"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Modern STL

Location: St. Louis, MO

Website: www.modern-stl.com

Modern STL strives for the identification, education, preservation and celebration of St. Louis modernism.

Modern STL was incorporated as Missouri non-profit corporation in September 2010. Currently Modern STL is not a federally-recognized 501(c)3 non-profit although it is in the works.

Landmarks can be born instantly, and the path of modern architecture in St. Louis is full of examples of mid-century modern works that met instant acclaim and enduring affection: the Gateway Arch, the Lambert Airport Terminal, Busch Stadium and the Planetarium in Forest Park are the esteemed top of the list.

That list of loved modern landmarks, however, is already broken. By now, Busch Stadium has been gone for a half-decade. In passing it was joined to the Coral Courts Motel, the Southtown Famous Barr Department Store, the Morton D. May House and the DeVille Motor Hotel (later the San Luis Apartments) – all landmarks loved, cherished and oh-too-easily smashed to rubble in the last twenty years.

Even those that survive don’t always get treated well: the influential, nationally-recognized Magic Chef Building by St. Louis’ Harris Armstrong is suffocating under unbecoming metal siding in use as U-Haul storage facility. Lesser works can get worse, and die unrecorded.

Certainly, we have our work cut out for us.
However, advocates of preserving St. Louis’ mid-century modern architecture are entering a golden era of public interest and awareness. We never lost the respect for the big name landmarks, so that is a factor on our side.

Another support has been the years of identification and advocacy that area historians and preservationists have done. We already have dozens of modern buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places, although the number is a drop in a bucket. Tax credits have fueled recent interest from developers, and that is a great thing.
Yet the biggest advantage we have now is time itself.

See, architectural fashion is a cyclical thing. When rows of Victorians in cities fell in the 1950s for urban renewal, many people thought they were ugly and dated. Within a decade, they were de rigueur for trendy urbanites and by now no one dares denigrate 19th century architectural art.

The age of acceptance for modern architecture is coming, because what is old will be new again. New eyes have already seen much to love in the zig-zags, streamlines, poured slabs and square tiles of the modern period.

The challenge is getting the wider public past perceptions that ranch houses are dated and “too small” or that a mid-century motel can’t be adapted to new use. Many of the arguments against preservation really are based on taste and style, since the modern-era builders of St. Louis generally built things as solidly as they did when Soulard was built out.

Time will bring things around, but the challenge is ensuring that the buildings survive as a layer of the architectural past as distinct — and as cherished — as the Second Empire and Craftsman layers we all know and love. Someday, a new generation of St. Louisans will look around this region for signs of previous periods of history. What will we leave them to find? Hopefully we will leave visible signs of the great flowering of modern architecture in the 20th century. Preservation is not a burden to us now, but a gift to the next generation.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

University of California Transportation Connection

Location: California

Website: www.ictc.net

Our consortium focuses on three themes identified by USDOT in its strategic plan—environmental sustainability, economic competitiveness, and livability—and, importantly, the connections between them.
Advancing each of these objectives is important in and of itself; however, our UTC recognizes that the three are closely inter-twined and oftentimes co-dependent. Our UTC will thus give particular attention to the synergies that can be created and cross purposes that are served when working in a coordinated fashion on all three fronts.

The choice of these three themes reflects the breadth, depth, and wealth of knowledge and research capacities found across the six core members of our consortium. There is no better intellectual environment for conducting cutting-edge research and advancing basic and applied knowledge in these areas than across the campuses of the University of California.

Our three themes are also highly relevant to the multitude of contemporary policy and technological challenges currently facing the transportation sectors of California and other southwestern states. We aim to be the “Go To” organization for federal modal administrations, California agencies, and policy-makers throughout Region 9 seeking well-informed advice, carefully designed research investigations, and rapid-response studies on these and related topics.

California is a particularly appropriate setting for focusing on the three strategic themes chosen by our consortium. Currently, California makes up 12 percent of the nation’s population and contributes to 13.3 percent of its GDP, exceeding the economic output of all of Italy. The state’s ecological footprint is also enormous.

Only the US as a whole and China consume more oil than California. Presently, the typical Californian produces 11 tons of carbon dioxide per year, nearly half coming from the transport sector, making California the world’s 12th largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The state is also home to the six smoggiest air basins in the nation.

California, however, is also internationally known as an incubator of innovation and progressive change. It has long been a national leader in enacting legislation that protects natural environments, promotes clean-fuel technologies, and shrinks the transportation sector’s carbon footprint. California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (Assembly Bill 32), passed in 2006, calls for reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

A companion bill, Senate Bill 375, specifically targets the integration of transportation and land-use systems as a tool for achieving AB 32 GHG-reduction targets. Under the bill, metropolitan areas throughout the state must introduce strategies that curb sprawl and promote less carbon-intensive built forms like transit-oriented development (TOD). Both the marketplace and public policies are responding.

Today, California has more plug-in hybrids, CNG buses, miles of High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV), Toll (HOT), and management lanes, and weekly vanpoolers than any state. What we do in California is of huge importance, not just to Californians, but also the nation and entire world.

As the gateway to the Pacific Rim, California is also a vital link in the movement of freight and goods throughout America. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the nation’s busiest.

The state’s two largest airports, LAX and SFO, rank in the top 10 of total annual enplanements. Expediting the flow of freight and materials in and out of ports in ways that promote economic growth without harming natural and built environments or disadvantaged communities poses both logistical and public-policy challenges.

Intra- and interstate commerce will only pick up if and when the planned High Speed Rail through the spine of the state gets built. Our consortium is up to the task of tackling the kinds of technological and public-policy challenges posed by large-scale infrastructure investments, now and in the future.

Below, we elaborate on the three strategic themes and the kind of attention and focus our consortium plans to give them.

Environmental sustainability is vital for creating clean, healthy, and functional cities and regions of the future. The transport of people and goods consumes nearly three-quarters of the nation’s petroleum, emits around a third of greenhouse gases, and is responsible for around half of urban air pollution.

Fossil fuel-based travel also negatively impacts air quality, water quality, and habitat quality, with serious implications for economic well-being, human health, natural ecologies, and the long-term environmental sustainability of the planet. Finding ways to shrink the sector’s ecological footprint are national, state, and local priorities.

Our consortium is well-positioned to take on these challenges. As one of the world’s preeminent loci for advanced research and education on environmental sustainability, UC campuses have provided critical knowledge and modeling tools that underpin an array of transport-related GHG-reduction policies and laws. In the case of low-carbon fuel standards,

California’s governor formally requested assistance from UC via an Executive Order to develop a policy to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. A team of UC Berkeley and UC Davis researchers carried out original scientific research and then designed a draft low-carbon fuel standard to meet a host of economic, social equity, legal, and administrative objectives. It was adopted in nearly identical form to what was recommended and is now being imitated by a large number of states and countries, including British Columbia, the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states, and the European Union.

California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) also requested UC to evaluate the design of a fee-bate program (whereby consumers pay a fee when buying a gas guzzler car and receive a rebate for an efficient car). That analysis, headed by ITS-Davis, is now under consideration by the State.

