"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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013


Location: Detroit, MI

Website: www.whydontweownthis.com

Why Don’t We Own This? is a service by LOVELAND Technologies that displays every property in a city and provides meaningful lenses to understand property information including:

- Ownership Information
- Property Tax Status
- Information
- Foreclosure Prevention Resources
- Property Tax Payment Portals
- Real-Time Foreclosure Auction Updates
- Social Channels to comment and connect with others
- Additional tools for those who join our $25 annual membership program

The focus of Why Don’t We Own This? is Detroit, Michigan. We started WDWOT in 2011 to track the Wayne County Foreclosure Auction. Each year our work has grown along with the size and scale of the foreclosure auction and its effect on the City of Detroit, and now we're branching out to provide more year-round property and land use services.

We strive to provide property information in a clean and interactive way that is intuitive to use while increasing the sense of ownership and power a citizen has in their city. Hopefully WDWOT helps prevent the accidental and unnecessary loss of properties to tax foreclosure and auction, and helps connect you with otherwise invisible opportunities for enlightenment, investment, charity, and support.

It's free to look up information and comment on WDWOT, but we encourage you to become an annual member for $25 plus an optional tip of your choosing. Memberships and tips allow us to run and develop the service, and they also give you access to additional site features.

We're constantly developing things and looking for feedback on not only how to improve the site, but how to work with governments, businesses, neighborhood groups, and nonprofits. Our feedback page is at whydontweownthis.com/topics/feedback.

Innovative Housing Institute

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.inhousing.org

The Innovative Housing Institute promotes providing quality affordable housing in communities throughout the nation, primarily through the policies and practices known as Inclusionary Housing.

The Innovative Housing Institute offers a great depth of knowledge and experience in the variety of Inclusionary Housing tools and strategies used in different local jurisdictions and states.

Inclusionary Housing, also known as Inclusionary Zoning, calls for a portion of housing units in residential projects to be available for low- and moderate-income households.

Many programs provide developers with "cost offsets" or incentives, such as density bonuses, zoning or design flexibility, parking reductions, fee waivers, or an expedited review process for providing these affordable units. The term inclusionary is used to counter exclusionary practices that require minimum lot sizes and setbacks, effectively preventing affordable housing from being built.

Inclusionary Housing programs are based on a variety of legal frameworks and can be mandatory or voluntary. Affordable units can be provided on-site as part of a mixed-income project or at another location. In some cases, financial contributions in lieu of units can be made to affordable housing funds.

Since the 1970s, more than 300 local governments and numerous states have adopted inclusionary housing programs resulting in the production and preservation of hundreds of thousands of affordable homes and apartments. Adaptable to local conditions, Inclusionary Housing tools have been successfully used in states such as California, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Burlington, Vermont, are among cities that have adopted Inclusionary Housing tools.

The success of Inclusionary Housing programs results from private residential activity, so the tool works best in locations with strong real estate markets.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Northeast Los Angeles (NELA) Riverfront Collaborative

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Website: www.mylariver.org

The Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative (NELA RC) is an innovative, interdisciplinary partnership that will capture the energy of the Los Angeles River (River) as a catalyst for implementing revitalization strategies and help NELA communities to thrive.

The NELA RC process builds upon the growing momentum of efforts already underway to transform the River, and aims to create a Riverfront District as a focal point of community revitalization, recreational activities, environmental stewardship, sustainable civic engagement, and economic growth for the entire city.

What do you want your L.A. River to be?

NELA RC Program Manager: Louis Morales
CDD Administrative Manager: Gerardo Ruvalcaba
Email: info@mylariver.org

KCET Departures: Los Angeles River
City of Los Angeles River Website


Location: Los Angeles, CA

Website: www.metamorph.org

Our mission is to understand the transformation of urban community under the forces of globalization, new communication technologies, and population diversity so that our research can inform practitioner and policy maker decisions. Our site of study is Los Angeles and its many ethnic communities of both new and settled immigrants.

We have developed a communication infrastructure perspective that privileges a grassroots understanding of how people construct and re-vitalize their residential communities, and how they go about solving everyday problems of family, health, inter-group relations, and ethnic identity. Our challenge is to make the communication infrastructure of daily life visible so that it can be employed by residents, practitioners, and policy makers to improve the quality of family and community life.

At the heart of this infrastructure is the neighborhood storytelling network. This network involves residents, community organizations, and geo-ethnic media in a dynamic communication process whereby they stimulate each other to focus upon and talk about neighborhood events, issues, threats, and opportunities. As such, this network is hard to see without in-depth and grounded research. Nonetheless, the storytelling network can be a powerful tool for all who wish to bring about changes that are grounded in the dynamics of everyday community life and are, therefore, more likely to endure.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Municipalities With Soil Volume Minimums for Trees

Location: Various cities

Website: www.deeproot.com/blog/blog-entries/municipalities-that-are-doing-more-for-trees

Adequate amounts of lightly compacted, good-quality soil are essential to healthy tree growth.

Nowhere are these conditions more challenging than in urban areas dominated by streets, sidewalks, buildings and parking lots. These surfaces are essential for urban living but require heavy soil compaction, which limits the development of large, healthy root systems.

The USDA Forest Service recently determined that U.S. cities are losing around 4 million trees annually — this at a time when average urban canopy cover in North America is still lower in most places than what is recommended by American Forests.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. Cities across North America recognize that in order to have healthy, vibrant urban forests, they need to plant trees in more soil.

Guidelines already exist that correlate tree size directly with available soil volume, so this isn’t a matter of guesswork. What these cities are doing is simple, but remarkable: They are literally changing their landscapes by mandating that all street trees (used here as a general term to mean any tree planted in a paved area) receive a certain minimum amount of soil.

We’ve identified the following communities for their ambitious policies that are redefining requirements for green utilities, specifically for trees, soil and stormwater management:

Toronto, ON –

Perhaps the most ambitious initiative we’ve yet seen, the City of Toronto calls for street trees to get a minimum of 15 m3 (529 ft 3)of high quality soil per tree if in a shared planter, and a minimum volume of 30 m3 (1,059 ft3) of soil per tree if in a single planter.

Oakville, ON –

this City requirement calls for 30m3 (1,059 ft3) of soil per tree, or 15 m3 (530 ft3) if in a shared trench.

Baltimore, MD –

This initiative sets an example for increasing the tree canopy as a way to preserve the environment and manage stormwater. Using permeable paving, landscaping, rain gardens, and green roofs, it asks for sites to filter more than 50 percent of stormwater runoff from areas and install at least 1,500 cubic feet of soil for tree pits using structural soils or suspended pavement for any new impervious surfaces or retrofit/redevelopment projects.

University of Florida (IFAS Extension) –

The project created an Urban Design for a Wind Resistant Urban Forest. Planners increased the soil and depth requirements to allow trees to mature and live longer using the following guidelines (soil area based on mature tree size, 3’ deep or greater):
• Small (shorter than 30’) = 10’x10’x3’ = 300 ft3
• Medium (Less than 50’ height or spread) = 20’x20’x3’ = 1,200 ft3
• Large (Greater than 50’ height or spread) = 30’x30’x3’ = 2,700 ft3

State of West Virginia –

The community created a municipal handbook to manage wet weather through specific green infrastructure and made the following soil recommendations based on those from Prince William County, VA:
• Large tree = 970 ft3,
• Medium tree = 750 ft3 and
• Small tree = 500 ft3

Athens-Clarke County, GA –

The community created best management practices for community tree planting and soil volume minimums:
• Small Canopy: 100 square feet x 2’ deep = 200 ft3,
• Medium Canopy: 225 square feet x 2’ deep = 450 ft3 and
• Large Canopy: 400 square feet x 2’ deep = 800 ft3

State of Minnesota –

Where trees are planted in hard surfaces, the community uses a structural soil media mix of minimum soil volume of 500 cubic feet (cf) per tree. If soil volumes cannot be met it is recommended that trees be planted in minimum 8′ wide by approximately 3′ deep trenches so that soil volumes are shared between trees.

