"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.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Steel Yard

Location: Providence, RI

Website: www.thesteelyard.org

The Steel Yard offers arts and technical training programs designed to increase opportunities for cultural and artistic expression, career-oriented training, and small business incubation.

Our work is made possible through a combination of program-related earned income, private and government grants, corporate giving and individual philanthropy.

We are located at the historic Providence Steel and Iron site, along the Woonasquatucket River in the heart of Providence's industrial Valley neighborhood.

Our 10,000 square foot industrial shop includes:

- Welding, blacksmithing, jewelry, ceramics, and foundry space,

- Ceramics Cooperative,

- Jewelry Cooperative,

- Studio Access Opportunities, and

- Outdoor multi-use work and exhibition space.

The Steel Yard's programs cater to working artists, students, community members, tradespeople, arts educators and entrepreneurs.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Baltimore Slumlord Watch

Location: Baltimore, MD

Website: www.slumlordwatch.wordpress.com

Baltimore Slumlord Watch was created in January of 2009, as a way for city residents to discuss and share information on Baltimore’s many slumlords.

Started by a resident who was tired of watching out of town “investors” and others destroy neighborhoods as a result of their negligence, we hope this blog will serve as a valuable service to other city residents who are sick of the problems slumlords cause in our communities.

Please note, we do not work for realtors, developers, or property investors, and have no financial interest in property in Baltimore City.


Location: New York, NY

Website: www.mannahatta2409org

Mannahatta 2409, currently under development, will offer an online forum to enable the public to develop and share climate-resilient designs for Manhattan based on realistic model assessments of carbon, water, biodiversity, and population.

The project is scheduled for launch in late Fall 2013.

Because ecology has largely been ignored by past generations, New York City, like most modern cities, has inherited a series of interconnected problems of ecological performance: stormwater management, climate change adaptation and mitigation, brownfield remediation, and ecological restoration.

The first step in rectifying these problems is to think of the city as a vital ecological place, an ecosystem with attributes like a forest, a wetland, or a stream, but designed for people.

Mannahatta 2409 will be a map-based web application meant to inspire, inform, and generate new ideas about sustainable urban forms from the many diverse people who love New York City, Manhattan in particular.

We want to engage everyone, from city officials to schoolchildren, in the search for ecologically informed sustainability, as measured by ecological performance indicators related to carbon, water, biodiversity, and population.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.maccno.com

The Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans emerged from the meetings initially called for by Kermit Ruffins beginning in late September 2012 in response to the controversial increase in enforcement imposed on live music venues, and now serves as a platform from which all members of the cultural community may have a voice in decisions that directly affect them and the cultural economy of this city.

Our group is a diverse set of individuals, which include, in addition to musicians: street performers, venue owners and their staff, artists, lawyers and other advocates, craft-makers, traditional culture bearers, 2nd-line vendors, small-business owners, urban planners, and concerned citizens.

MACCNO facilitates discussions on issues concerning the New Orleans’ cultural economy and is dedicated to ensuring that all members of the cultural community have equal access to opportunity and a voice in the decision making process.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Opportunity Village Eugene

Location: Eugene, OR

Website: www.opportunityvillageeugene.org

Opportunity Village is a pilot project that will provide transitional micro-housing for 30-40 homeless individuals and couples at a time.
br> Design and organization of the village will be based upon best practices derived from a comprehensive study of long standing “tent cities” in the United States, lessons learned from local encampments, and a creative understanding of permaculture principles.

The transitional micro-housing will be compact (60-100 square feet) and transportable (less than 8 feet wide).

The idea is to combine a sense of ownership over a small, private space with an abundance of shared, common spaces that include cooking facilities, gathering areas, restrooms, and micro-business opportunities.

The village will be built through a collaboration between village residents, community volunteers, and skilled builders.

The Village will be self-managed with oversight provided by a 501(c)3 Board of Directors.  Basic rules will be upheld through a community agreement that prohibits stealing, violence, and drug or alcohol use.

Furthermore, it requires that all residents contribute to the operation and maintenance of the village through participating in security shifts, fundraising events, construction projects, cooking, gardening, or any number of other supportive activities.

This encourages both skill and relationship building, emphasizing the transitional aspect of the village.

The purpose of the project is to bridge the existing gap between the housed and the unhoused, create a place for that collaboration to occur, and build social capital.

This is how we believe we can effectively transition people off the streets, through the village, and into more permanent living situations.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Build a Better Burb

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.buildabetterburb.org

Build a Better Burb is an online publication dedicated to improving suburban design and planning. It uses engaging visuals to help suburban residents and leaders explore solutions from across the country that can be applied to their communities.

By showcasing innovative ideas and outstanding projects, the site seeks to inspire conversation about the importance of design and planning within suburban communities.

The articles on the site highlight bold ideas for improving housing, regional planning, parking and transit, and a sense of place within suburban downtowns and neighborhoods.

The Build a Better Burb website evolved from a design competition that was sponsored by the Long Island Index in 2010. The Build a Better Burb competition called for bold ideas from architects, urban designers, planners, and visionaries for the underutilized land in Long Island’s downtowns.

The goal was to reimagine what might be possible for our region. Seeing the scope of the problems facing Long Island, we realized that small tinkering at the edges wasn’t going to stop the brain drain or create vibrant town centers or convince businesses to locate here in order to reinvigorate our sagging economy.

We knew there was land to build on – 8,300 acres, in fact, within just ½ mile of our over 100 downtown communities. But where were the exciting ideas of what we might create there? For too long, there has been a crisis of imagination.

Bold new ideas are urgently needed. So in recruiting designers for the competition, we asked that they drop any preconceived notions about what was or was not possible.

We asked:

What would you do on these acres of opportunity? Build a car-free community? Plant an oasis of urban agriculture? Produce renewable energy and with it, provide well-paying green jobs? Use landscape systems to repair regional ecologies? Enhance public space and the civic realm?

The Build a Better Burb competition asked for innovative solutions at a variety of scales, from small-scale to regional. It sought both prototypical ideas as well as concepts tailored to particular downtowns. Photographs, renderings, plans, diagrams and other illustrations were requested to illustrate entrants’ ideas.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Catalytic Communities

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Website: www.catcomm.org

Based in Rio de Janeiro, Catalytic Communities (CatComm) is an empowerment, communications, think tank and advocacy NGO run as a small, adaptive collaborative network which works to support and empower residents of informal settlements.

As needs among favela residents and their leaders evolve, we do too.

CatComm functions as a news source, agenda-setter, movement-builder and research collaborative, each to a lesser or greater extent at any time, as needs dictate. We are the only organization in Rio working at the intersection of community development, international networks, media and urban planning.

For 13 years we have been supporting community organizing efforts across Rio de Janeiro by developing and providing access to communications and networking tools and spaces supporting favela development tailored in strategic ways when the time is right.

CatComm is classified as a 501[c][3] not-for-profit organization in the United States, in addition to our charity status in Brazil, because of our commitment to developing educational and free services that empower those most at-risk.

We conscientiously incubate programs to support Rio de Janeiro’s informal settlements knowing such communities will constitute a third of the world’s population by 2050 and document what we do to serve as an example for other cities across the globe.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Urban Development Institute


Website: www.udi.bc.ca

The Urban Development Institute is a national non-profit association (with international affiliations) of the development industry and its related professions that is non-partisan in its activities.

With over 600 corporate members, UDI Pacific represents thousands of individuals involved in all facets of land development and planning, including: developers, property managers, financial lenders, lawyers, engineers, planners, architects, appraisers, real estate professionals, local governments and government agencies.

Since 1972, the Pacific Region has been dedicated to fostering effective communication between the industry, government, and the public; and aims to improve both housing and job opportunities for all British Columbians.

UDI Pacific also serves as the public voice of the real estate development industry, communicating with the media on a number of issues. UDI concentrates its activities in three primary areas: government relations, professional development and education, and research. As a "Partner in Community Building," the Urban Development Institute is committed to working with communities and governments to create and achieve the vision of balanced, well-planned and sustainable communities.

The Urban Development Institute, a non-profit association of the development industry in British Columbia, promotes wise and efficient urban growth, good planning and good development practices, affordable housing and high quality commercial and industrial developments.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Data Driven Detroit

Location: Detroit,

Website: www.datadrivendetroit.org

From the Michigan Metropolitan Information Center at Wayne State University, to the Southeast Michigan Information Center at United Way, there have been many initiatives to collect and democratize data about Detroit and its neighborhoods.

In 2008, The Skillman Foundation and The Kresge Foundation awarded City Connect Detroit a $1.85 million grant to incubate Data Driven Detroit (originally named the Detroit-Area Community Information System).

Within its first year, D3 was selected by the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP). NNIP is a select group of organizations that have built advanced and continuously updated data systems to track neighborhood conditions in their cities.

In December 2012, after an extensive period of review, discussion and due diligence, Data Driven Detroit became an affiliated program of the Michigan Nonprofit Association.

This move has strengthened D3′s operations and increased our exposure to a statewide network of member nonprofits and philanthropic organizations. Data Driven Detroit provides accessible, high-quality information and analysis to drive informed decision-making.