Technological advances, such as clean-fuel vehicles and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) that improve traffic flows, are part of the solution for creating sustainable futures. However, so are strategies that moderate the growth in vehicular travel without reducing the nation’s continually growing demand for social and economic interaction.

More policy-oriented strategies that complement technological ones include demand management techniques, such as improved pricing and management of parking, eco-driving, as well as land-use approaches, such as TOD, that promote alternative means of travel. UC researchers have been providing support to the California ARB and other agencies on synthesizing the evidence and developing tools for forecasting the effectiveness of such strategies.

The pitting of technological and more policy oriented strategies as an “either/or” proposition is, we believe, a false dichotomy. Advances are needed on both fronts. Electric vehicle (EV) technologies and smart growth communities, for example, are wholly compatible.

Limited-range EVs/plug-in hybrids are particularly well-suited to compact, mixed-use communities that shorten travel distances. Modern technologies (e.g., global positioning systems and automatic vehicle location) enable real-time dynamic pricing tied to vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) and congestion levels and at the same time can strengthen the social, economic, and cultural vibrancy of core cities.

Central London, Singapore, and Stockholm have not suffered from the introduction of higher peak-period tolls. Or take the case of smart-parking technologies. An estimated 25 percent of all traffic in some districts of San Francisco and Los Angeles is made up of motorists cruising for parking. Smart technologies (e.g., sensors in parking spaces that monitor occupancy) can reduce such cruising, inform motorists of the closest available space, and allow dynamic pricing of parking (i.e., higher fees in congested times; lower ones in slack periods).

Such technologies not only shrink parking’s enormous footprint, but also improve the quality of urban environments and in so doing encourage less carbon-intensive modes of travel, including walking and cycling.

Economic competitiveness has always been a core focus of transportation planning and engineering since efficient transportation systems and operations are vital toward sustained economic growth and prosperity. The nation’s economy relies crucially on its systems of highways, ports, and mass transportation to swiftly and safely move raw materials, labor, manufactured products, component parts, and ideas to produce and exchange goods and services.

Bottlenecks on highways leading to and from ports, unreliable mass transit systems, and deteriorating traffic conditions can strangle economic growth and, if left unchecked, place America’s cities and regions at a global economic disadvantage. In 2009, the congestion “invoice” for the extra time and fuel spent moving people and goods in America’s 439 urban areas reached $115 billion. Policy-makers well understand this.

The Economist Intelligence Unit Global Survey, released in September 2010, reported that 61 percent of mayors worldwide believed that “improving public transport and roads” is the most important way “to make their cities more competitive for businesses.” As home to the busiest port in the nation and four of America’s 22 most congested urbanized areas,

California has a vested economic stake in planning, designing, operating, managing, and pricing multi-modal transportation facilities and services in the most efficient, resourceful way possible.

The University of California has established itself as an intellectual leader in such areas as traffic operations, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), and transportation/land-use integration. Major advances in the field of traffic flow theory originated at UC Berkeley, which has over the years spawned the world’s leading systems for traffic measurement through loop detectors (Caltrans Performance Measure System-PeMS) and video surveillance (developed at the Berkeley Highway Laboratory) as well as freeway traffic control through ramp-metering (Tools for Operational Planning-TOPL).

UC campuses also have an established track record at integrating travel-demand models in ways that inform and shape public policies. For example, UC Santa Barbara’s GIS-based travel forecasting tools (SimAGENT) and UC Irvine’s advanced traffic simulation models are being integrated to predict regional transportation flows, and in turn are being linked to UC Davis’s urban land-use model PECAS (Production Exchange Consumption Allocation System) to estimate impacts on fuel consumption and GHG emissions.

Another successful collaboration has been the integration of advanced traffic monitoring technologies (based on GPS-enabled cellular phones) developed by UC Berkeley researchers with vehicle emission measurement tools developed at UC Riverside (and certified by USEPA and the California Air Resources Board as the gold standard for on-road testing).

Economic competitiveness is not just about moving people and freight swiftly, safely, and cleanly. Desirable and therefore competitive places are also socially inclusive and diverse. Equity concerns have been especially prominent in the research of UC scholars. UCLA researchers have examined the equity of road and transit pricing in comparison with other finance techniques commonly used to pay for transportation infrastructure and services.

Studies have also shown that efforts to curb automobile use may help to clean the environment, but for many segments of society can lead to social exclusion and negative economic outcomes. Scholars from UCLA and UC Berkeley have published among the most widely cited work to date on topics like impacts of transportation programs on welfare-to-work, spatial mismatches and employment outcomes, and equity consequences of alternative road, parking, and transit pricing schemes.

Livability continues to gain importance as a national, state, and local goal because it is intimately related to social well-being, peoples’ attachment to community and place, and healthy living. Livable communities feature well-designed streetscapes, attractive civic spaces, the inter-mixing of land uses, “complete streets” that promote walking and cycling, and Safe Routes to School.

Such environments are increasingly in high demand. We know this not only from public opinion polls but also real-estate markets. High-quality urban and suburban districts and well-designed places often command sizeable rent and land-value premiums. Importantly, the livability movement elevates accessibility, i.e., the ability of people to reach the places they wish to go, as an overarching goal in transportation planning and investment.

Expediting traffic flows is certainly critical to creating accessible cities and regions, but so are urban designs that bring trip origins and destinations closer and information-technological advances that allow social and economic interactions without necessarily physical movements.

Scholars from several UC campuses, notably Santa Barbara, Irvine, Berkeley, and Davis, have developed state-of-the-art transportation land use models and other planning tools that gauge impacts of livability-sustainability scenarios on accessibility, community well-being, and social equity.

The SimAGENT model, an activity-based forecasting model, was developed by scholars from UC Santa Barbara with the help of UCTC funding, and is being used to test GHG-reduction scenarios by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) in response to California’s SB 375. Urban design work by scholars on the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses has led to streetscape designs and multi-dimensional evaluation tools that enhance pedestrian and bicyclist comfort, safety, and connectivity.

Over the years, seminal work on multi-way boulevards, complete and livable street designs, and freeway-to-boulevard/freeway-to-greenway conversions has come from UCTC-funded research. The effects of more efficient pricing on the quality of urban districts have also been studied.

Widely cited research by UCLA scholars showed that parking policy reforms can have a strong positive effect on community betterment and local economic development, and are often the lynchpin to successful redevelopment investments. Researchers at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC Irvine are international leaders in the study of the effect of community design and urban land-use patterns on travel behavior. Seminal and highly influential research on the travel-demand, environmental, and community development impacts of TOD, jobs-housing balance, neo-traditional community designs, urban containment policies, and other growth-management strategies has been carried out by scholars of our consortium.

Synergies exist and are waiting to be tapped into across the spheres of environmental sustainability, economic competitiveness, and livability. Our consortium will conduct the kinds of rigorous, grounded research that advances knowledge and trains future generations of transportation professionals not only within these domains but across them as well.