Charlotte, NC –

Planners amended the planting area requirements and recommendations for commercial development to increase the absolute minimum soil volume and planting area to 274 square feet per tree. The minimum width of the planting area is 8’ at the trunk of the tree.

British Columbia -

Recommended minimum soil volume per tree of 6m3 (212ft3), and more is better.

Markham, ON –

These design guidelines make the following soil volume recommendations:
• Large stature tree in boulevard = 30 cubic meters/1,059 cubic feet (if single) or 15 cubic meters/530 cubic feet (if shared) of root space,
• Medium stature tree in boulevard = 23 cubic meters/812 cubic feet of root space,
• Small stature tree = 15 cubic meters/530 cubic feet root space
• Minimum soil volume for tree planting in a parking lot island is 15 cubic meters/530 cubic feet.

Aspen, CO –

The community amended its structural soils specifications so that soil area is now based on a targeted mature tree size, requiring 30 inches or more depth and a correcsponding increase in soil volume.
Soil area based on mature tree size, 30” deep or greater:
• Small (shorter than 30’) = 10’x10’x2.5’ = 250 ft3,
• Medium (Less than 50’ height or spread) = 20’x20’x2.5’ = 1,000 ft3,
• Large (Greater than 50’ height or spread) = 30’x30’x2.5’ = 2,250 ft3

Chicago, IL -

The city amended planting standards and now requires parkway trees to have a minimum depth of three feet of soil. Planting areas require a minimum of 24 square feet of surface area with no dimension less than three feet.

Denver, CO –

The city’s “Street Tree Plan Review Checklist” sets a soil volume minimum of 750 cubic feet of soil per tree and states that, “5’ x 5’ pit areas shall no longer be accepted, must use trenches, root paths, break out zones, structural cells, or other un-compacted soil technology.”

Emeryville, CA -

The community requires minimum rootable soil volumes for new trees planted in the public right of way by private developers. The minimum is based on the size of the tree at maturity:
• 600 cubic feet for a small tree,
• 900 for a medium tree and
• 1200 for a large tree.

Alexandria, VA –

The city’s Landscape Guidelines specify that street trees be provided with a minimum of 300 cubic feet of soil per tree and recommends that one tree be present for every ten spaces in parking areas.

Are any of these perfect? Probably not.

Certainly there are things we would change about almost all of them. Still, setting soil volume minimums for street trees tacitly enforces the message that business as usual as far as tree planting is concerned isn’t good enough.

We need to rethink how we plan for our urban forests and the role of green infrastructure in the built environment. The new game in town is high performance urban forestry.

Are you involved with making soil volume recommendations for trees? Hopefully you can use some of this information to help persuade your co-workers and clients of this important effort.

Should your city or town be on this list, or do you know of any others that we missed? We want to hear about your goals for growing healthy trees in your community.

(from Deep Root Corporation)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dine Downtown

Location: Sacramento, CA

Website: www.dowtownsac.org/events/dine-downtown

Experience the best of Downtown Sacramento’s dining scene during the award-winning Dine Downtown Restaurant Week presented this year by Sacramento Magazine. For 10 days only, local chefs will create special three-course dinner menus for only $30 per person.

Dine Downtown 2013 will kick off on Wednesday January 9th and continue through Friday January 18th.

Geodesign Summit

Location: International

Website: www.geodesignsummit.com

The Geodesign Summit is an annual gathering of professionals interested in using geospatial technologies to arrive at the best and most sustainable design solutions. The two-day summit focuses on Geodesign frameworks and concepts, geospatial technologies that support Geodesign, and sharing real-world examples of Geodesign in practice.

The overall goal of the Geodesign Summit is to help people find innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges by fusing design processes with geospatial technologies.

The Geodesign Summit draws from a multitude of interdisciplinary experiences. GIS and design professionals across all industries.

The Geodesign Summit is the ultimate event for anyone working at the intersection of geography and design. The breadth and depth of sessions, the opportunities for hands-on learning, and the many ways to cultivate skills and relationships make it a must-attend event.

Network with Geodesign thought leaders; funders and other researchers; and regulators and government agencies.

Observe Geodesign in action—the intersection between design and geographic space.

Understand how Geodesign will impact your field, and how you can use it.

Participate in the continuing evolvement of Geodesign.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Livable Berkeley

Location; Berkeley, CA

Website: www.liveableberkeley.org

We support and promote measures that make Berkeley a better place to live, work, learn and raise our families. We seek to build upon Berkeley’s renowned commitment to environmental stewardship, economic justice and social responsibility.

Livable Berkeley is a coalition of citizens, environmental leaders, social equity advocates, design professionals, city planners and progressive builders who seek to build upon Berkeley’s renowned commitment to environmental stewardship, economic justice and social responsibility.

On March 20, 2012, the City Council passed the new Downtown Plan, affirming the vision for a growing, vibrant Downtown Berkeley.

After seven years, we are finally moving forward. It is with great pride and excitement that we now begin the implementation process that will make our shared vision a reality.

We look forward to engaging our neighbors and coalition partners as we bring to fruition the changes and improvements in store for Downtown Berkeley.

With the City as a financial partner, Berkeley can join the Open Streets movement along with 70 other cities in the U.S., bringing the long-term community benefits of this exciting event to Berkeley.

Sunday Streets (also called “Open Streets”) closes streets to automobile traffic for a day so that people may use the space for just about any activity other than driving.

The streets become parks as foot traffic replaces car traffic. People bike, jog and dance, meet up with friends, meet someone new, and play. Everyone from businesses and community organizations to musicians and artists use the space creatively, engaging the public and providing spontaneity and discovery.

People get out and connect with their community in a transformative way. This temporary public space inspires creativity and change for the better, on that day - and beyond. It sounds simple, yet it really is very new and exciting.

Sustainable Northwest

Location: Oregon and Washington

Website: www.sustainablenorthwest.org

We envision a thriving Northwest with strong communities, vibrant economies, and healthy and productive landscapes.

We are a non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon that bridges multiple stakeholders to solve natural resource management issues in rural communities. Founded in 1994, Sustainable Northwest is a pioneer in solving problems through collaboration and has grown into one of the most trusted organizations working at the intersection of the environment, economy, and community.

Sustainable Northwest brings people, ideas, and innovation together so that nature, local economies, and rural communities can thrive.

Our work results in restored ecosystems, living wage jobs, and better relationships among diverse groups of people.

We work with communities to innovate and solve critical natural resource challenges. Our unique approach is to listen, learn, build trust, and be invested in the long term success of the communities and region we serve.

Solutions are drawn from local knowledge and are crafted in collaboration with diverse groups and serve to promote innovation in business, renewable energy, and natural resource management.

We work with rural leaders, small business owners, federal and state level policy makers and agencies, landowners, tribes, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and environmentalists across the West.

Sierra Business Council

Location: California

Website: www.sbcouncil.org

Sierra Business Council is a member-based organization of over 700 individuals and businesses who are committed to pioneering innovative solutions in the Sierra Nevada.