D3 believes that direct and practical use of data by grassroots leaders and public officials promotes thoughtful community building and effective policymaking.

As a “one-stop-shop” for data about the city of Detroit and the metro area, D3 provides unprecedented opportunity for collaboration and capacity building in Southeast Michigan.

D3 incorporates features of “neighborhood data systems” that have been created in a variety of cities across the country. Such systems have been recognized and championed by the Urban Institute, which created the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership in 1995. NNIP partner communities incorporate a number of different models of data access and analysis.

While their structures, staff, and delivery mechanisms may differ, they share a set of principles that D3 supports:

- Design indicator systems for the explicit purpose of changing things – not just to monitor trends.

- Develop a single integrated system that can support one-stop shopping.

- Develop indicators at the neighborhood level – not just for the city as a whole.

- Build a data “warehouse” from which indicator reports can be derived – not just a set of files on indicators.

- Serve multiple users but emphasize using information to build capacity in poor communities.

- Democratize information – help stakeholders use information directly themselves.

- Help stakeholders use data to tackle local issues, but do so in a way that leads toward more comprehensive strategies.

- Use information as a bridge to promote collaboration.

- Use available indicators but recognize their inadequacies – particularly the lack of sufficient data on community assets.

- Assure integrity in the data and the institution that provides them.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Transportation for America

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.t4america.org

Transportation for America is an alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country, united to ensure that states and the federal government step up to invest in smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation solutions. These are the investments that hold the key to our future economic prosperity.

Strong local economies are the foundation of a strong national economy. Across the country, business, civic and elected leaders understand that a strong transportation network drives the success of our local economies.

They know local employers need to be able to recruit and retain workers both within and from outside their home communities, and they need efficient ways to get their goods to market. Workers of all incomes need affordable, dependable access to jobs. And our cities, suburbs and towns must be able to attract talent and compete on a global scale.

In communities across the country, local leaders are responding to new economic challenges with innovative plans for their transportation networks. But alone, they lack the resources, and the control over them, to build and maintain the infrastructure their economies demand. At the same time, transportation funding at all levels of government is shrinking rather than growing, due to slackening gas tax receipts and budget cuts.

This situation threatens America’s ability to compete economically. Transportation for America is bringing people together to change it, in Congress and state houses across the nation.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Location: Nationwide

Website: www.iap2usa.org

Transportation for America is an alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country, united to ensure that states and the federal government step up to invest in smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation solutions. These are the investments that hold the key to our future economic prosperity.

Strong local economies are the foundation of a strong national economy. Across the country, business, civic and elected leaders understand that a strong transportation network drives the success of our local economies.

They know local employers need to be able to recruit and retain workers both within and from outside their home communities, and they need efficient ways to get their goods to market. Workers of all incomes need affordable, dependable access to jobs. And our cities, suburbs and towns must be able to attract talent and compete on a global scale.

In communities across the country, local leaders are responding to new economic challenges with innovative plans for their transportation networks. But alone, they lack the resources, and the control over them, to build and maintain the infrastructure their economies demand. At the same time, transportation funding at all levels of government is shrinking rather than growing, due to slackening gas tax receipts and budget cuts.

This situation threatens America’s ability to compete economically. Transportation for America is bringing people together to change it, in Congress and state houses across the nation.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Car-Free Day Vancouver

Location: Vancouver, BC

Website: www.carfreevancouver.org

Commercial Drive Festival launched the first community- driven Car-Free Festival in Vancouver as a response to the provincial government’s Gateway Program, also known as the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project. Organizers also wanted to create a community festival at a time when there were few such events in the city.

The Festival was wholly volunteer-organized and presented, involving over 30 core organizers and 300 volunteers. It was an enormous success, bringing over 25,000 people out to celebrate the community and party in the street.

After that, the Festival happened in 2006 and twice in the summer of 2007, snowballing in popularity and attracting up to 40,000 people per day. Clearly, car-free days were an idea whose time had come.

The first annual Car-Free Vancouver Day, on Sunday June 15, 2008 ushered in the next phase in this bold experiment that had been gradually happening in Vancouver for many years. It took the car-free meme to the whole city, and represented the next level in our evolution toward healthy communities, authentic cultural celebrations, and car-free streets.

On that day, FOUR communities presented their own Car-Free Festivals: Kitsilano, West End, Main Street, and Commercial Drive. Each Festival was envisioned and organized by the local core organizers, and each had a unique flavour.

Keep watching our website for more details on the individual Festivals. And then, choose your Festival and get involved! You can be an organizer, a pod-head, a spontaneous participant, or a day-of volunteer (for an hour or two, or for the whole day) — whatever turns you on. You don’t necessarily need to volunteer where you live — and of course, you are free to rove from Fest to Fest throughout the city, and get a taste of different neighbourhood celebrations. You will meet great people, have lots of fun, and become part of the future of our magical city.

The City of Vancouver, both staff and elected officials, has been enormously supportive of this initiative, and continues to encourage us to create the city of our dreams. We thank them for their vision and support.


Location: Chicago, IL

Website: www.freshmoves.org

Step inside a reconditioned city bus in Chicago this Thanksgiving, and you can buy cranberries and green beans where commuters once sat. The Fresh Moves mobile produce market-- which inspired other pop-up grocery stores across the country-- plans to reopen on the weekend of November 23, intent on proving to larger supermarkets that there’s a market for fresh produce in food deserts.

"It hasn’t been an easy to get this far. Some critics have questioned whether having access to supermarkets is the real public health problem, citing studies that say even when new grocery stores are added to a neighborhood, people often still make unhealthy choices.

“When you change someone’s perception of kale and they find out it can be tasty, they want to come back to you. It’s different than a fast food restaurant where it’s all about transactional count. We recognize in some cases we have to take a slower approach to educate our consumers so they become repeat customers."

Steven Casey, who first founded Fresh Moves with a single recycled city bus in 2011 and is working to get it back on the road next week, agrees that access isn’t the only critical factor. “If you’ve been without healthy food for so long, you might not necessarily know what to do if someone sells you that food today.

There’s an education or re-education process, I believe, [that] is a strong component of what we need,” Casey says, explaining that Fresh Moves provides cooking demos and recipe cards.

But Casey says he still believes access is equally important--and just because a store might look relatively close on a map doesn't mean it's easy to get there. "If you’re relegated to public transportation, your view on accessibility is much different than those of us with cars. I live in a neighborhood that’s considered a food desert. And the only difference between myself and some of my neighbors around the corner is that I do have a car. I know that when I don’t have a vehicle, as much as I may have a desire to go to that wonderful store downtown, it’s not fun taking one or two buses to get there, and then turning around and carrying back groceries on the bus, or paying to take a cab, or trying to fit it into your schedule if you work late at night."

"Fresh Moves, instead, brings food as close to someone’s front door as possible, as often as possible. With targeted stops at schools or other community centers, a few times over a day, the bus can bring a single-aisle produce department within reach of hundreds of people.

The organization chose to repurpose an old bus not just because it was mobile but because it could be used all year long, unlike a converted food truck used for a similar mobile grocery in Oakland, California. “A day like today in Chicago, where it’s 45 degrees, raining, and maybe snow showers, you can’t stand outside and shop,” says Casey.

The bus was also easy to get. Every 12 years or 250,000 miles, buses are retired, because the federal government will fund replacements at that point. So buses might sit unused on a lot, or be scrapped for parts. When they still run, they can be sold cheaply, or, in Fresh Moves’ case, donated.

Fresh Moves operates like a social enterprise, Casey says, but is registered as a nonprofit so that it can get donations like the buses and other philanthropic support. Since fruits and vegetables are low-margin items even for large grocery store chains, it would be challenging to run as a business alone.

Even with some outside funding, the organization struggled to manage operations, and after parting ways with its executive director in August, decided to temporarily stop running to figure out a sustainable operating plan.

Now, the organization plans to partner with others to help reduce some of its costs. "We had challenges of going to normal produce houses as a little vendor, because then you’re buying at straight market prices," said Casey. Experts in produce sourcing will help try to bring those expenses down, and others with extra freezer space will share with the organization.

Casey is eager to get his buses back on the road, saying the community needs them, and the benefits aren't just about health. "We’re bringing back civility to the shopping experience--we don’t have bulletproof glass, we don’t have a security guard, we try to make the environment as open and welcoming as possible," he says.

"For the community, we need to restore our services. They want us back. There aren’t stores out there today. Here we are on a cold November day, and there’s somebody who last November was able to shop. This November--until we reopen--they’re not."

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Grow Community

Location: Bainbridge Island, WA

Website: www.growbainbridge.com

As we looked around ourselves, and began to think, really think, about the way we live and the way we want to live, we found that there are many things still to be done.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have solar panels on the roof? Wouldn’t it be great if the kids could safely walk to school? And the library? And the ice cream store? What if we had more time to garden, and wouldn’t it be nice to know the neighbors?