Creating clean, livable cities, towns, and regions, for example, can be an effective economic development strategy—attractive and healthy living and working environments can attract and help retain high-skilled, high value-added firms, and workers of service-based economies. Cities and regions whose economies rely heavily on creative, knowledge-intensive industries, studies show, must design and build attractive cityscapes that promote active forms of mobility (e.g., walking and bicycling) and improve environmental conditions such as air quality if they are to successfully compete in the 21st century global marketplace.

Similarly, relieving traffic congestion not only makes cities and regions more economically competitive but also enhances livability. Public opinion polls routinely show that worsening traffic congestion is the number-one reason cited for the perceived declining quality of urban living in the eyes of the American public. Well-designed cities and efficient pricing of infrastructure that helps slow the growth in VMT can also promote economic growth.

The recent report on Growing Wealthier, for example, founded that states with lower VMT per capita tend to have higher GDP per capita. While correlations do not prove causality, and other researchers have reached opposite conclusions,5 most would agree that the aim should be less about encouraging physical movement and more about designing communities and pricing resources to maximize economic and social interactions.

The linkages between environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness, we believe, are especially important. Besides attracting high-skilled firms and creative classes of workers, global cities with clean air, generous amounts of public spaces, attractive urban designs, and functional transportation and infrastructure systems are excellent incubators for growing the green economy. Advances in the production and distribution of clean-fuel vehicles that operate on renewable energy sources can stimulate private investment and create new employment and vocational opportunities.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Skid Row Housing Trust

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Website: www.skidrow.org

Skid Row Housing Trust’s philosophy is simple: Homes. Support. Success. The Trust ends homeless by providing homes that are affordable coupled with the help needed to permanently break the cycle of homelessness.

It is the Trust that provides the structures, but it is the residents who make our buildings homes and communities. Whether it is cooking a Thanksgiving feast or holding the door for another resident, our residents’ generosity and neighborliness breathe life into our buildings.

While Trust residents are united by their experience of overcoming homelessness, they come from every walk of life and background. We provide housing for the disabled, artists, older adults, counselors, veterans, chefs, gardeners, young adults, transgender men and women, and clergy. During any given year 1,500 men and women call Trust buildings home, with over 80% of those residents staying for more than one year.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Global Urbanist

Location: International

Website: www.globalurbanist.org

The Global Urbanist was created in 2009 by alumni of urban policy and international development programmes at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and maintains relationships with several faculty members of the school.

The Global Urbanist is an online magazine reviewing urban affairs and urban development issues in cities throughout the developed and developing world.

Its readers are drawn from the urban policy and international development sectors, and include urban planners, officers in local, national or international government agencies, civil society leaders, researchers and academics.

We receive articles from professionals and concerned community members in these fields on any topic affecting the management of cities. Articles are published under one of the following six themes: planning, governance, economy, communities, environment, and international.

If you or someone you know would like to contribute an article, please read our guidelines to get in touch.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.uhab.org

The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board was founded in the midst of New York City’s economic crisis of the 1970s.

While landlords abandoned their buildings en masse, the city found itself with over 11,000 buildings on hand and no idea what to do with them. UHAB became a voice for the residents living in those buildings – longtime New Yorkers who had no intention of leaving.

Turning buildings over to the residents began as an experimental idea. But soon the city was convinced it could be sustained. The first year UHAB offered training in Harlem, 200 buildings learned how to cooperatively govern and operate their own buildings.

We have only grown since then.
Since 1973 UHAB has assisted in the preservation of over 1,700 buildings and created homeownership opportunities for over 30,000 households.

Over the years, we have developed an intimate knowledge of New York City’s low-income co-op community. We are experts in meeting the needs of that community. Our work is unmatched by any other organization.
Today, New York City has the largest community of shared-equity housing co-ops in the country.

People in Plazas

Location: San Francisco, CA

Website: www.peopleinplazas.org

Our mission is to activate urban open spaces through events which generate social congregation. Our aim is to bring these spaces to the status of "everybody's neighborhood."

People in Plazas provides more than 500 paid "gigs" annually for local musicians. We support live music performance and embrace the diversity and wealth of the Bay Area music community.

The series has grown to producing 170+ free performances in public plazas during July, August and September. Venues stretch from The Pyramid Building up to Castro Street on or near Market Street. The program reaches an audience of more than 45,000 annually.

The "People in Plazas" series is supported by the Mayor's Office, Art Commission, Musicians Union Local 6, AFM. SFPD, the SF Entertainment Commission and with a grant from the Hotel Tax Fund /Grants for the Arts. Downtown property owners provide venue sponsorship.

People in Plazas is a 501c3 non profit corporation

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.railstotrails.org

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission it is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy serves as the national voice for more than 150,000 members and supporters, 20,000-plus miles of rail-trail throughout the country, and more than 9,000 miles of potential rail-trails waiting to be built.

We have supported the tremendous growth and development of rail-trails since opening our doors February 1, 1986. Then, there were fewer than 200 known rail-trails. Today, there are more than 1,600 preserved pathways that form the backbone of a growing trail system that spans communities, regions, states and, indeed, the entire country.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy remains dedicated to the creation of a nationwide network of trails. Further, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is committed to enhancing the health of America's environment, transportation, economy, neighborhoods and people—ensuring a better future made possible by trails and the connections they inspire.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Idlewild Community Development Corporation

Location: Idlewild, MI

Website: www.icdc.org

Idlewild is a vacation and retirement community in Yates Township located in a small rural northwestern part of the U.S. state of Michigan near the southeastern border of Lake County. It was one of only a few resorts in the country where African-Americans were allowed to vacation and purchase property before discrimination became illegal in 1964.

Idlewild surrounds the lake it was named for. The headwaters of the Pere Marquette River run through here, with a couple of public access points adjacent to Broadway Road, where it crosses. About half of the township is contained in the Manistee National Forest. Called the "Black Eden", from 1912 through the mid-1960s, Idlewild was an active year-round community and was visited by well-known entertainers and professionals from throughout the country.

At its peak it was the most popular resort in the Midwest and as many as 25,000 would come to Idlewild in the height of the summer season to enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, roller skating and night-time entertainment.

When the 1964 Civil Rights Act opened up other resorts to African-Americans, Idlewild's boom town period subsided but the community continues to be an important place for vacationers and retirees and as a heritage landmark.

The Idlewild African American Chamber of Commerce was founded in the summer of 2000 by businessman John O. Meeks for the purpose of promoting existing local businesses and for attracting newer ones to the Lake County area.

The community of Idlewild continues to be recognized as one of the oldest, most famous, and most memorable African American resort communities in contemporary United States history. Idlewild was founded over ninety six years ago in 1912. Recognized as an intellectual center for African Americans, Idlewild was and continues to be an oasis for black economic success and community development.

The Community Corporation engages and empowers others by working directly with these individuals to provide information about the issues affecting our community and the institutions addressing those issues.