We've been walking the talk since 1994. We are the Sierra Nevada’s sustainability organization and continue to demonstrate that vibrant communities, fair and prosperous economies, and healthy thriving ecosystems are not competing interests. When all three thrive, everyone wins.

Our primary mission is to pioneer innovative approaches and solutions that foster community vitality, environmental quality, economic prosperity, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada.

In the Sierra Nevada, change and challenge create opportunities. Through innovation, integrity, and respect, the Sierra Business Council fosters and harnesses these opportunities by implementing and modeling proactive adaptation to a shifting environment, economy, and population. These measures will empower the Sierra Nevada to become the best place to raise a family, seek adventure, engage in community, grow a business, to learn, and find meaningful work – a place of hope and accomplishment.

The region’s economy is diverse, inventive, and sustainable; the land is cherished, inspiriting and alive; the communities welcoming, open and engaging. It is a place where residents and visitors have the opportunity to improve their lives, renew their spirits, and prosper in health as well as wealth. It is the place so many of us seek – a place to call home.

SBC has conserved over 50,000 acres of forests, woodlands, family farms, and ranches in the Sierra Nevada.

The Sierra Leadership Institute has provided leadership training to over 500 people living in the Sierra Nevada.

In April of 2008 SBC partnered with an award-winning community-media making organization in order to share a radio show with over 130 radio stations nationwide titled, “Saving the Sierra: Grassroots Solutions for Sustaining Rural Communities.”

We have partnered with many individuals and organizations throughout the Sierra to create a plethora of publications containing a wealth of information about the financial and environmental health of the Sierra Nevada, including:

The Sustaining Rural Places Toolkit, a listener’s guide that leads people from all over the nation to next steps and helps them discover their role in the planning process.

The Thriving Forests Compendium, concise, yet comprehensive compilation of a body of knowledge of sustainable forestry projects in or relevant to the Sierra Nevada.

The State of the Sierra, representing the third edition of the Sierra Business Council’s indicator project to identify trends affecting the social, natural, and financial capital of the Sierra Nevada.

The Sediment Source Control Handbook, presenting a set of principles and practices for sediment source control on disturbed sites in the West.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The New Orleans Healing Center

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.neworleanshealingcenter.org

We provide a holistic, safe, sustainable center that heals, fulfills and empowers the individual and the community by providing services and programs promoting physical, nutritional, emotional, intellectual, environmental and spiritual well-being.

The New Orleans Healing Center (NOHC) is a model for urban, community healing around the world. With an overarching aim to revitalize and unify the seven (7) surrounding downtown neighborhoods, the NOHC works fervently to ensure that the synergistic culture established will be a holistic and sustainable sanctuary to its community, the city, the region and visitors throughout the world.

The NOHC provides a full range of programs, services and products designed to enlighten and engage the minds, bodies and spirits of a diverse population while transforming and healing lives. The NOHC through its collaborative silos stimulates economic and environmental development in the city and redefine how to “heal” a community.

The New Orleans Healing Center is well run by highly motivated leaders who bring the mission and vision to life; maintains and supports itself through a variety of creative avenues; serves visitors to its community, and invites, accepts and appreciates the participation of others who benefit the community in benevolent ways; is honored and respected as a pioneering adventure, bringing new dynamics to the culture and community of New Orleans, especially the areas surrounding the center; uses its leadership capabilities in a variety of ways to bring support and assistance to community members.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Location: International

Website: www.places.designobserver.com

Places is an interdisciplinary journal of contemporary architecture, landscape and urbanism, with a particular focus on the public realm as both physical place and social ideal.

We publish essays, peer-reviewed scholarship, observations, reviews, visual portfolios, and occasionally poetry and fiction, with new articles appearing weekly. Whatever the format, we are dedicated to advancing public awareness of the expansive value of design research and practice, with the ultimate goal of promoting sustainable cities and healthy landscapes.

Places Journal is a 501(c)3 organization, published by the Places Journal Foundation in collaboration with the Design Observer Group. We are grateful for the support of a network of North American and European universities as well as organizational and individual sponsors.

Prior to moving online in 2009, Places was a print journal founded in 1983 by faculty at MIT and Berkeley. The entire print archive is available in pdf format.

Campaigning Architecture

Location: London, England

Website: www.chicago.aaschool.ac.uk

Campaigning Architecture is an international design workshop that operates across a range of scales and disciplines to explore more effective ways to make thought-provoking changes to our urban environment.

Campaigning Architecture:

The workshop will campaign architecture for strategies that engage the city like no other. Campaign strategies—from the London Cycling Campaign to provide a collective voice for the City’s cyclists; to the cross-party campaign to bring London’s air quality into compliance with World Health Organization standards; to London’s successful bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games—are executed as an amalgamation of military-like precision and haphazard logic.

We will mine the effectiveness of campaigning to enable architecture to successfully navigating the social, political, and economic networks that make a city tick.

The 2013 workshop will be held in London at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. Participants will work towards a collective project. The site will be pre-selected, but the design scope will be left open to be determined by the workshop participants.

The workshop will begin with a visit to the site and a series of rampant idea generation discussions, lubricated by a social event. This will be followed by a day of critiquing and editing these ideas down to a formal proposal, which will then be developed for the rest of the workshop—splitting into smaller subgroups as necessary to develop different aspects of the project.

The workshop is an excellent opportunity to enhance your design expertise and network with an international group of likeminded students and professors, all while enjoying what London has to offer.

Campaigning a Hedonistic Reactivation:

The workshop will campaign new modes of urban intervention for a hedonistic reactivation of a fatigued site in London’s East End. Workshop participants will combine the potential of design intelligence with the strategic power of propaganda in order to campaign provocative changes to our urban environment.

Campaigning the Creative Commons:

The traditional marriage between copyright law and designs that intend to create significant change is an ineffective scenario that must change. So while this project will have a specific site, we will campaign the Creative Commons to make it possible for this project to be copied, adapted, distributed, and deployed elsewhere.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Location: San Francisco, CA

Website: www.sfbike.org

For over 40 years, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has been transforming San Francisco's streets and neighborhoods into more livable and safe places by promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation.

Through our day-to-day advocacy, education, and working partnerships with government and community agencies, we are helping create safer streets and more livable communities for all San Franciscans.

Our active 12,000 members represent San Franciscans of all ages, from all neighborhoods, who are working towards more safe, efficient, and fun ways to move around our city. The SF Bicycle Coalition is the largest city-based bicycle advocacy group in the nation and one of the largest membership-based groups in San Francisco. Our members donated over 16,000 volunteer hours in 2011.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is transforming San Francisco's streets and neighborhoods into more livable and safe places by promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation.

Recent San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Successes:

- Worked with BOMA and Supervisor Avalos on the Employee Bicycle Access Bill, which was signed into law this year. San Francisco now has the most progressive and strongest workplace bicycle access in the nation.

- Helped get Proposition B passed, which provides millions of dollars to make San Francisco streets safer and smoother.

- Published the Family Biking Guide, a free how-to manual for all stages of family biking-from pregnancy through biking your child to school.

- So far in 2012, we have taught 2,000 people in our free bicycle education classes, and reached tens of thousands with our safety and education resources.

- Partnered in expanding Sunday Streets to neighborhoods across San Francisco, and expanded the program to include four consecutive Mission District routes this year.

- Helped implement San Francisco's first parking-protected bikeway on JFK Drive, opening up 1.5 miles of safe, 8-to-80 bikeway in Golden Gate Park.