So we began to ask our friends, if you could describe the perfect neighborhood, what would it look like? And we found so many answers. So we set out to create a new kind of place to live. For ourselves and for others.

Over the last year, we have created a vision of a connected urban community, where people of all generations and a diversity of economic means can live mindful of their impact on the planet, in a neighborhood where environmental, economic and social sustainability are equally valued and where all people can focus on creating abundance, in their relationships to others, to nature and to the community.

But our vision is not complete. There is still so much to do, so much to learn and so much possibility. Each day we create more ideas and challenge ourselves to do better.

We’ve figured out how to provide net-zero energy homes. But what about transportation? We think we’ve figured that out too, but we’ll learn more as we test out our plans. How can we most effectively reduce water use? Increase local food consumption? What kind of playgrounds will our children like best?

How shall we design the community center so it really does become that welcoming ‘third place’ where neighbors gather and connect?

Please join us in helping to shape this community, with your ideas, your vision, your enthusiasm. It takes a village. Let’s grow one.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Talking Transition

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.talkingtransitionnyc.com

For the first time in 12 years, New Yorkers will have a new mayor. On January 1, 2014 the mayor-elect will be inaugurated to become the leader of the largest city in the United States. He will inherit a $70 billion budget, assume responsibility for administering city services and overseeing public agencies.

As the city's chief executive, he will manage 250,000 employees - including teachers, police officers, fire fighters, and sanitation workers - and enforce all city and state laws in the five boroughs.

Aside from these important administrative responsibilities, the new mayor will directly represent the 8.3 million people who call the city home. To do that effectively, he must listen to what they have to say.

Talking Transition seeks to give New Yorkers a voice during this transfer of power, creating a more transparent process. Whether it's in the tent, at the mobile “tents,”, or in public spaces across the city, this project invites New Yorkers to come together and re-imagine what the city can and will be in the future.

By joining the conversation, New Yorkers can share their ideas and concerns, inform the new mayor's agenda, and continue to move this city forward.

It’s time to start talking.

Want to organize a discussion in The Tent?

Talking Transition is offering small grants to organizations with 501c3 status to produce interactive and engaging events in the Talking Transition tent. Funds would support the staff capacity and/or production expenses involved in convening a multi-part, ninety minute or longer, interactive event. The convening organization would also need to demonstrate their capacity to mobilize at least 200 people for participation.

The foundations sponsoring Talking Transition will evaluate each proposal.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Friends of the Cabildo

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.friendsofthecabildo.org

Friends of the Cabildo is a private non-profit volunteer group that provides financial and volunteer support for the Louisiana State Museum, its projects and its properties.

Since incorporating in 1956, the Friends of the Cabildo has grown into a large statewide membership organization, a dynamic and motivating force in broadening and supporting the aims of the Louisiana State Museum.

New Communities Program

Location: Chicago, IL


The new communities program is a long-term initiative of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation/Chicago to support comprehensive community development in 16 Chicago neighborhoods. The 10-year effort seeks to rejuvenate challenged communities, bolster those in danger of losing ground, and preserve the diversity of areas in the path of gentrification. NCP neighborhoods span a cross-section of Chicago's South, Southwest, West and Northwest sides. Each effort is led by a neighborhood-based lead agency that coordinates programs among other local organizations and citywide support groups. The 14 lead agencies (one of which serves three adjacent communities) have at their disposal:

- Two full-time staff positions: an NCP director and an organizer.

- A pool of loan and grant funds to mount short- and long-term initiatives. The funds, distributed by LISC on a competitive basis, serve as seed money to leverage other public and private resources.

- Technical support and peer-learning opportunities, including planning expertise, trainings, access to subject-area experts and meetings with peers in other NCP agencies.

Lead agencies are encouraged to forge partnerships with other nonprofit groups, businesses, government and residents to address issues such as affordable housing, prisoner re-entry, cultural programming, education reform, and community marketing.

All NCP neighborhoods have undertaken a structured community planning process that involved local residents and leaders in the creation of strategies to improve the community's quality of life.

Three communities completed plans in a pilot phase of the program, from 1998 through 2002; most of the others participated in neighborhood planning programs leading to a quality-of-life plan between May 2003 and May 2005. A total of 3,000 people across the city participated in the meetings that produced the NCP plans, which were unveiled May 18, 2005 during a downtown ceremony attended by 500 residents and other partners including Mayor Richard M. Daley.

- Agencies involved in NCP will spend 10 years and perhaps more implementing their plans.

Creating local and citywide partnerships, communities are addressing issues including employment, parks and recreation, health care, housing affordability, commercial and retail development, child care, education quality, neighborhood aesthetics and personal security.

NCP is designed to strengthen communities from within - through planning, organizing and human development. The comprehensive approach helps broaden opportunities for local residents through better education, broader job choices, safer streets, new economic opportunities and stronger personal finances. This strengthened community is better equipped to take advantage of larger market forces:

- Attracting retail and housing development to areas that have experienced little new construction.

- Achieving economic balance in neighborhoods where working-class residents fear displacement by higher-income newcomers.

- Creating stronger connections to metropolitan-wide business, employment and educational opportunities.

A central NCP strategy is to create active communication among participating communities, lead agencies and support organizations. By documenting the activities and sharing strategies and methods through a newsletter, meetings, training sessions, web site and other methods, NCP hopes to multiply the impact of each neighborhood's work while advancing knowledge of community development practice.

More than $47 million has been committed to NCP by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and LISC/Chicago to provide lead agencies with staffing, planning assistance and project seed money. Additional funding has been secured from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bank One (Chase), Joyce Foundation, Living Cities, Mayor's Office of Workforce Development, Partnership for New Communities, Polk Bros. Foundation, State Farm Insurance Companies and the Steans Family Foundation. LISC/Chicago and the lead agencies will seek the additional private and public support necessary to implement the quality-of-life plans. NCP is one of four demonstration projects of Living Cities, a partnership formerly called the National Community Development Initiative.

Fab Lab DC

Location: Washington, DC

Website: fablabdc.org

Give ordinary people the right tools, and they will design and build the most extraordinary things.

That’s the idea behind Fab Labs, which originated at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms by Professor Neil Gershenfeld, who teaches How To Make (Almost) Anything.

Fab Labs provide access to prototype tools for personal fabrication, like a personal computer that can output functional objects instead of images on a screen.

The labs have spread from inner-city Boston to Africa and Norway, with projects tackling applications in areas including healthcare, agriculture, housing, and communications.

FAB LAB DC serves and fosters the creative community by providing access to digital fabrication technology, rapid prototyping, and the global Fab Lab network.

In the spirit of MIT’s Fab Lab community outreach project, FAB LAB DC brings a high-tech,fabrication laboratory/community workshop to the heart of the Nation’s Capital advancing creativity, innovation, and collaborative projects.

Fab Labs enable people to use technology to create, experiment and produce, shifting the paradigm away from people merely “consuming” technology toward using technology to create solutions.

With a focus on life-long learning and emphasis on investigative teamwork, FAB LAB DC provides a range of educational opportunities for people of all ages, including access to the international Fab Lab network and Fab Academy, which extend opportunities for information sharing, research, and broader social impact. FAB LAB DC is for local community members, life-long learners, inventors, entrepreneurs, creatives, and professionals.

With its location within walking distance and in view of the U.S. Capitol Building, FAB LAB DC will also serve as a model for the nation’s leaders in policy, government, and industry, to experience, first hand, Fab Lab’s grass-roots approach in developing technical education and literacy, promoting innovation, launching inventions, and incubating new businesses.

Untapped Cities

Location: International

Website: untappedcities.com

Untapped Cities is a community of over 200 contributors uncovering the best of urban life from cities around the globe.

Our writers and photographers are in the streets, unearthing quirky places, stories and events.

We’re interested in what’s unseen–whether hidden, unnoticed or lost in the past–and how it informs city life now and in the future.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Location: St. Louis, MO

Website: citypulsestl.org

CityPulse is citywide network of beacons that provides pedestrian lighting as interactive art, detects and reports street-level activity in real time, creates civic connections, and offers a new platform for human interactions and entrepreneurship.

Each beacon is a modified standard of an existing lighting product equipped with inexpensive infrared sensors and micro controllers. CityPulse gathers pedestrian motion data for display via the CityPulse Map, which can be viewed on any number of digital devices. Choose to overlay the Map with additional data from other open-API resources.

Because the Map is accessible through any web-capable device, it translates seamlessly into a mobile application or a touch-screen kiosk, making it an invaluable exploration resource for locals and tourists alike. Find a bus stop, see who’s playing at that venue, or just choose a new place to get coffee.

The beacons are available in two sizes: a planted 21-foot-tall Home Beacon and a wall-mounted 10-foot-tall Satellite Beacon. The two different options offer different levels of accessibility, accommodating everything from high-traffic hubs to off-the-beaten-path storefronts.

This variety of beacons creates a complete network of nodes into any neighborhood. Once the beacons are hardwired throughout a neighborhood, they will collect Beacon activation information to send in real-time to the interactive activity Map. When a Beacon is activated, it appears as a “blip” on the Map.