Much of our work is accomplished by collaborationg with community leaders and other partners to tackle critical issues in the Idlewild area. With diverse voices and varying types of expertise at the table, together we create a powerful force to change this community.

In order for the Community Corporation to have a strong community impact, we must build our own internal strength. This includes a financial focus on growing a long-term charitable resource for the region, as a staff and Board we focus on supporting a diverse work environment that encourages learning leadership and transparency.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Yerba Buena Community Benefit District

Location; San Francisco, CA

Website: www.ybcbd.org

The Yerba Buena Community Benefit District was approved by district property owners in 2008 to improve the quality of life in the area.

Our mission is to provide programs that foster a safer and more secure community, create a cleaner and greener neighborhood, and reinforce the viability of our economic base. We began implementing programs in 2009. They include a Community Guides program, 10B police officer program, graffiti removal, street and sidewalk cleaning, marketing and other improvement efforts.

Our downtown San Francisco district is defined by an incredible diversity of residents, cultural offerings and businesses from about Second to Fifth and Market to Harrison Streets.

It bustles with world-class museums, shopping, dining, convention space, hotels, and educational institutions. It includes a variety of housing from senior housing and below market rate housing to luxury condominiums and live/work lofts. YBCBD is perhaps the most dynamic district in the City – a celebration of San Francisco’s eclectic backbone.

The YBCBD was created as part of a comprehensive and thoughtful effort by people who live and work in the district. The YBCBD management corporation, a nonprofit organization, was created to manage the district.

We hire paid staff and sub-contractors to implement programs outlined in the YBCBD District Management Plan. YBCBD’s executive director works with a board of directors, multiple committees and contractors to advance services.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

City Forward

Location: International

Website: www.cityforward.org

About City Forward

City Forward is a free, web-based platform that enables users – city officials, researchers, academics and interested citizens world-wide – to view and interact with city data while engaging in an ongoing public dialogue.

By using City Forward’s straightforward exploration tools, you can identify patterns, trends and correlations in the data that may reveal new insights and point to new areas of interest for further investigation. These explorations can then be shared and discussed within the City Forward Community and beyond – wherever people gather to exchange ideas about cities.

City Forward is a philanthropic donation of services and technology from IBM, which applies expertise and technologies to offer insight into specific metropolitan issues. In addition to City Forward, IBM has inaugurated Smarter Cities Challenge, a competitive grant program that will help 100 cities across the globe.

IBM recognizes the value of building a smarter planet, starting with building smarter cities. The future of our cities depends upon the boundless energy and insights made possible when people work towards common goals and understanding. City Forward helps do just that by enabling a greater understanding of the challenges our cities are facing.

The data for City Forward is collected from numerous sources and is dependent on the availability of public data. City Forward data features metropolitan areas, cities and smaller geographic areas varying in size, development phase and location.

City Forward is excited about the data we’ve collected so far, but it is just the beginning. We envision City Forward growing to include data for more cities and metropolitan areas, expanded time spans and additional subjects. Go to the City Forward Data Catalog to view the data that is currently available.

We are always looking for help in identifying the best data sources. If you are aware of publicly available data sources, preferably in a machine readable format, that are not currently available on City Forward, please contact us.the project. For additional information please contact

Friday, December 14, 2012

Downtown Denver Partnership

Location: Denver, CO

Website: www.downtowndenver.com

With a reputation for more than 50 years of excellence, the Downtown Denver Partnership plays many diverse roles to enhance Downtown Denver.

The Partnership is a leader, place-maker, convener, idea generator, facilitator, recruiter, team-builder and policy advocate. The Partnership’s six areas of focus – Leadership, Environment, Experience, Jobs, Connections and Housing – are the basic, integrated elements of our organization.

The final and most critical components of our organization are our valued members and constituents who shape our policy and help guide our endeavors. We thank them for their invaluable commitment and look forward to communicating to the community the many ways in which we have and will continue to work together to enhance our city.

Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.morusnyc.org

The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) preserves the rich history of grassroots movements in New York City’s East Village and showcases the unique public spaces for which the neighborhood is renowned. It is located in the storefront of a historic building in the East Village, C-Squat.

Over the last forty years, East Village community members and local organizations have come together to transform abandoned buildings and vacant lots into vibrant living spaces and thriving community gardens. Today, these urban sustainable practices, inspired by the work of the East Village community, can be observed worldwide.

The museum will also offer three daily tours, which will lead participants around the East Village’s most legendary community gardens, squats and sites of social change, and explain their compelling and rich histories.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Code for America

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.codeforamerica.org

Code for America helps governments work better for everyone with the people and the power of the web. Through our Fellowship, Accelerator, and Brigade, we're building a network of cities, citizens, community groups, and startups, all equally committed to reimagining government for the 21st century.

Code for America is a new non-profit, and a new kind of organization. Our team is made up of web geeks, city experts, and technology industry leaders. We are building a network of civic leaders and organizations who believe there is a better way of doing things and want to make a difference.

We make it easy and attractive for the web generation to give back through our Fellowship, which connects technologists with cities to work together to innovate; our Accelerator, which will support disruptive civic startups; and our Brigade, which helps local, community groups reuse civic software.

Code for America helps governments become more connected, lean, and participatory through new opportunities for public service -- both inside and outside government -- so we're not only making a direct impact everyday, but also creating the relationships and network for lasting change.


Location: Nationwide

Website: www.neighborhow.org

Try Googling clean up my block or have a block party or start a neighborhood watch for your city. You probably won't find what you're looking for… What you really need is probably right next door: the lessons learned from your neighbors for what works (and what doesn't). But Google searches can't help you find those.

Brought to you by Code for America and the City of Philadelphia, Neighborhow is a place to collect and share citizen knowledge about urban improvement projects like starting a blood drive or designing a mini-park.

A Neighborhow Guide can be about anything you think would be useful to other people in your community. Maybe that's how to organize a block party. Maybe it's how to get a free backyard tree from the city. Or how to track blighted properties in your neighborhood.

If it's something you know how to do, it's probably something other people want to know how to do. So share your Neighborhow!

Smart Growth America

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.smartgrowthamerica.org

Smart Growth America advocates for people who want to live and work in great neighborhoods. We believe smart growth solutions support businesses and jobs, provide more options for how people get around and make it more affordable to live near work and the grocery store. Our coalition works with communities to fight sprawl and save money. We are making America’s neighborhoods great together.

Making Communities Work for Everyone
At the heart of the American dream is the simple hope that each of us can choose to live in a neighborhood that’s beautiful, affordable and easy to get around. We want to create healthy communities with strong local businesses, schools and shops nearby, transportation options and jobs that pay well.

Americans want to make their neighborhoods great, and smart growth strategies help make that dream a reality. Smart growth is about creating local jobs and protecting the environment. It is about being able to safely walk to a park close by. It is about spending less time in traffic and more time doing what’s important to you.

Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks so people can walk to their town center to ensuring that more homes are built near public transit or productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure that people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. Our solutions include:

- Coalition Building: Governors, business owners, bicycle activists, parents and organizations across the country are all part of growing communities that can be even greater. Smart growth is about making neighborhoods work for everyone, and the more people involved in that process the better.