- In working with BART and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition we brought the Bikes on Bart Pilot, where every Friday in August the bicycle ban was lifted during rush-hour. The pilot was a great step toward opening up regional travel by bike and in keeping with BART’s new forward-thinking Bicycle Plan.

- Launched the Great Streets Project, which created San Francisco's innovative and expanding parklet program, that serves as a model for cities across the country.

- Through our world-famous valet bicycle parking program, we parked 20,000 bicycles at over 80 events in 2011, including all the Giants home games.
Invited record numbers of people to bike in San Francisco. City bicycle counts showed a 71% increase in the number of people bicycling in San Francisco in the last five years.

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition in the Community:

- Offers free Urban Cycling Workshops that teach thousands of people each year how bike confidently, respectfully and lawfully on city streets. (in partnership with the SF Municipal Transportation Agency. ) Classes are offered in Cantonese, Spanish and English.

- Distributes hundreds of free bike lights and helmets to adults and children in underserved communities.

- Host an annual Family Bicycling Day, where kids can learn how to ride a bicycle and can learn bike safety skills on a car-free stretch of Golden Gate Park.

- Joined a coalition of groups to campaign for the removal of the Central Freeway and the better Octavia Boulevard that exists today.

- We provide free, valet bike parking at San Francisco Giants games, and major festivals and events throughout San Francisco.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has working partnerships with major government and community agencies to improve the overall transportation network and livability of San Francisco:

- SF Municipal Transportation Agency: Co-sponsored "CoExist" campaign encouraging people driving and bicycling to share the road. We also partner to host the successful Bike to Work Day, teach Urban Cycling Workshops and distribute thousands of free bicycle lights.

- SF Dept. of Public Health: Partner on the Safe Routes to School Program alongside the ShapeUp SF Coalition, Presidio Community YMCA, SF Unified School District, SF Police Department, and the SF Municipal Transportation Agency. This program aims to make biking and walking to school easier for parents and kids through education, safer streets and incentives.

- Caltrain: Worked together to open new bike parking station at Caltrain 4th & King.
BART: Worked together to expand bike access on trains and to open the Embarcadero bike parking station, where commuters can securely lock their bicycles.

- SF Police Department: Co-produced a first-ever, police training video educating officers of bicyclists' rights and responsibilities on the road.

- YMCA: Partner together on middle school, after-school bike education program.

- Senior Action Network & Walk SF: Work together to improve street safety for people walking and bicycling at intersections such as Fell and Masonic and Market and Octavia.

- San Francisco Giants: The SF Bicycle Coalition provides free valet bike parking at all home Giants.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is one of the oldest bicycle advocacy organizations in the country. Founded in 1971 by a group of activists representing a coalition of environmental and neighborhood groups, the SF Bicycle Coalition started the convention of calling an advocacy group a "coalition" while riding groups were known as clubs.

It quickly evolved into a powerful alliance of individuals working for a more bicycle-friendly city, winning bike lanes on upper Market Street, removing the ban on bicycling through the Broadway Tunnel, and gaining access to the Golden Gate Bridge and, along with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, gaining access to BART. Mostly defunct throughout the 1980s, it was rejuvenated in October 1990 with the first issue of the newsletter, then known as "the tubular times."

Operated entirely by volunteers for the first several years, it has been dominated by a grassroots volunteer ethic ever since, growing into one of the strongest bicycle advocacy organizations in the country. Its biggest victory in the 1990s were the bicycle lanes on Valencia Street, supported by the Board of Supervisors despite a Department of Parking & Traffic Director who declared "they'll be bike lanes on Valencia Street over my dead body."

The SF Bicycle Coalition, in conjunction with the Bicycle Advisory Committee, was also responsible for some of the strongest requirements for indoor bicycle parking and public event attended bicycle parking in the country.

Philadelphia Parks Alliance

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Website: www.philaparks.org

The mission of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance is to champion the public’s interest in outstanding parks, recreation and open spaces, key to making Philadelphia a healthy, vibrant and sustainable city for all.

The Parks Alliance’s vision of a great city is one with great parks and interconnected green spaces. The Parks Alliance leads the diverse and expanding citizens’ movement which shapes public policies required to build the nation’s premier parks and recreation system.

The Philadelphia Parks Alliance will strive to become a primary advocate and information resource for parks and open space in our city. We are committed to building a strong and unified parks and open space coalition that will advocate for all citizens.

We will endeavor to create strategic and collaborative alliances with government and with organizations that care about our parks and open space.

Our membership and board will be broadly representative of the demographics of our city. Collaboration will be the hallmark of our interaction with others.

We will be a fiscally sound and responsible organization.

The Philadelphia Parks Alliance is:

- Effective: We establish and achieve goals that will contribute to constructive change.

- Inclusive: We welcome contributions and input from others. We strive to remain open to different points of view within the context of our mission and priorities.

- Dedicated: We are willing to do what it takes to be effective.

- A Model of Integrity: We act with honesty, directness, conviction, and determination.

- Bold: We are forward thinking, willing to think and act creatively, to question the status quo. We are oriented toward taking action, even courageous action.


Location: Nationwide

Website: www.urbdezine.com

UrbDeZine is a ‘web-zine’ about regional architecture, design, and culture.

Essentially, this site is about the design of your community, whether that is architecture, urban planning, transportation, historic preservation, ecology, or culture. UrbDezine is designed to provide the fastest and most comprehensive information by being an interactive community forum.

UrbDeZine is for people who are passionate about the design of their community. Submit articles & images to info@urbdezine.com, along with a photo (head shot) and professional biography (limit 5 pgs). Your profile and a link will be included in articles/images selected for publication.

The Author Panel is invitation only but if you are interested in being on the Panel, please submit your qualifications. Qualified and committed article submitters may be invited for inclusion on the Panel.

Article writing for UrbDeZine is an excellent way to influence design for the better, as well as an excellent way for design professionals to market themselves through the web and social media, and improve the SEO of their own websites.

Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition

Location: Pennsylvania and Ohio

Website: www.ohioeriecanal.org
The Ohio & Erie Canal opened up the frontier settlement of Ohio and provided settlers with a reliable form of transportation to ship products. This unique waterway is being rediscovered as communities seek to celebrate their heritage while stimulating community & economic development.

Today, there is renewed interest in the preservation, development and interpretation along the resources of the Ohio & Erie Canal as it extends from New Philadelphia to Cleveland.

Established in 1989, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition is a private, non-profit organization working on the development of the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway. The Coalition provides educational programs, events and publications about the Heritage Canalway while developing strong working relationships with partners to preserve and interpret the natural, historical and recreational resources throughout the corridor.

Canalway represents a biological mosaic with natural systems of forests, bogs, marshes, streams and lakes that are interspersed with cities, towns and villages, orchards, and croplands.

Throughout the Heritage Canalway, from the urban centers to the rural countrysides, there are remnants of locks and structures associated with the development and growth of the Ohio & Erie Canal, the nation's first inland waterway link between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.

Canalway provides many recreational opportunities including bicycling, hiking, birding, horseback riding, fishing and canoeing to the five million people living within a 50 mile radius.

Canalway effort encourages government officials, community volunteers, and businesses to work together. This collective energy attracts investment while maintaining a high quality of life. In addition the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway creates employment opportunities in the region.

Mobility Lab

Location: international

Website: www.mobilitylab.org

Mobility Lab shares stories, stats, and solutions from the real world for transportation options that are cool, healthy, fun, and efficient. We are a research-and-development initiative of Arlington County Commuter Services (in Virginia, USA), and we collaborate worldwide.