Other blips indicate geo-tagged social media activity. The Map interface can be accessed via any web browser, as well as smartphones and tablets. Due to its intuitive design and quick access to location-based data, the Map offers the ideal interface for a public kiosk (see next page), serving as an informational hub for those unfamiliar with the city, or someone simply looking to explore.

Overlaid with the Map are a variety of helpful options including:

- Venues including restaurants, bars, convenience stores, markets, and other amenities, as well as nearby beacons,

- Promotional sales or current coupons in your surrounding area,

- A calendar of events and showtimes to make correlations between crowds and activities,

- Transit routes and schedules, as well as road traffic reports,

- Applied gaming using CityPulse’s API that encourage exploration (i.e. scavenger hunts, check-ins, etc. and,

Interesting city tips, fun facts, architectural history, community art, etc.

Brain Drain

Location: St. Louis, MO

Website: braindrain.co

Brain Drain is the brainchild of a group of young people united by a love for St. Louis. Some of us met in college, while others of us became friends after graduating. We are the ones who stayed, and we are committed to reversing the trend of young people leaving St. Louis.

Brain Drain aims to influence the trajectory of this city we all now proudly call home — and show other young minds that they can, too.

Our passions are urban ones and human ones. We are designers, architects, urban planners, journalists, educators, musicians, brewers, printers, archivists, builders, activists, organizers, mobilizers.

Our respective fields range from as technical as architecture and mechanical engineering to as creative as illustration and printmaking. We want to offer our diverse skills, backgrounds, and passions to solve real problems on a human scale.

Please come to our weekly #crappyhour, the public Creative Happy Hour on Wednesdays at 6 P.M. at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, 3229 Washington Ave. Brain Drain invites all creative people, i.e. all people to #crappyhour tweeted every Wednesday.

Brain Drain is the antidote to urban exodus. Representing young natives and transplants that call St. Louis City home, our projects revere the city’s unique heritage while catalyzing its future. We focus on community-based projects that enhance the vitality of the larger St. Louis region and turn shared experience into shared initiative for our city.

Modern Architecture London

Location: London, England

Website: modernarchitecturelondon.com

Although I grew up in a town outside London, visits to the capital to see family and the sights were frequent throughout my childhood. I'd always been keen on art and design and my interest in modern architecture probably started when my Dad took me to see the Le Corbusier exhibition at the Haywood Gallery in 1987. My first photographs of modern architecture in London were taken in 1988 as part of a school project. I moved to London in 1989 to study graphic design at a place then known as Middlesex Polytechnic.

There are some very good guides to London architecture in book form, but they all have to make compromises because of space limitations. The guides that include a lot of buildings can't devote much space to each one, and often have only a short description with a postage stamp sized photo. Some guides only include the well known buildings or the most recent ones, which means than many interesting places get forgotten about,

The point of this site is to try and take advantage of what websites can offer and combine photos, text, floor plans and mapping information. I'm not limited by space, but I am limited by time. Some buildings have very minimal information at the moment. The site will always be a work in progress and I'm aiming to continue adding to it on a regular basis.

What's the criteria for a building to appear on the site?

The main reason for a building to be on this site is that I like it, or at least find it interesting in some way. There's a major bias towards north London because that's where I live. I'm going to stretch the definition of what counts as London as I see fit - I think the building furthest out is probably Stansted and I've included that because it's thought of as a London airport. The buildings are from the 20th and 21st centuries but I'm going to have to write a separate piece at some point to explain what I consider to be 'modern' architecture.

The purpose of the images on this site is to help explain the buildings - I'm not particularly interested in photography for it own sake. The internet is awash with digital photography and I don't really know what the point of it is most of the time. I'm certainly not trying to create 'art' photographs.

The majority of the photos on the site are taken with a Canon Powershot digital camera. However, you may be able to detect a few traces from a previous era of photography. There are a small number of images from 35mm slide and negative film taken with an SLR camera and a compact camera.

I occasionally do very minor digital retouching but I don't paint out graffiti, streetsigns or any of the other street furniture because I want the photos to be an accurate record of how the building is experienced as much as possible. I often crop the photos and for some of them I distort the image in Photoshop to correct for converging verticals.

Maps are something that guidebooks sometimes struggle with. My copy of Nairn's London contains grid references to an edition of the London A-Z that no longer exists. I'm able to include Google maps and Google streetview in most instances. I've also included bird's eye views from Microsoft 'Bing' - they're a great way to understand the form of a building from an aerial view.

I think floor plans are an essential part of understanding architecture. They're time consuming to research and produce so for now, they are limited to the housing category. All of the floor plans have been redrawn to ensure that they're in the same style and to the same scale.

Where appropriate, I've listed the sources I've used for each of the buildings. Some information comes from the web and some from books. I consult the periodicals in the library at the Royal Institute of British Architects for more detailed information about particular buildings. I've also learnt a lot from numerous visits to buildings as part of the annual Open House event.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Location: Manhattan, NY

Website: www.civitasnyc.org

We are a union of citizens dedicated to improving neighborhood quality of life in the Upper East Side and East Harlem since 1981.

CIVITAS promotes urban planning, zoning and land use policies that are sensible and sensitive to residential life in our neighborhoods.

CIVITAS supports environmentally sound development, vibrant retail activity at street level, uncluttered sidewalks and access to good public transit.

CIVITAS opposes overbearing towers that are non-contextual and cut off light and air from surrounding buildings and the sidewalk below.

CIVITAS commissions urban planning studies, speaks out at public hearings, issues reports and keeps its members informed on current issues impacting on urban life, including traffic congestion, historic preservation, zoning variances, water quality and public access to parks and the waterfront.

In 1981, when CIVITAS was founded, August Heckscher, its first chair, hearkened back to the Roman Republic to find a name that would express the spirit of the new community organization. The name chosen, “CIVITAS,” referred to that quality of a citizen that made him deeply involved in the life and fate of his city. Such has been the guiding spirit for CIVITAS ever since.

The mission of CIVITAS is to foster, mobilize and coordinate civic concern in the community of Manhattan’s Upper East Side and East Harlem. To that end, CIVITAS seeks to promote, preserve and protect residential neighborhoods that are lively and livable.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

People St

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Website: www.peoplest.org

People St offers communities within the City of Los Angeles the opportunity to transform underused areas of LA’s largest public asset – our 6,500 miles of city streets – into active, accessible public space.

Community organizations, business owners and other groups can apply for opportunities to enhance the quality of the public realm through installing three innovative design treatments, including plazas, parklets and bike corrals.

This website is your one stop shop for information, resources and materials on People St Plazas, Parklets, and Bike Corrals, and the process for applying to bring these projects to your neighborhood.

Building from lessons learned from the city’s first six pilot projects, LADOT has been working closely in an unprecedented collaboration with community members, elected officials, and other city staff to develop People St into a program that will expedite project development and implementation with a clear, consistent process.

People St facilitates partnerships between the community and the City of Los Angeles to implement projects that transform redundant or under-used areas of street into high-quality public space.

These cost-efficient conversion projects use simple elements like moveable tables, umbrellas and chairs; paint and plantings; and lively and entertaining programming to create relatively instant transformations to improve the life of a street.

Bringing a People St project to life requires the active participation of community partners to build neighborhood support for a project, identify an appropriate site, conduct outreach, raise the money required, and provide and fund long-term maintenance.

The goal is to create true public-private partnerships on projects that are initiated and driven by and for communities.

People St contributes to more active, livable streets, enhancing quality of life in the City of Los Angeles. Providing expanded public spaces can increase safety for people who walk, bike and take transit, encourage increased levels of walking and bicycling, and support economic vitality.

New local gathering spaces can foster a greater sense of community and social cohesion. Plazas, parklets, and other new types of public space can also become centerpieces of neighborhoods, providing venues for events and celebrations.

All this activity is shown to support local businesses as more pedestrians come to and spend time in neighborhoods.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Urban Assembly

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.urbanassembly.org

The Urban Assembly was founded in 1990 to address a wide range of poverty issues. In the mid-'90s we spearheaded a major planning effort to transform a 300-block area of the South Bronx.

That effort identified the lack of high-quality local secondary schools as a major concern and recommended creating three model high schools, each tied to a major local institution.

In 1997, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and New Visions for Public Schools, the Urban Assembly opened the first of these schools, the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, and in 2002 it opened the second, the Academy for Careers in Sports.

Based on our success, the Urban Assembly was invited to submit proposals for two more schools. In 2003, we opened the Bronx Academy of Letters, and, inspired by the commitment of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, shifted the organization’s focus exclusively to the creation and support of new small schools.

Twenty-one Urban Assembly schools are now up and running.

We are reaching into the communities where kids need us most and giving thousands of students the education they deserve. By every measure, our children are among the city’s most underserved.

94% of our students are African-American and Latino. 69% of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch programs. 70% of 9th graders enter our high schools with scores below city and state proficiency levels in math. 64% are below proficiency in reading. 50% of our students speak a language other than English at home.