- Policy Development: From using federal stimulus dollars to repair roads and create low-cost options for transportation, to adopting local water policies that work for developers and homebuyers alike, we are a policy resource on all things smart growth. We work with leaders at all levels of government to show which policy options are best for different communities and can help communities go from idea to implementation.

- Research: We make sure the smart growth policies we promote are not just good theory, but proven ideas. Research on topics from urban development to transportation to the cost of vacant properties in your community inform our work and are available online. New research is posted regularly, giving policymakers, businesses and community groups the tools they need to make sure growth is smartly done.
Support Smart Growth America
Support smart growth in your community by joining us. Together, we are making America’s neighborhoods great.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Lovation: Nationwide (selected cities)

Website: www.streetline.com

As featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Wired and on CNN, Fox, and NBC, Streetline, Inc. is the leading provider of smart parking solutions to cities, garages, airports, universities and other private parking providers. Streetline aims to make smart cities a reality through the use of sensor-enabled mobile and web applications.

With the introduction of Parker™, the first real-time parking guidance application for smartphones and in-car navigation systems, Streetline enables drivers to find parking quickly and easily. Experts estimate that 30% of urban traffic is caused by motorists looking for parking. Additionally, vehicle emissions and drivers looking for parking are so closely linked that a yearlong study found that drivers in a fifteen block district in Los Angeles drove in excess of 950,000 miles searching for a space and produced 730 tons of carbon dioxide.

By connecting the real world with critical information, Streetline is revolutionizing the way we live and work, while making cities more efficient and lessening their environmental impact.

Streetline is a privately held company headquartered in Foster City, Calif. The primary investors are Sutter Hill Ventures, RockPort Capital Partners, and Fontinalis Partners, co-founded by Ford Motor Company Chairman Bill Ford.

Streetline has recorded more than 40 million parking sessions and has real-time smart parking deployments in Germany and across the U.S. including California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia and Washington, DC.

Streetline was named one of Fast Company’s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Transportation, as well as IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year. In October 2012, Streetline was named a finalist for the prestigious 2012 World Technology Awards.


Location: Minnesota

Website: www.streets.mn

Streets.MN explores the pressing issues facing our cities, towns, neighborhoods and the places in between. Our mission is to expand and enhance the conversation about transportation and land use through research and informed commentary.

Streets.MN was formed because we think transportation and land use news and information in Minnesota can be done better.

Content for Streets.MN is produced by these fine folks. Streets.MN is 100% member-supported and volunteer-driven. Streets.MN is a non-profit organization, governed by our board.

The streets.mn logos were designed by Jesse Ross. Jesse is a Twin Cities-based designer and web developer. He likes to draw pictures, build websites and mobile apps, eat good food and rant about politics. He can be found at jesseross.com and on Twitter as @jesseross.

Streets.MN is authored by a diverse group of contributors. The views, opinions, and positions expressed by each author — and those providing comments — are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Streets.MN Board or any other site contributor. Streets.MN makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site. The Streets.MN team of contributors reserve the right to delete or edit blog entries or comments that they deem to be obscene, offensive, spammy or otherwise unacceptable in an environment promoting the free exchange of ideas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Walk Score

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.walkscore.com

Walkability offers surprising benefits to our health, the environment, our finances, and our communities.

Health: The average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs 6-10 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood. Cities with good public transit and access to amenities promote happiness.

Environment: 82% of CO2 emissions are from burning fossil fuels.

Finances: Cars are the second largest household expense in the U.S.4 One point of Walk Score is worth up to $3,000 of value for your property.

Communities: Studies show that for every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10%.

A one-mile walk in Seattle's Phinney Ridge takes you through a grid-like street network with a mix of residences and businesses.

A one-mile walk in Bellevue, WA with cul-de-sacs and winding streets has few shops and services within walking distance.

What makes a neighborhood walkable?

A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it's a main street or a public space.

People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.

Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.

Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.

Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.

Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.

Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.

Creating Places for People

Location: Australia

Website: www.urbandesign.gov.au

The draft report explores how the Australian Government can work with other governments, business and the community to encourage and support walking and riding as part of the transport systems in Australia's cities and towns. Submissions on the report will be accepted until 5pm on 31 January 2013.
Creating Places for People is a collaborative commitment to best practice urban design in Australia. The Protocol is the result of two years of collaboration between peak community and industry organisations, States, Territories, Local Governments, and the Australian Government.

The quality of our neighbourhoods, towns and cities have a significant impact on our daily lived experience. Quality urban design makes a valuable contribution to our economy, our natural and built environments, and the liveability of our cities. It allows local business to thrive. It attracts people to visit, live and work in a location. It considers the landscape, encourages biodiversity, and incorporates natural ecosystems. It has an important influence on our physical and mental health. It provides opportunities for healthy lifestyles and community interaction.

Creating Places for People does not take a one size fits all approach. It provides broad principles for urban design that take into account the unique characteristics of a location, people’s enjoyment, experience and health, and encourages excellence and collaboration in the design and custodianship of urban places.

The actions that we all take will, together, make a significant difference to the quality of our towns and cities. We encourage others to embrace and adopt the Urban Design Protocol.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Landmarks Association of St. Louis

Location: St. Louis, MO

Website: www.landmarks-stl.org

St. Louis, bequeathed with a wealth of historically and architecturally significant buildings, owes the conservation and adaptive reuse of much of that inheritance to Landmarks Association of St. Louis, Inc.

Organized in 1958 and incorporated as a non-profit in 1959, Landmarks is the primary advocate for the region's built environment. Important victories from our early years include the Bissell Mansion and Red Water Tower in Hyde Park, the Chatillon-DeMenil House in Benton Park along with the Wainwright Building and Old Post Office in downtown. But in spite of many accomplishments, preservation was seldom included in the planning process. In the early 1970s, Landmarks embarked on an ambitious citywide survey to identify important sites and potential historic districts.

The survey pace accelerated in the late 1970s when the federal government passed legislation offering tax credits for renovating properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. By the mid 1980s St. Louis led the country in historic tax credit reinvestment, thanks in large part to Landmarks' nominations to the Register.

Landmarks also played a key role in framing Missouri's historic rehab tax credit program in 1997. High-profile rescues resulting from this legislation include the Drury Plaza Hotel (encompassing the partly demolished Fur Exchange), the Westin Hotel (an adaptive reuse of Cupples Station) and the Sheraton St. Louis City Center, ingeniously inserted in the former Edison Brothers Warehouse. Without historic tax credits, these three sites and countless more including the Arcade Building would be surface parking lots.

Each May Landmarks presents a ceremony honoring St. Louis' 11 Most Enhanced Sites. Inaugurated in 1996, the list runs the gamut from those privately financed to those requiring every possible public resource. Projects recognized in 2007 (with costs ranging from $500,000 to $36 million) contributed $129,400,000 to the local economy. The total figure since we started keeping close tabs in 1998 is an astonishing $1.5 billion.