Mobility Lab nurtures innovations to a fundamental requirement of human life: transportation. It is a place of collaboration, education, and continuous improvement for moving people in more healthy, efficient, and sustainable ways.

Our vision is a human population that efficiently navigates individual movements between home, work, and all of life’s destinations.

Planning for easy and enjoyable transportation should be no different than researching your choice of a cell phone, physician, or any other product or service. To make this more possible in more places, we envision Mobility Lab as:

- The home of cutting-edge original transportation research,

- A convener and engager of top minds on the topic locally in the DC region, nationally, and worldwide, and

- The leading online source for how we can improve society by offering a better and healthier array of transportation options.

Mobility Lab focuses primarily on something the transportation industry calls “mobility management.” Often, the public is unaware that options exist – for transit, telework, ridesharing, bicycling, and walking – that can make the quality of life so much better.

We are a “think tank,” but one of our advantages is that we communicate research findings based on our real, daily in-house work within a huge, metropolitan region-wide program; with hundreds of thousands of customers; and with innovative mobility-management partners like BikeArlington, WalkArlington, Capital Bikeshare, Arlington Transportation Partners, goDCgo, The Commuter Stores®, and many others.

We provide our audiences with:

- Well-told and real-world transportation stories,

- Captivating case-studies,

- Original research that provides statistics to back up your case for how and why “transportation demand management” helps communities improve, and

- Practical and relevant solutions that are the outcomes of working with others and listening to what transportation problems need fixing.

The Urbanist Chronicle

Location: International

Website: www.urbanistchronicle.com

This website is for students of the city, students that I teach directly and students that I will never meet.

Every professor comes across information on a regular basis that s/he desires to share with a broad audience. This website was born out of this desire and out of the generous support of the Student Technology Assistant program at the University of San Diego.

This website is wholly managed by me, John Joe Schlichtman, a professor and urbanist. Many thanks, however, to T.J. Weiten of the STA program who selflessly worked to build, design, and tweak it.

This website has several useful features that make it a useful stop for students of the city.

It is a place where students registered in my courses can access course materials and converse with one another about the course. But it is also a source of many resources that will benefit anyone who is an urbanist at heart.

On the main menu bar:

- The main page (home) has news feeds with urban news from various sources around the world.

- The great works database is a running account of the key works in the urban studies literature.

- The urban news database is a running account of important news stories related to the city.

- The conferences database, is a running account of conferences around the world relating to the city.

- The jobs/internships database is a running record of employment opportunities that I hear about through my personal networks.

- The video gallery links to free films or lectures that relate to key urban issues.

Of course, I am an academic and I am very passionate about my own research: you can find information about my High Point Project on this website as well.

All of these resources are quite imperfect because they are managed almost completely and solely by myself. However, I believe that, nonetheless, this site can be a useful tool for students of the city around the world.

John Joe Schlichtman, PhD, is a professor in the DePaul University Department of Sociology in 2013. His research interests include political economy, globalization, urban change, gentrification, small cities, and homelessness. At previous institutions, Professor Schlichtman received commendations from organizations such as the Black Student Union, the Order of Omega greek life organization, and from his college for his teaching and service.

He is the winner of the 2012 Pacific Sociological Association Praxis Award for impact on organizational institutions, community betterment, and human suffering.

Professor Schlichtman received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology with a concentration in Urban Sociology from New York University.

Schlichtman’s primary research explores the role of cities, especially small cities, in the global context. Another vein of Professor Schlichtman's research relates to qualitative research methods, especially the integrity of ethnographic work.

His recent research has been published in venues like the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, City and Community, and in various book chapters. Schlichtman, a member of the Research Committee 21 on the Sociology of Urban and Regional Development of the International Sociological Association, has recently presented his work, organized sessions, and moderated discussions in Amsterdam, Tokyo, and São Paulo. He has been involved in efforts to address homelessness and is working toward opening a vein of related research.

Professor Schlichtman teaches courses such as Urban Sociology, Global Cities, Cities and Society, Urban Ethnography, and Qualitative Methods.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Location: San Francisco, CA

Website: www.peopleorganized.org

Would it be possible to eliminate the problems of poverty, homelessness and displacement? If so, what would it take?
The people who are most directly affected by problems in their community and workplaces should have the opportunity to solve those problems.

POWER believes this is the best way to solve the intractable problems that we face today- problems like poverty, gentrification and worker exploitation. But rather than being seen as part of the solution, low-income people and people of color are all too often treated as if they themselves are the problem.

POWER’s work is guided by our theory of social change which sees that those people who are most affected by the problems of society- low-income and working class people, people of color, women, queer and transgender people- must lead a movement of millions to eradicate those problems.

By building power from the bottom-up with a commitment to solidarity, POWER is able to ensure that public policy and public institutions serve the interests of everyone.

POWER is a membership organization made up of low-income African American and Latino workers and tenants in San Francisco. Through community and electoral organizing, leadership development and movement building, POWER brings a human face to important policy debates, transforms individual lives and brings about broad-based policy change at the city, state and national levels.

We are working for a day when:

- People and the planet come before profits.

- All people have health care, housing, food, education and all other basic needs.

- Our communities have good jobs that support our families without doing damage to the water, air, and land.
Institutional racism, sexism and all forms of oppression are replaced by respect and solidarity.

- All people have a say in the decisions and policies that affect their lives.

Why do we believe this model of organizing can work?

Since POWER’s founding in 1997, we have waged and won numerous campaigns resulting in important victories, including:

- Winning free transportation for all welfare recipients in San Francisco (1997).

- Winning equal protections for workers receiving Welfare so that they are covered by workplace health and safety protections just like all other workers protected by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (1998).

- Playing a lead role in creating San Francisco’s Living Wage Ordinance, the most comprehensive living wage ordinance in the country (2001).

- Leading a community and labor coalition that succeeded in raising San Francisco’s minimum wage from $6.75 to $8.50 per hour, while winning annual adjustments to the minimum wage for increases in the Consumer Price Index (2004)

- Blocking the City’s attempt to displace low-income home-owners and residents by forcing them to subsidize the cost of a project to underground utility wires in Bayview Hunters Point. POWER convinced the City to increase funding by $750,000 for a program to help low-income home-owners to pay for the beautification project (2005).

- Organizing hundreds of public housing residents to testify before the Board of Supervisors and push the City to create a Task Force to resolve alarming violations of health and housing codes in public housing units (2006).

- Carrying out a campaign to require that any housing constructed on the Candlestick Point land in Bayview would include a minimum of 50% affordable housing units. POWER and our allies collected 11,818 signatures in ten days to put this initiative on the ballot to counter a massive luxury housing development and stadium proposal sponsored by the Lennar Corp. (2008).

Black Coffee Co-op

Location: Seattle, WA

Website: www.blackcoffeecoop.com

Black Coffee is a worker’s cooperative, café, community space & infoshop in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. Black Coffee serves specialty coffee & tea, vegan food & pastries, and delicious beer & wine. In addition, the Black Coffee Co-op hosts all sort of community events, maintains a small public library, and has a selection of independently produced literature.

The collective began to form near the beginning of 2012, and began construction on its space in October 2012.

We are located at 501 E. Pine St, the corner of Pine & Summit. We are open weekdays from 7am to midnight, and weekends 8am to midnight. We accept event and meeting reservations.

Black Coffee Coop is committed to a non-hierarchical structure of work & a not-for-profit model of commerce. In creating the Black Coffee Cooperative, the individuals that currently comprise it hope to create a number of beneficial tools, for example:

- Physical space for culture and community, from fundraisers to film screenings, book fairs to belly dancing, skill-shares to silk-screening. Black Coffee will be a hub for events, meetings, or just drinking a brew with comrades.