Our schools demonstrate that at risk students can achieve incredible success with the right learning environment, instruction and support. The Urban Assembly’s network-wide graduation rate is 76% — 15 points higher than the New York City average and seven points higher than the national average. Several of our schools have graduation rates above 90%.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Joint Center for Economic and Political Studies

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.jointcenter.org

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies works to inform and illuminate the nation's major public policy debates through research, analysis, and information dissemination, with the goal of improving the socioeconomic status of African Americans and other people of color, expanding their effective participation in the political and public policy arenas, and promoting communications and relationships across racial and ethnic lines to strengthen the nation's pluralistic society.

Our high quality research, distinctive analyses of the issues, and experience in assembling effective coalitions have been cited by policy makers as helping to generate innovative, practical solutions to America's most challenging problems.

The Joint Center's approach includes identifying critical and emerging issues and developing research parameters, as well as collaborating with well-known scholars and experts in designing and conducting rigorous investigations, studies, and reports.

Our research findings are publicized in relevant policy circles and among targeted audiences through our strategic partners and with the general public through traditional and new media.

The Joint Center facilitates extensive analysis of facts and issues through the lens of the African American community, with the goal of ensuring its views are considered in the public policy development process.

With our extensive polling of African American voters, we are the nation's key source of information on the black electorate and the elected and appointed officials who represent them at all levels of government.

Friday, October 11, 2013

City Modern

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.citymodernnyc.com

CITY MODERN will showcase the best of New York's design scene with studio tours, panel discussions, cocktail parties, special installations and home tours.

Meet the brilliant minds behind the city's most innovative spaces and engage with topics including fashion and architecture, food and design, the city’s talented young designers, and so much more.

Join us and be inspired by the brilliant designers, architects, and artists that are helping to build, remodel, and preserve our beloved metropolis.

Co-hosted by New York magazine, the second annual CITY MODERN celebrates New York’s incredible modern design and architecture. The week-long festival, helmed by Dwell editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron.

New York design editor Wendy Goodman, brings together a vital design community—accomplished and emerging designers, students, design enthusiasts, and many others—to share their ideas, creativity, and innovations. Exclusive programming, from September 27 through October 4, will include daily panel discussions, compelling home tours, lively parties and receptions, and much more.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Copenhagen Climate Adaption Plan

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Website: subsite.kk.dk/sitecore/content/Subsites/CityOfCopenhagen/SubsiteFrontpage/LivingInCopenhagen/ClimateAndEnvironment/ClimateAdaptation/CopenhagenClimateAdaptionPlan.aspx

We cannot get away from it: the climate is changing, and in the future we will get more rain, higher sea levels and warmer weather.

This presents Copenhagen with a number of challenges. If we wait to deal with them, it will become expensive, and coming generations of Copenhageners will have to use a lot of resources in order to avoid seriously damaging our city.

With this plan, we are meeting the challenges now. Doing this in good time will help us to keep expenses down as well as offering us a number of exciting possibilities. Climate adaptation can contribute to giving us a greener city as well as more growth and more jobs.

In other words, we must exploit the climate challenges positively, by acting in a way which will please both citizens and businesses – not just in 50 years time, but here and now.

Amongst other actions we take, we must cope with the larger quantities of rainwater and ensure a pleasant climate by means of green roofs and facades and more trees as well as green and blue areas.

We have already had excellent experiences with using the challenges we face to provide more opportunities for Copenhageners. The popular harbour swimming pools are the result of persistent efforts to deal with rain water, so that it does not contaminate the harbour waters along with the waste water. The cleanliness of the water in the harbour has attracted international attention and by focusing on climate adaptation, we will gain even more experience in the future about how to develop and adapt solutions which will benefit other cities as well as putting Copenhagen on the map.

This plan is our starting point for incorporating the necessary climate adaptation into our thinking in all areas of the city’s development in good time. So, climate adaptation and the development of an attractive and green major city will become two sides of the same coin.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mi Ciudad Ideal

Location: Bogota, Columbia

Website: www.miciudadideal.com/en

Winka Dubbeldam (Archi-Tectonics) and Rodrigo Nino (Prodigy Network) have developed Downtown Bogotá // My Ideal City, an online platform for the citizens of Bogotá to influence their local city-planning proposals.

Recognizing that middle-class population growth across Latin America often outpaces the speed of urban development, My Ideal City responds to the demand for bottom-up planning measures. If successful, the online-platform could be implemented across the globe.


Location: International

Website: www.urbanretailinstitute.com

On October 20-22 at the Tower of London, CyArk will formally launch the CyArk 500 Challenge to digitally preserve 500 cultural heritage sites within the next five years. We are on a mission to save these cultural heritage sites digitally before more are ravaged by war, terrorism, arson, urban sprawl, climate change, earthquakes, floods, and other threats. There isn’t enough money or enough time to physically save every site, but we do have the 3D technology to digitally save these sites to make them available for generations to come.

The event will include an announcement of the site selection criteria, unveiling of the first sites to be included in the 500, and a call to action from CyArk Founder Ben Kacyra.

The launch will be followed by a two-day conference attended by cultural heritage, technology, and philanthropy leaders from around the world. The launch and conference will bring together some of the world’s best minds and organizations to share experiences and best methods for capturing, disseminating and archiving information about these sites. The aim is to increase awareness of the need for heritage documentation and preservation, create best practices within the field, embrace new technologies, and find creative ways to increase funding for these initiatives.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Location: International

Website: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/a-pilot-the-first-ekocenter-in-action#TCCC

Today, more than 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and approximately 2.5 billion don’t have adequate sanitation, making billions of people around the world vulnerable to disease and other development challenges.

To help provide communities in need with access to safe drinking water and other basic necessities, The Coca-Cola Company, together with DEKA, and other critical partners including development banks, NGOs and companies, launched EKOCENTER™ - a downtown in a box - with the Slingshot™ water purification system housed within the community center. The EKOCENTER project aims to improve the holistic well-being of developing communities around the world, focusing on those within the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP), the largest, poorest socio-economic group. Globally, this represents nearly 4 billion people who live on less than US$2 per day.

Coca-Cola Company has been committed to making a positive, lasting difference in the local communities in which we operate. Through EKOCENTER, we are striving to continue this commitment. The project, which began as a pilot in South Africa in August 2013, will not only help deliver safe water and other necessities to some of the most remote and distressed areas of the world but also empower community members, especially women, through entrepreneurship and employment opportunities.

EKOCENTER is a modularly designed kiosk with Slingshot at its core, transformed from  a 20-foot shipping container into a hub of community activity, offering clean, safe drinking water, alongside other services, such as access to wireless communication, electricity, vaccination storage, and more tailored to address community needs. EKOCENTER strives to help communities thrive— each and every community member—from the people using EKOCENTER to the local entrepreneur operating it.

By 2015, we will place between 1,500 and 2,000 units in the form of EKOCENTERs, “downtowns in a box,” or Slingshot water purification systems to deliver further services beyond clean water, in Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America. Through this commitment, we aim to deliver 500 million liters of safe drinking water, while promoting greater local development in communities that need it most.

What is Slingshot technology? Each EKOCENTER is equipped with Slingshot technology. The Slingshot water purification system—developed in partnership with DEKA R&D—uses vapor compression distillation (VCD) technology to turn any source of dirty water—river water, ocean water and even raw sewage—into safe, clean drinking water. The technology, invented by inventor and DEKA R&D President Dean Kamen, delivers approximately 800 liters of clean water daily at the hourly electricity cost of less than a standard handheld hair dryer (1kWh).

In 2012, our Company announced a partnership with DEKA at the Clinton Global Initiative to deliver stand-alone Slingshot water purification systems to schools, community centers and health clinics in rural communities in countries throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America, and as an expansion of this partnership, Slingshot will be a key component of the EKOCENTER project.

In 2013, we are deploying units in Africa and Latin America. Building on current pilot work initiated in Paraguay, Mexico and South Africa by The Coca-Cola Company and DEKA, the project will expand in early 2014 to additional markets.

Community participation and support are essential to the success of EKOCENTER, which is why we envision EKOCENTER being operated by local female entrepreneurs, complementing our initiative, and with support from technology, development, and financial partners.

We recognize that partnership with other companies, NGOs and government partners is key to leverage collective thinking, experience, innovation, products and financial support to execute EKOCENTER in a thoughtful manner with long-term viability in mind. Working with business, government and civil society – what we call the “Golden Triangle” – is key to making a positive difference on global challenges.

With help from DEKA, we have developed a partnership to support the EKOCENTER project. Their expertise enables us to do far more than we could alone.

EKOCENTER represents an investment in the future prosperity and progress of some of the most fragile and at-risk communities we serve,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. “Through EKOCENTER we have the ability to change lives by offering access to safe drinking water and other needed resources, all while empowering local entrepreneurs. What started as an aspiration is now becoming a reality as we welcome our partners across the golden triangle of business, government and civil society to scale and improve this innovation.