Landmarks' National Register nominations also provide essential background for publications including the organization's bi-monthly newsletter and a series of guidebooks. The most popular, St. Louis: Landmarks & Historic Districts first published in 1988, was revised in a greatly expanded version in 2002. That same year Landmarks released the third in its series of multilingual cultural tourism pieces based on public transit.

Designed to encourage international tourism and to introduce recent immigrants to easily reached attractions, the full-color brochures (Art on Wheels, Art on Rails) were funded in part by the Regional Arts Commission, the Whitaker Foundation and the Gateway Foundation.

Students participating in the WABMO program explore Daniel Chester French's sculpture, Peace and Vigilance, in the Old Post Office building.

In 1991, Landmarks created "What Are Buildings Made Of?" (WABMO) to introduce the built environment to tomorrow's leaders. An acclaimed heritage education program supported since its inception by the Regional Arts Commission, the original WABMO sessions were directed to students in the 4th through 6th grades. Since then the program has grown to include versions for high school and college students, for at-risk youth and for senior citizens. A WABMO for families and Architecture Weekends for adults will be offered starting in 2008.

By 2006, the Landmark Association recognized the need to establish an architectural center for metropolitan St. Louis to advance its core mission to preserve, enhance and promote St. Louis' architectural heritage and to ecourage sound planning and good contemporary design.

With an eye toward its 50th anniversary celebration in 2009, Landmarks embarked on an ambitious capital campaign, raising over $300,000 for the center. By late 2008, Architecture St. Louis was open to the public, quickly becoming an educational center hosting programs for children and adults and a gallery space for exhibits on contemporary architecture, architects and historic preservation.

Today, Landmarks draws its strength from a broad-based membership. The more than 1300 regional dues-paying citizens include architects, attorneys, developers, consultants, historians, neighborhood leaders, bankers and community volunteers who contribute expertise and participate as advocates.

Over the years they have supported Landmarks, even in the face of controversy. That is probably the legacy envisioned in 1962 by Roger Montgomery, one of the founders, who wrote: "We must encourage continued use and creative adaptation of existing buildings and districts. But it is a mistake to insist that there must be an economic income returned by all buildings. Preservation is often self-justifying on purely cultural terms."

Community Education Coalition

Location: Columbus, IN

Website: www.educationcoalition.com

The Community Education Coalition (CEC) of Columbus, Indiana, is a nationally recognized partnership of education, business, and community leaders focused on aligning and integrating the Columbus, Indiana and region's community learning system with economic growth and a high quality of life. This site is intended to be an informational resource for both the Community Education Coalition and the Columbus Learning Center facility.

As you visit the site, please note the links to our Community Education Coalition partner Web sites and resource information to enrich educational and career opportunities for all in our community.

Community Education Coalition Strategic Goals:

- Promote the value and importance of a seamless learning system that offers accessible, affordable education for students of all ages

- Serve as an advocate for excellence in education

- Foster collaboration to advance student achievement across the entire learning system (Pre-K through grade 16 and beyond)

- Strongly support and encourage partners as they attract, develop, and retain the highest quality faculty

- Serve as a catalyst for establishing Columbus as a regional center for higher education and workforce development

- Foster a stronger linkage between economic development and education initiatives

- Foster efficient and effective use of resources; supporting complementary services

- Evaluate and measure educational system progress against goals and report regularly to the community

Downtown Detroit Partnership

Location: Detroit, MI

Website: www.downtowndetroit.org

Downtown Detroit Partnership is a private/public partnership of corporate and civic leaders that supports, advocates and develops programs and initiatives designed to create a clean, safe, beautiful, inviting, vibrant and economically viable Downtown Detroit community.

Downtown Detroit is the region’s social, cultural and commerce center and premier destination to live, work, play, visit, invest and conduct business.

We are passionate about transforming Downtown Detroit.

We believe creating meaningful, trusting, respectful relationships is essential to the transformation of Detroit.

We believe in teamwork, deep collaboration and the cross-pollination of all stakeholders.

We believe we must perform with excellence in all that we do.

We believe we must communicate openly, honestly and frequently with all stakeholders.

Public Interest Design

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.publicinterestdesign.org

PublicInterestDesign.org is principally a blog about a growing movement at the intersection of design and service. In many respects, this movement is decades in the making, while it’s also gained new life through a series of books, events, and exhibitions as well as the creation of new organizations and collaborations.
Our hope with this new website is to share news and opportunities that the various stakeholders of the public interest design movement can take advantage of. The movement’s consistent growth is potent evidence that people at all income levels have an appetite for and deserve quality spaces; that a great many architects, designers, and planners have a strong commitment to the communities where they live and work; and that funders and manufacturers are willing to invest real resources in creating great places, products, and programs.

There are an array of efforts aimed at making good design much more readily accessible to historically under-resourced communities across the U.S. and worldwide.

Community design, humanitarian design, and pro bono design are three common subsets of the public interest design movement, and while their methods differ, all three share the motivation to democratize design. Naturally, each of these subsets of the public interest design movement has its champions and challenges.

On May 16, 2011, I had the amazing opportunity to give the commencement address for the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. I had graduated from the College less than a decade earlier, and both been given and created some extraordinary opportunities to engage in design for the public good throughout the early years of my career.

I thought it was a sign of how robust the public interest design movement has become that a still-young and struggling designer like me was asked to address the next generation of designers.

As I interacted with graduates, parents, faculty, and others, I lamented that there wasn’t a single place or website where I could point people interested in doing or supporting public interest design, whether as a part- or full-time pursuit.

There are numerous amazing designers and organizations doing important work across the country and around the world, but that’s hard to explain in a 30-second conversation. At the same time, over the years,

I repeatedly encountered peers in the public interest design world that weren’t aware of important discussions, events, fellowships, funding opportunities, and the like.

So with the modest honorarium I received for my Berkeley commencement address, I’ve launched this simple blog-based website to aggregate our collective work and voices. But also to increase communication about and within the growing public interest design movement. I hope that others will be inspired to contribute as they’re able.

John Cary
Founder / Editor / Curator

San Francisco Beautiful

Location: San Francisco, CA

Website: www.sfbeautiful.org

San Francisco is beautiful because we make it that way. When our plazas need help, we refresh them.

Our vision is to keep San Francisco beautiful.

Our mission is to create, enhance, and maintain the unique beauty and livability of San Francisco.

For more than 60 years, San Francisco Beautiful — a group of citizens, neighbors, friends, and philanthropists — has been integral in making San Francisco the extraordinary place it is today.

We work to keep San Francisco beautiful through civic engagement, partnering with communities to build better neighborhoods, and celebrating urban innovation.

If you love San Francisco, we love you. Join now to keep San Francisco beautiful.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Detroit Unreal Estate Agency

Location: Detroit, MI

Website: www.detroitunrealestateagency.blogspot.com

Detroit Unreal Estate Agency's members produce, collect and inventory information on the ‘unreal estate’ of Detroit: that is, on the remarkable, distinct, characteristic or subjectively significant sites of urban culture. The agency is aimed at new types of urban practices (architecturally, artistically, institutionally, everyday life, etc) that came into existence, creating a new value system in Detroit.