- A non-hierarchical workplace, where we learn to truly work together, and share the fruits of our work equally.

- "Safer-space,” for those who don’t feel safe or welcome in most public spaces. This means we actively attempt to keep the space free of prejudice. This also means we are always open to learning how to become more safe and welcoming.

> A new info-shop and mini-library.

> Delicious vegetarian & vegan grub + coffee & tea + beer.

New Orleans Food Trucks

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.nolafoodtrucks.com

NOLA Food Trucks is a movement, resource and guide to street food including trucks, carts, and other alternative dining options.

Acadiana Economic Development Council

Location: Louisiana

Website: www.teamarcadiana.org

The Acadiana Economic Development Council welcomes you to Louisiana and the Acadiana region. Here you will find the location, business climate, economic development resources, workforce, and quality of life necessary to establish and grow your business.

The Acadiana Economic Development Council, Inc. (AEDC) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization founded by local economic developers and incorporated in 2004. AEDC represents the primary economic development organizations in the Acadiana Parishes (Counties) of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, and Vermilion.

Explore our website. Discover Acadiana's diversity and the resources available to existing, expanding and relocating businesses, or request more information at info@teamacadiana.org.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Location: International

Website: www.moovitapp.com

Moovit is a community-based app that takes the hassle out of public transport. No more checking the schedules for the bus, train, tram or metro. Join your local community of users to receive and share real-time information about your trip and navigate easily to your destination.

Save time:

- Choose the fastest route based on real time conditions.

- Track arriving buses & trains on the live map – no more waiting in vain.

Ride in peace:

- Avoid overcrowding during the ride.

- Enjoy dynamic ETA and rerouting options.

- Navigate easily with point-to-point directions.

Join the fun:

- See fellow users on map.

- Share your route with friends for easy meet-ups.

Check if Moovit is available in your area.
So let’s moovit - Join your local community today!

The Cottage Company

Location: Pacific Northwest

Website: www.cottagecompany.com

Since the beginning, in 1996, The Cottage Company has been nationally recognized as a leader by providing new models for sustainable living and smart housing choices — without giving up an ounce of style.

Our mission is to pioneer sustainable communities where homes are more than houses and neighborhoods are more than zip codes.

To date, we've completed, eight connected communities in the Pacific Northwest as in-fill within existing single-family neighborhoods close to jobs and transportation.

Our locations are diverse — from prime waterfront property near Silverdale, Washington to a bustling Seattle-area neighborhood, to a bucolic island town, to a tranquil woodland a bike ride from our regions technology employment centers. Yet, all of our communities are built to be: Simple. Smart. Sustainable.

We strive to be good stewards of the earth, as well as creating homes that are crafted with character & charm. Our high-quality communities of compact, energy-efficient single-family homes in pocket neighborhoods are unique & powerful because they are created by related layers of privacy and connectivity.

Intrinsic within that undertaking is connecting with people and environment in a simple, life-sustaining way. And, our over-riding theme is to create new housing choices that offer beautiful places where people choose to live their lives.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Citistates Group

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.citistates.com

The Citistates Group is America's only journalist team focused first and foremost on metropolitan regions and how they position themselves to cope with the demanding economic, environmental, social challenges of the 21st century.

Neal Peirce and Curtis Johnson have written written "Citistates" Reports on strategic issue sets facing 26 U.S. metros, the results published in over 50 newspapers from the 1980s onward.

The Citistates Group, managed by Farley Peters, the group's organizer and strategist, includes a collegial network of Associates with parallel interests and achievements. Many are public speakers and authors of cutting-edge research and writing in the field.

Recently the Group created Citiwire.net -- a weekly news service -- and Citiscope.org, a non-profit focused on 21st century connections and learning among cities and metro regions, in the United States but also worldwide as the urban agenda of our time turns global.

Institute for Transportation Development and Policy

Location: International

Website: www.idtp.org

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy works with cities worldwide to bring about sustainable transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life.

Transportation is at the heart of many of the most pressing issues facing the world today - from climate change to public health. Yet, many people regard transportation as little more than a means to an end. In fact, transport networks are the pulse of a city, defining livability and urban space.

Decisions about whether to build highways or bus corridors or greenways have tremendous impact not only on the air we breathe and the price we way to get around, but also on the health of our planet.

Air Pollution:

Air pollution comes from many different sources such as factories, power plants, but one of the largest sources is from motor vehicles.

Climate Change:

The transportation sector is an enormous contributor of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainable transportation planning and policy is crucial in reducing emissions and avoiding catastrophic global warming.


Transportation impacts health in various ways relating to air pollution, sedentary lifestyle and obesity, quality of life, and access to health care services.

Poverty Alleviation:

One key aspect of poverty alleviation is working to increase mobility for all residents. Access to safe and affordable transportation enables greater economic opportunities and quality of life.

Road Safety:

Road accidents cause staggering numbers of deaths and injuries, especially in the developing world. Most of those affected are pedestrians and cyclists in incidents that could be avoided with improved planning and policy.

The proportion of the world population living in cities is increasing at an unprecedented rate. In order to avoid crippling congestion and emissions, cities must adapt with sustainable transportation and integrated urban planning.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bull City Arts Collective

Location: Durham, NC

Website: www.bullcityarts.org

The Bull City Arts Collaborative (BCAC) is an arts and creative professional alliance comprised of four studios producing commissioned work and retail artworks in a variety of media. The BCAC was established in 2006 by Dave Wofford and Kenny Dalsheimer and is located in the Central Park District of Durham at 401 Foster Street.

We host open studios on the Third Friday of each month from 6 – 9pm as part of Third Friday Durham. We often hold receptions for guest artists during these events.

The Upfront Gallery features members' work as well as a curated guest artist exhibit space. It is open Fridays from 11am – 2pm, Saturdays 9am – Noon, and by appointment at dave@horseandbuggypress.com.

BCAC members collaborate with a diverse group of individuals and organizations both locally and nationally on projects large and small. Currently, the BCAC houses the documentary film and video production studio of The Groove Productions, the graphic design, fine press publishing, and letterpress printing shop of Horse & Buggy Press and photography studios Rileymacclean Photography and megapixie.

Please let Dave know if would like to be added to our mailing list – dave@horseandbuggypress.com/

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

University of Arkansas Community Design Center

Location: Arkansas

Website: www.uadc.uark.edu

The mission of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center is to advance creative development in Arkansas through education, research and design solutions that enhance the physical environment.

As an outreach center of the School of Architecture, UACDC is developing a repertoire of new design methodologies applicable to community development issues in Arkansas, with currency at the national level.

UACDC design solutions introduce a multiple bottom line, integrating social and environmental measures into economic development. Our recombinant design solutions add long-term value and offer collateral benefits related to sustained economic capacity, enhanced ecologies, and improved public health -- the foundations of creative development.

Expanding the Consideration of Civic Space:

The contemporary public domain has shifted to an expanded urban field that includes suburban and other non-urban environments -- a geography of sprawl. Compounded by the decline of traditional downtowns, this shift poses new planning challenges for which no adequate civic development models exist.

Our planning approaches are tailored for historic downtowns, rural sites, watersheds, highway/rail infrastructure, the college campus, retail environments, and the office/residential/retail subdivision.