Located on the ground of Coca-Cola’s Valpre natural spring water bottling plant, the EKOCENTER pilot elevates our Slingshot initiative by introducing a training facility for bottling partners, women and young entrepreneurs as we test this program for future expansion. The project supports our global commitment to replenish the water used in our beverages and their production, and to empower people and communities through employment. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fare & Square

Location: Chester, PA

Website: www.fareandsquare.org

Lack of access to healthy food is a critical issue in the Delaware Valley. There are 35 “food deserts” in the area as determined by the USDA. By the end of this summer, there will be one less.

Chester has been without a grocery store since 2001 and more than 54% of families in the City must travel too far for groceries, according to a Philabundance Community Survey conducted in July 2010. That’s why we are bringing the nonprofit grocery store, Fare and Square, to 9th and Trainer Streets (opening in September 2013).

Fare & Square will offer shoppers convenient access to “good food right around the corner” that has not been available to residents in a full-scale grocery store in years. We will sell nutritious food staples with a focus on fresh produce, meats, deli, dairy, seafood, and frozen foods and will help stretch customers’ dollars and give them more for their money. SNAP (Food Stamps) will be accepted along with everyday low pricing for all customers, as well as a percentage off of future purchases. Fare & Square will also offer SNAP outreach.

We have rehabbed the last operating full-scale grocery store space in Chester, which closed in 2001, creating a new gateway at the corner of 9th and Trainer. What’s more, Fare & Square will create 40 to 50 new jobs in Chester, hiring from the community as much as possible.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Urban Institute

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.urban.org

The Urban Institute gathers data, conducts research, evaluates programs, offers technical assistance overseas, and educates Americans on social and economic issues — to foster sound public policy and effective government.

The Urban Institute builds knowledge about the nation’s social and fiscal challenges, practicing open-minded, evidence-based research to diagnose problems and figure out which policies and programs work best, for whom, and how.

- Explore the work of our ten targeted policy centers and discover the breadth of the Institute's impact.

- Review our research publications, most freely available to all,

In the mid-1960s, President Johnson saw the need for independent nonpartisan analysis of the problems facing America's cities and their residents. The President created a blue-ribbon commission of civic leaders who recommended chartering a center to do that work. In 1968, the Urban Institute became that center.

Our Commitments:

- Use rigorous, state-of-the-art methods to analyze public policies and programs,
- Bring sound objective evidence to public policy decisions.

- Deepen public understanding of policy issues,

- Save government and communities time and money through research on effective and efficient programs,

- Work to make our Washington, D.C., metropolitan area a stronger community.

Clean Water Action

Location: Colorado

Website: www.cleanwateraction.org

Clean Water Action is a one million member organization of diverse people and groups joined together to protect our environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life.

Our goals include clean, safe and affordable water; prevention of health threatening pollution; creation of environmentally safe jobs and businesses; and empowerment of people to make democracy work.

Clean Water Action organizes strong grassroots groups and coalitions and campaigns to elect environmental candidates and solve environmental and community problems.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Barcelona Urban Lab

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Website: www.urbanretailinstitute.com

One of the aims of the "22@Barcelona" municipal company is to consolidate Barcelona’s role as an innovative city and to foster innovation in its business fabric.

BARCELONA URBAN LAB was created under this framework as a specific line of action to foster use of the city as an urban laboratory. Through this project, the city is made available to companies with innovative projects to test their infrastructures and services for the future in a real environment.

Urban Lab is a tool to facilitate the use of public spaces in the city of Barcelona to carry out tests and pilot programs on products and services with an urban impact, which are in the pre-market stage and in line with the Barcelona City Council’s aims, priorities and lines of action.

Urban Lab acts as a gateway to the City Council and facilitates internal coordination among the different areas. The form detailing the pilot proposal is presented to the Urban Lab Board, made up of members that are directly responsible for different areas of action (such as urban-planning, mobility, environment, etc.) and this group approves or rejects implementation of the plan.

Urban Lab allows for the creation of pilot programs but is not a tool to sell products that already exist on the market. In fact, the pilot programs are funded by the companies themselves and this is not a funding tool for innovative projects. Furthermore, carrying out a pilot program doesn’t imply any commitment on behalf of the Barcelona City Council to implement the solution tested in the long term.

The pilot programs must demonstrate an express need to use public spaces, the city streets. Other types of products/services will not be admitted into this project.

Urban Lab isn’t a showroom for products or services currently available on the market or that are being marketed. This project seeks out innovative solutions to unresolved needs.

The pilot programs must meet the Barcelona City Council’s real needs and must have a direct impact on the functioning of the city or on the services provided by the City Council itself, benefiting residents.

To foster business innovation through 22@Barcelona, the innovation district.

To reduce time to market for companies through pilot programs and, if these demonstrate their value, to allow them to then market their product or service on a large scale in Barcelona or any other city in the world.

To learn and create new products or services than can bring improvements to Barcelona’s residents.

Better products, better solutions, and better municipal services.

Test space and testing in a real environment to facilitate market access and increase business competitiveness.

This is a powerful technology-transfer tool on both a local and international scale.

A tool to facilitate the introduction of new solutions (ongoing improvement).


Location: Nationwide

Website: www.walkyourcity.org

In 1960, 1:4 citizens took one useful, 10 minute walk each day. Now that number is 1:10.

More people live in cities now than ever before. What makes a place more or less walkable is determined by the choices you have to walk somewhere useful as part of your everyday routine. Walkability is becoming a major factor in how we, both citizens and cities, are shaping our future communities.

Take ownership of your streets, improve or share the walkability of your street.

Walk [Your City] empowers you to promote walkability in your community by creating, producing and installing pedestrian wayfinding signage. Signage that is consistent communication and organization of navigational cues from our surrounding environment (i.e. directional signage to get aroundBuild a sign!

Walking builds the local sense of community and helps citizens become more engaged.

Our platform helps community groups, schools and non-profits become neighborhood advocates by making it easy for you to promote walkability.

Interested community group?

Contact us to get more info or go ahead and build a sign.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Flint Public Art Project

Location: Flint, MI

Website: www.flintpublicartproject.com

We organize workshops and temporary installations to inspire residents to reimagine the city, reclaim vacant and underutilized buildings and lots, and use innovative tools to steer Flint's long-range planning.

We support collaboration among local residents and organizations as well as with leading artists, architects, planners and community organizers from around the world, connecting Flint to regional, national and global movements to revitalize neighborhoods and cities through art and design.

We will document and amplify the many ways local residents, businesses and institutions are transforming Flint and its public image and identity, and will broadcast this new story to audiences throughout the city and the world.

Executive Director Stephen Zacks is an internationally recognized architecture and urbanism reporter, theorist and cultural producer based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and a native of Flint, Michigan. Co-founder of the Bring to Light–Nuit Blanche New York festival, he is currently writing Beautiful Ruin: The Generation that Transformed New York, 1967-1986,a nonfiction narrative about New York during the mid-70s fiscal crisis

Director of Programs Jerome Chou is an urban planner and landscape architect. Previously he was Director of Programs for the Design Trust for Public Space, where he led projects to retain garment factories in Midtown Manhattan and to expand urban agriculture throughout New York City. He also has worked for the Baltimore City Planning Department, as a community organizer for ACORN, and for the nonprofit book publisher The New Press.

Architect-in-residence Andrew Perkins recently completed a collaborative Master's thesis project at the University at Buffalo, which transformed an abandoned house into his year-long off-the-grid home, using only waste materials. Focusing on areas of blight, depopulation, and economic tension, he uses waste materials as the common denominator to transcend social and financial gaps. His work with Flint Public Art Project involves transforming the long-vacant Spencer's Mortuary into a cooperative art space and model for material reuse.

James Andrews is an artist, educator, organizer, curator, and arts producer based in New York City. His work involves exploring new forms of social organization and experimental groups. Prior to studying systems approaches to art and collaboration with Paul Ryan at The New School, Andrews was artist in residence at the Banlozi Camp for Refugees in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 2003 he co-produced Art, Circuitry, and Ecology, a conference at the City University of New York Graduate Center and Berkeley Hall of Science, honoring the anthropologist Gregory Bateson. Andrews has exhibited, taught, performed, and organized extensively, including shows and events at Postmasters Gallery, Sculpture Center, the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABC No Rio, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Deitch Projects, and the Queens Museum. Andrews is a founding member of Nsumi Collective. Nsumi creates collaborative artwork that combines fine art, architecture, community engagement and experimental design. They produce and participate in exhibitions and events, conduct research on public art, pedagogy and emerging collaborative practices. Andrews has organized numerous public workshops and lectures on topics such as formal decentralization, swarm intelligence and emerging forms of civic protest with the Museum of Arts and Design, Storefront for Art and Architecture, School of the Future, and Creative Time as a part of the Living as Form show, with Trade School NYC.

His collaborative work has been covered by NHK TV (Japan), The New Yorker, Metro NY, Total Theater Magazine, Archinect, the New York Times, Art News, Waging Non-Violence, and The Economist.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

National Day of Civic Hacking

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.urbanretailinstitute.com

National Day of Civic Hacking is a national event that will take place June 1-2, 2013, in cities across the nation. The event will bring together citizens, software developers, and entrepreneurs from all over the nation to collaboratively create, build, and invent new solutions using publicly-released data, code and technology to solve challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, our cities, our states and our country. National Day of Civic Hacking will provide citizens an opportunity to do what is most quintessentially American: roll up our sleeves, get involved and work together to improve our society.