The project is an initiative by architects Andrew Herscher and Mireille Roddier, curator Femke Lutgerink and Partizan Publik's Christian Ernsten and Joost Janmaat.

In collaboration with the Dutch Art Institute and the University of Michigan, generously funded by the Mondriaan Foundation and Fonds BKVB.

Shrinking Cities

Location: International

Website: www.shrinkingcities.org

Whether in the USA, Britain, or Belgium, Finland, Italy, Russia, Kazakhstan, or China: everywhere, cities are shrinking. The dramatic development in eastern Germany since 1989, which has led to more than a million empty apartments and to the abandoning of countless industrial parks and social and cultural facilities, has proven to be no exception, but a general pattern of our civilization.

Shrunken cities contradict the image, familiar since the Industrial Revolution, of the "boomtown", a big city characterized by constant economic and demographic growth. Shrunken cities spur a reconsideration not only of traditional ideas of the European city, but also of the future development of urban worlds.

The drastic changes in cities caused by shrinking thus present not only an economic and social, but also a cultural challenge. Urban shrinking can hardly be affected by city planning, and it brings numerous problems. New types of cities arise; we do not yet have ways of thinking or of using their specific character.

Shrinking Cities, a three-year initiative project of Germany's Federal Cultural Foundation, seeks to expand Germany's city-planning debate - until now concentrated on questions of demolishing surplus apartments and improving residential quarters - to address new questions and perspectives.

The project also places developments in eastern Germany in an international context, involving various artistic, design, and research disciplines in the search for strategies for action.

The emphases of the research and exhibition project, Shrinking Cities, are, first, an international study of processes of shrinking (first project phase) and, second, the development of strategies for action for eastern Germany (second project phase).

Since 2002, four local interdisciplinary teams have been commissioned to study and document urban shrinking processes in the urban regions of Detroit (USA), Manchester/Liverpool (Britain), Ivanovo (Russia), and Halle/Leipzig (Germany).

Each site stands as an example of a specific form of shrinking: In Detroit, the issue is the consequences of suburbanization; in Manchester/Liverpool, of deindustralization; in Ivanavo, of postsocialism; and in the greater Halle/Leipzig region, several of these factors are compounded. People from various disciplines, including urban geographers, cultural experts, architects, journalists, and artists, take part in the work.

The Shrinking Cities project initiates innovative approached to solutions in two ways. First, together with the architecture magazine archplus, the project announced in January 2004 an international, open idea competition.

Second, the two other project partners - the Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau and the Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig - gave direct commissions and work stipends related to the theme.
In this way, a selection of potential interventions were emerged that offers exemplary perspectives for culturally dealing with shrinking cities. This will give the respective sites ideas for discussing their new situation and local actors new possibilities of action.

Communicating the work and the results of the project Shrinking Cities is an essential part of the project itself. The project's results were presented in numerous public presentations, three exhibitions, the website, and diverse publications.

The results of the first project phase (the international study) are documented in a catalogue and an exhibition, which was shown in September 2004 at the KW - Institute For Contemporary Art (formerly: Kunst-Werke) in Berlin and in 2005 in Halle (Saale).

The results of the second phase of work were presented in an exhibition in Winter 2005 in Leipzig. In Autumn 2006 the project will be presented in the framework of the 10th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice. It is intended to then show the exhibition in additional international sites.

2002: September kick-off project / form local teams at the four locations to be investigated / begin analysis.

2003: Develop project concept further - carry out comparative international analysis together with architects, artists, urban geographers, ethnologists, journalists, graphic designers etc.
February initial event for the press / 1st International Workshop in Berlin July 2nd International Workshop in Ivanovo November 3rd International Workshop in Liverpool December conclude analysis.

2004: Award commissions and stipends / the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and the Leipzig Gallery of Contemporary Art, as project partners, hold workshops to develop interventions for eastern Germany.

January ARCH+ magazine holds the international open competition / September exhibit the results of the international analysis in Berlin / publish book / judge the second phase of the competition.

2005: Fall present results of the second phase of the project, with exhibition and interventions in public space in Halle and Leipzig / publish second book .

2006: The project is presented in the framework of the 10th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice/ publish second book / publish Atlas of shrinking cities / Exhibitions in New York.

2007 - 2008: Shrinking Cities Exhibition

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Focus Maui Nui

Location: Maui, HI

Website: www.focusmauinui.org

Focus Maui Nui is a community process seeking the input of local citizens in a discussion about what residents want for the future of our islands (Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe) which together make up Maui Nui and Maui County.

The project is designed to bring individuals, organizations, and communities throughout the county together to identify and prioritize shared values and to send clear messages to local leaders about what we want for our islands, our communities, and our future.

The ultimate goal of Focus Maui Nui is twofold:

- To create one cohesive vision for the future, based on the priorities and values of everyday residents countywide on jobs, the environment, education, housing, and more.

- To hold leaders in government, business, and the community accountable to this vision, creating a tangible link between residents’ hopes and dreams and the decisions that are made about the future of our islands.

In summer 2003, Focus Maui Nui brought together a diverse cross-section of nearly 1,700 residents to discuss their values and priorities. Over three months, 167 small group discussions took place in neighborhood homes, churches, shopping centers and workplaces, with each group ultimately developing a list of key strategies that could shape Maui’s future.

The Five Key Strategies for Action included:

- Improve Education

- Protect the natural environment, including our water resources

- Address infrastructure challenges especially housing and transportation

- Adopt targeted economic development strategies

- Preserve local culture and address community health concerns such as substance abuse.

Community leaders have pledged to uphold the findings of this process and to make decisions based on the vision that emerges. In 2004, county administrators and planners successfully adopted the findings into their Ten-Year Plan for Maui County.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Operation Comeback

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.prcno.org/programs/operationcomeback

The Preservation Resource Center's Operation Comeback promotes the purchase, renovation and sale of vacant historic properties. Started in 1987, as a focused effort to revitalize the Lower Garden District, Operation Comeback rapidly expanded and now works with dozens of neighborhood associations and community development corporations citywide.

By acquiring and renovating blighted and adjudicated properties that most would consider hopeless, Operation Comeback provides homes for first-time and repeat homebuyers, serving as a catalyst for the rebirth of New Orleans’ historic neighborhoods. In the effort to put as many properties back into the hands of families as possible,

Operation Comeback has developed several ways for many to become involved. The OC Revolving Fund and the Adopt a House program allow individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations to aid in the renovation or construction of homes through donations, volunteering, and education.

On July 1, 2008, Operation Comeback launched the Adopt a House program in an effort to give an individual, organization, foundation, or corporation an opportunity to aid in providing a newly constructed or renovated home to a potential homebuyer, at an affordable price, in one of New Orleans' targeted historic neighborhoods, through donations and volunteer efforts.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reviving California

Location: Silicon Valley, CA

Website: www.asoft484.securesites.net/secure/alfsiliconvalley/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=reviving_ca_new_home

Reviving California is a project of the Common Good Collaborative, powered by American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley.