Developing New Models of Design:

Through meta-disciplinary research and design principles, UACDC recombines ecological, architectural, landscape architectural and urban design solutions to address emerging planning challenges. Our research maps the unique economic, political, and cultural processes that have shaped the Arkansas landscape.

Our work addresses new challenges in affordable housing, urban sprawl, environmental planning, and management of regional growth or decline.

Constructing Discourse:

Design professionals, educators, and students seeking civic design experience staff the UACDC. We collaborate with other agencies such as the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, the Center for Business and Economic Research, Audubon Arkansas, and the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

Through work with our clients and collaborators, we initiate learning networks that facilitate creative development.

UACDC was founded in 1995 and has provided design and planning services to over 30 communities and organizations across Arkansas. Our planning has helped Arkansas sponsors to secure nearly $62 million in grant funding to enact suggested improvements.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Transportation for America

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.t4america.org

The interstate highway system has been completed, but is now starting to crumble, even as rising fuel prices and overburdened highways and public transit systems are causing many Americans to look for better, cheaper and more convenient ways to get around. It’s time to imagine a new future for America.

Transportation for America is:
bringing together the most diverse coalition anywhere, eager to reform how we spend transportation dollars at the federal, state and local level to create a safer, cleaner and smarter transportation system that works for everyone.

We believe:

That it is past time for a bold new vision — transportation that guarantees our freedom to move however we choose and leads to a stronger economy, greater energy security, cleaner environment and a healthier America.

Through our comprehensive work on Capitol Hill; our local events and partnerships across the country; unparalleled research, reports and data; and strong presence in the media; we have helped to change the conversation around how we spend our precious tax dollars on transportation for decades to come.

Imagine an America where:

- A “fix it first” philosophy ensures that all bridges are rated safe and roads are maintained so that drivers and businesses waste less on vehicle repairs.

- Anyone who wants to work – be they low-income or middle class – can get to jobs, whether by their own car or public transportation.

- You can avoid traffic on the way to work, because multiple, frequent travel options – trains, trolleys, van pools, clean buses and more – connect your neighborhood to jobs, shopping and health care.

- Projects are built, not for political reasons, but because they get people where they need to go, make America stronger economically and improve energy security, safety and health.
Investments in public transportation projects are putting thousands of engineers, factory workers, accountants and construction workers back to work with new skills they can transfer into other private sector jobs.

Join with thousands of others who are demanding that our leaders invest in a 21st Century transportation system.

Center for an Urban Future

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.atcm.org

The Center for an Urban Future is a public policy organization dedicated to improving the overall health of New York City and serving its long-term interests by targeting problems facing low-income and working-class neighborhoods in all five boroughs.

A new kind of think tank, the Center brings a unique, community-oriented perspective to the public policy arena. Our staffers function more like beat reporters than like academics, going out into the field to observe and interview neighborhood residents, local businesspeople and community organizations.

We also consult with academic experts, government officials and others, in order to get the broadest possible view of an issue or problem, and to hear from all those affected by it.

In other words, we start with the facts.

As a result, the Center produces groundbreaking research in fields including economic development, workforce development, public and higher education, vocational education, child welfare, and criminal justice. But we don't stop there. Once the Center has a picture of the problem, our rigorous information-gathering techniques become problem-solving and consensus-building tools, which allow us to translate our research into action agendas that win support from a broad range of constituents across the ideological spectrum.

Instead of joining well-publicized, politically polarized forensics debates, we focus our efforts on effecting concrete change by bringing lower-profile problems to the table and identifying underused assets — before indelible battle lines are drawn — and then offering thoughtful recommendations for constructive action.

This means not only envisioning workable solutions, but also conveying them clearly and effectively to local advocates, policy makers, academics and the public. We see communication as a vital part of our job.

We understand that the right words can generate interest, inspire action, and help frame discussions and recommendations in a positive, solution-oriented way. Our publications are written for people, not just policy experts, because they are meant to be used.

We believe the Center's inclusive, whole-city approach to planning and policy can not only improve life for all New Yorkers, but can also provide a model for other urban areas interested in moving away from politically expedient, piecemeal public policy and toward a sustainable, long-term, vision for managing urban life in the new millennium.

Institute for Urban Design

Location: International

Website: www.ifud.org

For thirty years the Institute for Urban Design has positioned itself as a central platform for debate over issues related to urban planning, development, and design.

By creating a common territory for architects, planners, policy-makers, developers, academics, journalists, and urban enthusiasts, we acknowledge that to ensure quality in planning and urban design, a dialogue must emerge that represents the diversity of stakeholder voices affected by urban development.

In addition to organizing lectures and symposia, we produce publications that offer both analysis and criticism by some of the most relevant and influential voices of our time.

Through these avenues, and through research and advocacy, we hope to create an environment where the various actors in the urban system may speak out to ensure a better, more vibrant and sustainable future for our cities.

Founded in 1979 by the journalist and editor of Urban Design Magazine Ann Ferebee, the Institute emerged in the aftermath of a pioneering conference that Ferebee organized in 1978, the First National Conference on Urban Design: Cities Can Be Designed. In the three decades since its founding, through many symposia, events and publications, the Institute has built a strong international network of people and institutions.

Contributors have included Jane Jacobs, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Richard Sennett, Denise Scott Brown, Simon Schama, Adolfo Carrion, and Moshe Safdie.

City of Big Shovels

Location: Chicago, IL

Website: www.bigshovels.com

City of Big Shovels is a grassroots campaign to celebrate the snow shoveling chops of Chicagoans who keep the the City walking and working through the long, tough winters, and to put the “snow flakes” who don’t get the job done on notice.

When someone’s best shoes get full of slush, when ladies pushing strollers struggle up mountains of ice, when the nice old guy next door breaks his hip, and wheelchairs are forced to roll down the center of the street, we’ve got our eye on you, scofflaw. City of Big Shovels wants everyone to take their walk and shovel it.

Every sidewalk clear!

Funding for City of Big Shovels was made possible with a grant from the Chicago Chapter of the Awesome Foundation.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Location: Chicago, IL

Website: www.neighbor-space.org

NeighborSpace is the only nonprofit urban land trust in Chicago that preserves and sustains gardens on behalf of dedicated community groups.

We shoulder the responsibilities of property ownership — such as providing basic insurance, access to water, and links to support networks – so that community groups can focus on gardening. NeighborSpace-protected gardens give young and old alike an opportunity to get their hands in the earth and enjoy nature, right in their own neighborhoods.

We understand that gardeners invest an enormous amount of time, funds, sweat and heart into these sites, and that these are the very ingredients that make community gardens beautiful and unique.

The NeighborSpace land trust works to protect local sites by:

- Providing permanent protection against potential development

- Establishing local partnerships that ensure community management and control

- Covering basic liability insurance for gardeners and volunteers

- Developing resources and opportunities through the Stewardship Mini Grant Program

- Providing stewardship support, and technical assistance

California Publc Transportation Map

Location: California

Website: www.californiarailmap.com

A transit map for all of California!
from San Diego to LA to the Bay Area, Sacramento, and beyond! Whereas many of us Californians have dreamed of road trips over a highway map, the California Rail Map shows 500+ destinations reachable on the train or connecting bus or ferry.

The map includes rail lines of the following agencies: Amtrak, BART, Muni, VTA, Caltrain, Altamont Commuter Express, Sacramento Regional Transit, San Diego North County Transit District (NCTD), San Diego Trolley, LA Metro, and Metrolink. Key bus and ferry connections between services are also shown on the map.