The event will leverage the expertise and entrepreneurial spirit of those outside federal, state and local government to drive meaningful, technology-based solutions for federal, state and local government. It demonstrates what's possible when we all work together to strengthen our society and our lives. YOU can make a difference no matter where you live.

You should participate in National Day of Civic Hacking because the toughest challenges are not one community’s alone to solve. This is a unique opportunity to:

- get involved, connect with others like yourself,

- develop technology that will make the world a better place,

- demonstrate a commitment to the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration.

- exercise a government’s interest in using open data and technology, in partnership with others, to address your local community’s felt needs,

- liberate open data that can inform better problem solving in every community,

- continue to collectively map a national innovation ecosystem and create new access points to that system,

- engage citizens in cities with little technology infrastructure to contribute to changing their community through open source, open data, entrepreneurship and code development,

- promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education by encouraging students to utilize open technology for solutions to real challenges, and

- encourage large scale partnership and mutual understanding.

National Day of Civic Hacking will not be the same type of event in each city. Depending on the local needs of your community, it might be a block party brigade meetup - or something else entirely.

Our vision is for the National Day of Civic Hacking to take place in at least one city in all 50 states and territories. If you do not see your city on the list and are interested in planning or supporting an event, get involved today!

There are many ways you can get involved in National Day of Civic Hacking. Our success will lie in government agencies, companies, organizations, universities and citizens working together to make a difference.

Plan an event today and bring the National Day of Civic Hacking to your town!

Your first decision will be to determine which type of event you want to host.

Are you interested in helping to host, fund or support an event in your community? This is truly a community effort and we need your help! Contact us for more information on how to get involved. Contribute data, code, or a challenge idea.

Do you have data, APIs, code, or other resources that could help inform solutions? Do you have an idea for a challenge to be addressed?

There are many ways in which you or your organization can support National Day of Civic Hacking. If you are interested in supporting National Day of Civic Hacking at a National Level, contact us. If you are interested in sponsoring exclusively at your local event, check the events page and reach out to an organizer near you.

Valencia Corridor Merchants Association

Location: San Francisco, CA

Website: www.keepvalencialocal.com

The VCMA is a member–operated neighborhood association focused on maintaining the great qualities of the Valencia Corridor.

Our mission is to cultivate and beautify the corridor for the benefit of visitors, residents and merchants. Additionally, we endeavor to combine our voices and views toward the goal of maintaining the unique identity and independent spirit of the neighborhood.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Over The Rhine Foundation

Location: Cinncinnati, OH

Website: www.otrfoundation.org

The Over-the-Rhine Foundation is a non-profit organization, founded in 1992, to help preserve and revitalize Cincinnati’s most historic, diverse and architecturally rich community.

The Over-the-Rhine Foundation works to preserve, protect and celebrate Over-the-Rhine, the historic heart of Cincinnati, by encouraging community growth, sound planning and responsible, sustainable development.

Over-the-Rhine will become an economic and cultural asset for the city of Cincinnati; a revitalized, safe, diverse, beautiful and vibrant community in which to live, work and play.

The Over-the-Rhine Foundation (OTRF) has been working to improve this historically significant neighborhood since 1992. We believe that Over-the-Rhine is more than simply a community worth preserving. It is the heart of Cincinnati and the key to a better future, not only for OTR - but for the region as well.

The OTRF embraces our mission to preserve, protect and celebrate Over-the-Rhine by creating an ecologically sustainable, urban community. We work in collaboration with like-minded organizations, dedicated to re-inventing Over-the Rhine as an exemplary, diverse neighborhood in which to live, work and play.

Rightsizing Streets Guide

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.urbanretailinstitute.com

The needs of our communities evolve over time, and our street design should, too. That’s the idea behind ‘rightsizing streets’ – reconfiguring the layout of our streets to better serve the people who use them, whether they’re commuters driving, shoppers walking, or children bicycling.

Across the country, communities large and small are achieving impressive safety, mobility, and community outcomes by implementing such reconfigurations. Project for Public Spaces created this rightsizing resource to highlight the accomplishments of these communities and share best practices.

Our transportation staff +can advise stakeholders and decision-makers, skillfully facilitate a rightsizing process, and produce rightsized designs for agencies and community groups.

Rightsizing is the process of reallocating a street’s space to better serve its full range of users.

Picture a four lane road that was built thirty years ago in an undeveloped area, but that now has housing, shops, and an elementary school in close vicinity. The needs of the community surrounding that road have changed over three decades – and the design of that road may need to change to meet those needs as well. It may need a sidewalks or a median to help people cross safely, or on-street parking for folks who want to frequent local shops, or other safety features to prevent injuries.

Rightsizing a road can encompass a broad array of redesign measures, and should always be sensitive to context and the vision of the local community, but often involves some or all of the following goals and strategies:

- Rightsizing a street is often a prerequisite to the street becoming a place where people want to be, instead of just a corridor to pass through.

- Rightsizing reconfigures a street to best serve the people who need to use it, whether they’re drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists. By improving safety, especially for people walking or biking, and by increasing space devoted to people, rightsizing projects cause vehicles to slow down and people to spend more time outside on the street.

This is great for people who live in the street’s vicinity, businesses that line it, and those who travel through it.

The most common type of street rightsizing converts a two-way four lane street to a three lane street. Removing one of the vehicle lanes can free up space to add or expand pedestrian, bicycle infrastructure, and on-street parking, or other uses.

A rightsized three lane street commonly has one traffic lane and one bicycle lane in each direction, with a shared two-way left hand turn lane in the center that allows cars in both directions to make a left. These changes help make a street better for the range of people using it, typically without restricting vehicle volumes or lengthening travel times.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development

Location: Washington, DC

Website: www.cnhed.org

CNHED leads nonprofit community development organizations in ensuring that residents with low and moderate incomes have housing and economic opportunities in neighborhoods throughout the District.

CNHED is a dynamic, member-driven 501(c)3 umbrella organization that supports the nonprofit housing and economic development industry in Washington, DC.

Since its inception in 2000, the organization has grown from 55 organizations to over 130 today, due in part to its success in carrying out a highly successful program of advocacy, training, research, communication, and information sharing in support of its members. CNHED’s membership represents a broad spectrum of entities including nonprofit and for-profit affordable housing developers, housing counseling and service agencies, community development corporations, small businesses, lenders, intermediaries, associations and government agencies.  This diversity enables CNHED to continue building strong neighborhoods together.

CNHED is proud to be a leader in the District of Columbia as:

- One of the District’s Most Effective Advocacy Organizations,

- A Premier Trainer of Community Development Staff in DC,

- A Respected Expert on Affordable Housing Issues,

- A Unifying Voice and Representative of Community Development Sector, and

- A Problem Solver and Reliable Source of Information.

[CNHED] provides an informed and respected voice for the community development industry as an advocate for affordable housing and neighborhood-based economic development.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Transportation Alternatives

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.transalt.org

Transportation Alternatives is New York City's leading transportation advocacy organization, with a citywide network of 100,000 active supporters committed to reclaiming New York City’s streets for people by ensuring that every New Yorker has safe space to walk and bike and access to public transportation.

Every day, all over the city, we're working to make New York City’s neighborhoods safer and restore a vibrant culture of street life.

Transportation Alternatives is involved in every aspect of traveling around New York City. From bike routes and bus lanes to pedestrian crossings and play streets, we’re fighting for safer, smarter transportation and a healthier city.

Since our founding in 1973 T.A. has helped New York City’s bicycling population grow exponentially and worked to dramatically reduce the number of pedestrians killed each year by dangerous drivers.

In the early 2000s, T.A. introduced New York’s policymakers to the idea of bus-only lanes, laying the foundation for the swift new Select Bus Service in 2007. With the help of our network of tens of thousands of supporters, Transportation Alternatives has won improvements all over the city.

Meeting of the Minds

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.cityminded.org

An invitation-only conference, Meeting of the Minds brings together 350 opinion-shapers, policy-makers, leading thinkers and innovators from every sector.

The conference is two-plus days of intensive exchange for leaders creating more sustainable cities using smarter design tools, sounder environmental practices, and cleaner energy systems.

Among the dozens of international leaders who speak at Meeting of the Minds are innovators scaling-up practical urban innovation in infrastructure, design, technology, energy, transport, water, finance – all are building more livable cities.

At Meeting of the Minds, leaders from multiple sectors and diverse geographies share ideas and shape a common agenda.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Failed Architecture

Location: International

Website: www.failedarchitecture.com

Failed Architecture is a research platform that aims to open up new perspectives on urban failure – from what it’s perceived to be, what’s actually happening and how it’s represented to the public.
Supported by a website, travelling workshops and a series of lectures, the research collective seeks to develop ongoing and open conversations with experts in the field of architecture and planning and the public at large.

