieve local self-determination without giving up some of the laudable goals of regulations intended to provide quality of life and prosperity for all?

A big thank-you to all of the Summit for Smart Growth sponsors who contributed to last year's discussion! You made this event possible!

Mountain View

Report Highlights Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Renew Lehigh Valley has often noted the benefits of smart growth development for municipalities, including cost savings. A new report by Smart Growth America details the benefits for municipalities realized through smart growth development. Read the full report here.

Watch the Envision Lehigh Valley Virtual Meeting

RenewLV and our partners at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, the City of Allentown, the City of Bethlehem, and the City of Easton held a one-of-a-kind virtual public meeting for Envision Lehigh Valley. 100 participants logged in through a live video feed, Facebook, Twitter, and live chat. Missed the meeting? View the full recording on YouTube here