Goals include:

- Bringing. diverse groups of people into a common dialogue and collaboration through nurtured community partnerships,

- Being an actively engaged Silicon Valley community that remains a strong voice for the common good,

- Joining forces in engaging the community on the issue of California reform,

- Informing organizations proposing reform about Silicon Valley ideas and collective input in a “bottoms-up” approach.

On November 6-7, 2008, immediately following the U.S. presidential election, ALF Senior Fellows celebrated 20 years of American Leadership Forum in Silicon Valley by participating in a special anniversary forum, "Reclaiming the California Dream," at Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove.This forum was a time to look deeply at the leadership challenges facing California.

From that gathering, "Reviving California," a project of ALF's Common Good Collaborative, was born. With initial funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Reviving California - led by a steering committee of Senior Fellows - has played a significant role in reforming the state’s fiscal and governance policies. By harnessing the power of networked leadership, Reviving California has directly influenced reform legislation and initiatives, including Open primaries and the recently completed redistricting process.

As part of this process, ALF has been helping Californians replace political rhetoric with authentic conversations, moving beyond the blame game, and creating the conditions for individuals, networks and communities to engage in democracy in an increasingly complex and diverse state.

We have forged 30 partnerships with organizations from the Afghan Coalition to California Forward to SKYPE, and hosted more than 42 community dialogues/town halls/ summits/thought leader symposiums/affinity group conversations and real-time, online discussions on various aspects of reform involving 1650+ Californians.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Columbus Indiana Architectural Tours

Location: Columbus, IN

Website: http://columbusin.mobi/content.cfm?page=architecture-tour&menuid=1261&pageid=403

There are three ways to see the architecture that made Columbus famous. Find out why the American Institute of Architects ranked Columbus 6th in the nation for innovation and design.


Call 866-811-4111 to make a reservation.
Please arrive at the Visitors Center at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the tour to check in and view the introductory video, shown fifteen minutes prior to tour.
The Visitors Center is located at 506 Fifth Street, in the heart of downtown Columbus.

You can purchase ticket online here.
(Some changes in the schedule may occur during holidays.)

If walls could talk...
Try a self-guided tour of downtown Columbus, using your cell phone to hear recorded messages about the city's world-renowned architecture. Keep the colorful tour cards as a souvenir. Purchase them at the Visitors Center, 506 Franklin Street, Columbus, IN for $10 a set.

Create your own tour, using our tour map. Purchase the large $3 full-color map at the Visitors Center, Viewpoint Books or Hotel Indigo.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Neighborhhods Partnershiip Network

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.npnnola.com

The Neighborhoods Partnership Network (NPN) is a nonprofit, 501c3 organization consisting of a citywide network of neighborhoods that was established after the Hurricane Katrina disaster to facilitate neighborhood collaboration, increase access to government and information, and strengthen the voices of individuals and communities across New Orleans.

The disasters revealed significant weakness in many structures Americans took for granted – physical structures such levees & hospitals, but also governing and social structures from FEMA to state and local entities. Citizens have had to become their own “first responders” – from rescuing their neighbors to rescuing their neighborhoods. NPN is one such organization born from both the failures and opportunities the catastrophe has provided.

NPN realized that a need existed for a citywide framework to assist communities in maximizing the use of limited resources and information while providing connections to other communities that have similar obstacles so that communities can avoid duplicating efforts and work toward shared goals. The infrastructure of this organization answers New Orleanians’ desires to be involved in the formal decision-making processes that impact quality of life issues for citizens and neighborhoods.

NPN’s mission is to improve the quality of life by engaging New Orleanians in neighborhood revitalization and civic processes. NPN consists of a board of community leaders reflective of neighborhoods throughout the city and a diverse staff immersed in coalition building, public and government relations. NPN envisions a New Orleans where all neighborhoods are great places to live.

Neighborhoods Partnership Network
4902 Canal St., Room 301
New Orleans, La 70119


Mile High Connects

Location: Denver,CO

Website: www.milehighconnects.org

Quality health care, good jobs and top schools are at the foundation of a vibrant life. And yet, for many in our community a lack of public transit can limit their access to these important resources. Mile High Connects wants to change that.

Mile High Connects is committed to ensuring that existing and future transit service by RTD, including the FasTracks expansion, enables all people to connect to the opportunities that can lead to a more affordable and better quality life. Mile High Connects will help ensure that public transit links people to the places they live, work, learn and play in a safe, convenient and affordable manner.

The Mile High Connects mission is to ensure that the Metro Denver regional transit system fosters communities that offer all residents the opportunity for a high quality of life.

Mile High Connects will realize this vision by:

- Increasing resources to build affordable, inclusive communities along the transit system.

- Influencing policy to ensure that all people are involved and considered in urban and economic planning.
Increasing resident engagement in neighborhoods directly affected by the expanding transit system.

- Leveraging the existing and expanding transit system to link affordable housing with jobs, schools and health services.

- Working to make the entire public transit system more accessible to residents of the Denver region’s lowest income communities.

E-Governance Institute

Locarion: Newark, NJ

Website: www.spaa.newark.rutgers.edu/home/ncpp/institutes/e-governance-institute.html

The E-Governance Institute's mission is to explore how the internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) have and will continue to impact productivity and performance on the public sector and how e-governance fosters new and deeper citizen involvement within the governing process.
The institute is committed through its work to supporting the gathering and sharing of knowledge, information and data in order to increase the understanding of how e-governance can strengthen the fundamental partnership between the public sector and the private citizen.

Governments at all levels have been transitioning to e-governance platforms for delivering better services, improving government efficiency and effectiveness, achieving transparency and accountability, and facilitating direct citizen participation. Through research, examples of best practice and scholarly discourse regarding ICTs and their impact on government performance, the Institute provides a source of information that continues to push the study of e-governance to new frontiers.

Information-age governing presents an entirely new set of challenges for decision-makers, public sector professionals and citizens. Finding solutions to these challenges is the primary role of the E-Governance Institute. As part of Rutgers University's National Center for Public Performance, the institute focusus its activities on emerging e-governance issues impacting on all levels of government, the nonprofit sector, the private sector, and the civil society.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Location: Nationwide

Website: www.parkscore.org

ParkScore is the most comprehensive rating system ever developed to measure how well the 40 largest U.S. cities are meeting the need for parks.

Using an advanced GIS (Geographic Information System), ParkScore provides in-depth data to guide local park improvement efforts. Our mapping technology identifies which neighborhoods and demographics are underserved by parks and how many people are able to reach a park within a ten-minute walk.

Cities can earn a maximum ParkScore of 100. For easy comparison and at-a-glance assessment, each city is also given a rating of zero to five park benches.

Parks are important to communities. Close-to-home opportunities to exercise and experience nature are essential for our physical and mental well-being. Studies show that parks can encourage physical activity, reduce crime, revitalize local economies, and help bring neighborhoods together.