Based in Amsterdam, but operating internationally, Failed Architecture consists of a group of young professionals that share knowledge in architecture, urbanism, media, sociology, history and the arts.

Observing and living in a time in which the position and meaning of architecture is increasingly being questioned, our main drive is to research the political and cultural processes that tag a building as a success or a failure (past/ present/ future).

By using the maxim ‘failed architecture’ we aim to raise questions. What is failure? Which criteria do we/ can we use to define failure? According to whom has something failed? If perceived as failed, what caused this and what are its effects?

We understand architecture as the outcome of larger urban dynamics, which are therefore at the core of our research. By exploring a wide range of viewpoints – e.g. residents, architects, planners, developers and artists – we aim to provide some possible answers to the aforementioned questions.

This will provide us with broad insights into how the relationships between design, politics, economics, culture and human behavior can literally and representatively (re)shape our built environment.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Urban Age Institute


Website: www.urbanretailinstitute.com

Since it was founded in 1999, Urban Age Institute (UAI) has been dedicated to a singular proposition: bring together a carefully chosen set of key urban sustainability and technology stakeholders and gather them around a common platform in ways that help build lasting alliances.

UAI believes that such a platform is a vital ingredient for smart, sustainable and equitable urban (re)development strategies.

Urban Age Magazine was founded inside the World Bank in 1991, and spun off in 1999 as an independent non-profit organization. UAI’s glossy print magazine, published in five languages, was focused on the many dimensions of city-scale innovation: economics, politics, governance, and culture.

It’s notable that all of this was being published well before ‘smart cities’ and ‘sustainable development’ became part of the metropolitan lexicon.

UAI launched Meeting of the Minds in 2007 to extend the Institute’s mission, to connect disparate leaders from different worlds, to spotlight innovators working in near-isolation.

In 2012, Meeting of the Minds took it to the next level by launching its blog at CityMinded.org. A new communications strategy quickly took shape, with monthly webinars; the Meeting of the Minds Magazine; monthly meet-ups; and other direct outreach activities.

Each activity aims to leverage the thought leadership that crystallizes during each Meeting — and that open conversation continues during the months that follow.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Location: Washington, DC

Website: www.downtowndc.org

The DowntownDC BID is a non-profit organization that works to improve Downtown DC’s public environment, economy and social equity. Our goal is to create a vibrant, inviting and smart place where people from all walks of life are able to explore, create and share remarkable urban experiences that inspire and revitalize.

Property owners fund this special district through tax assessments that enable the DowntownDC BID to improve the public realm and to promote and help retain businesses. Established under District of Columbia legislation in 1997, the DowntownDC BID was renewed for additional five-year terms in 2002 and 2007 through votes of property owners and tenants and actions of the Mayor and City Council.

More than 800 commercial properties comprise the DowntownDC BID area within the boundaries of the National Mall on the south, Massachusetts Avenue (including the Walter E. Washington Convention Center) on the north, Louisiana Avenue on the east and the White House and 16th Street on the west. The DowntownDC BID area encompasses the Gallery Place, Chinatown, Federal Triangle, Franklin Square, McPherson Square, Midtown and Penn Quarter neighborhoods.

The DowntownDC BID provides services in the areas of safety, hospitality, maintenance, physical improvements, homeless services, transportation, marketing, special events, planning, economic development and environmental sustainability. In addition, the DowntownDC BID provides management services to affiliated non-profit organizations: the National Cherry Blossom Festival®, the District of Columbia Surface Transit, Inc. (DCST), the Public Space Planning and Management Corporation and the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District.

A Board of Directors, consisting of 42 business and civic leaders, governs the DowntownDC BID with an annual budget of $10 million, the majority of which is spent on maintenance, beautification, safety and hospitality.

The organization relies upon partnerships with the District of Columbia government, the federal government—especially the General Services Administration (through their Good Neighbor Program, which actively supports urban development through community partnerships); the National Park Service; and the National Capital Planning Commission, as well as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority—and a variety of other public agencies and private sector organizations in order to accomplish its work.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Location: International

Website: www.shelterforce.org

Shelterforce is the nation’s oldest continually published housing and community development magazine. For more than three decades, Shelterforce has been a primary forum for organizers, activists, and advocates in the affordable-housing and neighborhood revitalization movements.

National Housing Institute, an independent nonprofit organization that examines the issues causing the crisis in housing and community in America These issues include poverty and racism, disinvestment and lack of employment, safety, education, and breakdown of the social fabric. NHI examines how these and other factors affect people as they try to build safe, viable neighborhoods. NHI searches for what does and does not work in community-building. In our 30-plus years of existence, Shelterforce has become the leading publication for community-building professionals and other stakeholders in creating vibrant communities.

We are dedicated to providing the tools (information, analysis, resources) for advocates, activists, and community members to organize their communities, rebuild their neighborhoods, and create decent housing and living-wage jobs for the families who live there.
Shelterforce began as a “how-to” publication for tenant activists

Shelterforce helped tenants, tenant organizers, and tenant advocates (e.g. legal aid lawyers) learn how to be more effective in securing tenants’ rights to safe, decent homes.

Over the years, as inner-city neighborhoods experienced an onslaught of disinvestment, crime, and family disintegration, the focus has changed. During the ‘80s and early ‘90s, Shelterforce began to examine a wider range of community-building issues, always with the goal of empowering individuals and groups to take control of their communities so that they can effect real change.

Shelterforce has established itself as a vital link in policy development—providing clear and understandable analysis of important policy issues (as well as concise descriptions of rules and regulations) to grass-roots activists while providing input from the grass-roots to local, state, and national policymakers.

As a part of the National Housing Institute, Shelterforce is driven by NHI’s vision of once-devastated communities rebuilt by empowered residents. Founded by grass-roots activists such as tenant organizer and legal services lawyer John Atlas and Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, the executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action, NHI’s board is composed of community-based organization representatives and individuals devoted to economic and social justice.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The City Fix

Location: International

Website: www.thecityfix.com

TheCityFix is an online resource for learning about the latest in sustainable urban mobility and planning. Launched in 2007, the site connects a global network of writers, urban planners, designers, engineers, and citizens who work to make cities better places to live.

EMBARQ, a not-for-profit program of the World Resources Institute that works to catalyze and help implement environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable transport and urban planning solutions.

Since 2002, the EMBARQ network has grown to include six centers – based in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Turkey and the Andean region, that work together with local authorities, businesses and national governments to reduce pollution, improve public health, and create safe and accessible urban environments.

TheCityFix relies on this international community and other volunteer contributors to provide a global, multi-disciplinary perspective to its coverage of issues relating to urban sustainability.

Here at TheCityFix, we rely on members of our global community to share their stories and ideas relating to urban sustainability.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

PARK(ing) Day

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.parkingday.org

PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” temporary public places.

The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco.

Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.

The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!

A brief history of PARK(ing) Day -

Rebar’s original PARK(ing) project in 2005 transformed a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in an area of San Francisco that the city had designated as lacking public open space.

The great majority of San Francisco’s downtown outdoor space is dedicated to movement and storage of private vehicles, while only a fraction of that space is allocated to serve a broader range of public needs. Paying the meter of a parking space enables one to lease precious urban real estate on a short-term basis.

The PARK(ing) project was created to explore the the range of possible activities for this short-term lease, and to provoke a critical examination of the values that generate the form of urban public space.

The original PARK(ing) Day installation by Rebar, San Francisco 2005". Our original PARK stood in place for two hours – the term of the lease offered on the face of the parking meter. When the meter expired, we rolled up the sod, packed away the bench and the tree, and gave the block a good sweep, and left. A few weeks later, as a single iconic photo of the intervention (left) traveled across the web, Rebar began receiving requests to create the PARK(ing) project in other cities. Rather than replicate the same installation, we decided to promote the project as an “open-source” project, and created a how-to manual to empower people to create their own parks without the active participation of Rebar. And thus “PARK(ing) Day” was born.

PARK(ing) Day has since been adapted and remixed to address a variety of social issues in diverse urban contexts around the world, and the project continues to expand to include interventions and experiments well beyond the basic “tree-bench-sod” park typology first modeled by Rebar.

In recent years, participants have built free health clinics, planted temporary urban farms, produced ecology demonstrations, held political seminars, built art installations, opened free bike repair shops and even held a wedding ceremony! All this in the context of this most modest urban territory – the metered parking space.

And this is the true power of the open-source model: organizers identify specific community needs and values and use the event to draw attention to issues that are important to their local public—everything from experimentation and play to acts of generosity and kindness, to political issues such as water rights, labor equity, health care and marriage equality.

All of these interventions, irrespective of where they fall on the political spectrum, support the original vision of PARK(ing) Day: to challenge existing notions of public urban space and empower people to help redefine space to suit specific community needs.

In addition to being quite a bit of fun, PARK(ing) Day has effectively re-valued the metered parking space as an important part of the commons – a site for generosity, cultural expression, socializing and play. And although the project is temporary, we hope PARK(ing) Day inspires you to participate in the civic processes that permanently alter the urban landscape.