- California Rail Map Design Team:

Alfred Twu, Adora Lo, Alannah Tomich, Alysha Higgins, Claire Costello, Eva Kalea, Daniel Kronovet, Kimi Schell, Liz Felker, Matthew Fiorello, Naomi Sorbet, Robert Cheifetz, Yuki Takahashi, Brooke Marino, and Xander Lenc.

This map is free for personal and noncommercial use under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (CC-BY-NC) Commercial licenses are available for $100, please contact Alfred at mail -at- firstcultural.com for details.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible!

Oakland Crimestopping

Location: Oakland,CA

Website: www.oakland.crimestopping.com

This project is not affiliated with the City of Oakland or the Oakland Police Department, but we do use data published on CrimeWatch, the City’s community crime mapping website.

There are several things to do here:

- Browse crime reports by day and by type.

- Sign up to receive e-mail alerts and RSS feeds for crime reports in your neighborhood.

- Information about site updates and new features can be found on our blog, blog.crimespotting.org.

Unfortunately, CrimeWatch suffers from a few drawbacks that we believe Crimespotting helps to address.

CrimeWatch is inaccessible to many popular browsers, and does not “gracefully degrade” for maximum flexibility. CrimeWatch provides maps of crime reports but makes them difficult to explore.

Our map view is completely explorable - it’s possible to pan and zoom, select date ranges in the past, and view specific kinds of crimes.

You can also share links directly to a particular view of the map, which is important for sharing and publishing information. If you don’t have the required Flash plug-in to view the interactive map, we have a browseable crime database with maps in image form for combinations of dates and types of crime.

We believe that this map-first approach is a valuable and sensible way to publish information for people to use - everyone knows how to find their house, school, or workplace on a map, but few people remember relevant details such as the city council district or police beat these places occupy.

An important source of inspiration for Oakland Crimespotting comes from Chicago Crime, a freely browseable database of crimes reported in Chicago created by Adrian Holovaty and Wilson Miner.

Once per day, we collect fresh crime reports from CrimeWatch and save them in our database. The technical details on how this is done can be found on Mike’s blog, especially in posts from December and January. We are currently exposing crime reports going back one month.

The map is an example of Modest Maps, our Flash and Python framework for displaying tile-based geographical images. The tiles we’ve chosen to use come from Microsoft® Virtual Earth™.


Oakland Crimespotting was designed and built by Stamen Design’s Michal Migurski, Tom Carden, and Eric Rodenbeck. Feedback, complaints, and suggestions are welcome at info@crimespotting.org.

NE Seattle Tool Library

Location: Seattle, WA

Website: www.neseattletoollibrary.org

The NE Seattle Tool Library provides free, community access to a wide variety of tools, training, and sustainable resources. Become a member now!

We will officially start lending tools at our Grand Opening on January 19, 2013. The building will open at 10 am for new member registrations and meet-and-great, followed by the official speeches and ribbon cutting at 11 am. We’ll stay open until 2 pm for tool lending, plus “Taste of the Tool Library” demonstrations.

The NE Seattle Tool Library is a community-led project to provide pay-what-you-can community access to a wide range of tools, training, and relevant advice.

By providing this service, the Tool Library aims to inspire its community to participate in community projects, such as park restorations, and pursue sustainability through fun projects like backyard gardens, home energy improvements, and water harvesting.


- Leverage existing resources

- Reduce our environmental footprint

- Reduce consumption of tools used only once or twice

- Educate community members in proper use and maintenance of tools

- Enhance self-reliance and resilience

- Foster sense of community and mutual support

- Encourage repairing items instead of throwing them in the trash

- Encourage making products for ourselves instead of buying them from far away

- Lay a foundation for a Sharing Economy

Seattle Sketcher

Location: Seattle WA

Website: www.blogs.seattletimes.com/seattlesketcher

Gabriel Campanario has been living and drawing in Seattle since '06. He's a Seattle Times artist, founder of Urban Sketchers nonprofit, Spaniard, husband and father. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Urban Sketchers

Location: International

Website: www.urbansketchers.org

This blog site features sketches and often equally colorful stories behind the scenes by 100 invited artists correspondents in more than 30 countries around the world. Some are architects and illustrators, others are graphic designers, web developers, painters or educators, all sharing the same passion for drawing on location. If you are interested in purchase or usage of any of their sketches, please contact each artist directly.

While this blog is limited to the 100 invited correspondents, anyone can participate in the Urban Sketchers online community through the global flickr group and Facebook page.

Our volunteers also manage more than 30 regional blogs in cities and countries around the world and many of those also have their own sister flickr groups and Facebook pages to help sketchers showcase their work and connect with each other.

Urban Sketchers started online as a flickr group in 2007 and later became a nonprofit organization.

Our mission as a nonprofit is to raise the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing, promoting its practice and connecting people around the world who draw on location where they live and travel. We aim to show the world, one drawing at a time.

This is the manifesto we follow:

- We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.

Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel,

Our drawings are a record of time and place,

- We are truthful to the scenes we witness.

- We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.

- We support each other and draw together.

- We share our drawings online.

- We show the world, one drawing at a time.

The Urban Sketchers nonprofit develops educational programs to foster the art of on location drawing. Our first initiative was the I International Urban Sketching Symposium held in Portland, Oregon, in July of 2010.

The II International Urban Sketchers Symposium has been in Lisbon, in july 2011. Other Urban Sketchers Workshops will be organized locally by a group of qualified correspondents and instructors.

To read the most recent news about our community, see our Drawing Attention updates.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Advocates for Urban Agriculture

Location: Chicago, IL

Website: www.auachicago.org

Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA) is a coalition of organizations and individuals interested in learning about, networking and advocating for urban agriculture in the Chicago area.

The group meets quarterly and maintains an array of working groups dedicated to improving the state of urban agriculture in the city of Chicago, with AUA’s Steering Committee acting as its governing body.

Our goal is to make this website a comprehensive hub for projects, activities, information, resources, and opportunities in urban agriculture. As the website grows in tandem with this burgeoning movement, take a look around, and be sure to join as a Member of AUA (free!) if you support what we’re doing. We also encourage you to join AUA’s Google Group; with over 800 members, it’s a great place to connect with Chicago’s urban agriculture community!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Association of Town Centre Management

Location: Britain

Website: www.atcm.org

This website is designed to provide you with a wealth of information on town centre management, ranging from a daily news service, information on events and conferences, policy briefs, case studies, background on ATCM, details of our award winners and Town Centre Management job vacancies. Some areas are available to all, for others you have to be a member - go to Join Us on the menu bar to find out how..

ATCM works with all those interested in promoting the vitality and viability of town and city centres, in the UK and further afield and we have four principal areas of work.

As a member you get automatic access to the National BIDs Advisory Service (see link to UKBIDs below); reciprocal membership of the International Downtown Association in Washington DC; and promotional access to the Institute of Place Management (see link to IPM below). Enjoy using the website - where a feature starts with an ATCM symbol, it indicates more information is available in the members' section, so please log on to see more.

ATCM's four principal areas of activity are:

We work with our members in making places better. Our focus is on district, town and city centres but improvements in these can cumulatively contribute to making urban areas, regions and indeed nations better places.

We work with our partners to develop the people who work in all aspects of town centre management or BID development to ensure they have the wide range of knowledge and skills to do a great job.

We work with stakeholders to create effective partnerships that are accountable and sustainable and are able to make change happen. This includes town and city centre management and Business Improvement Districts (BID).

We liaise with governments and other bodies to ensure a positive policy framework for town and city centres in planning, transport, housing, policing and security, tourism, investment, competition, taxation and funding.

We have developed an extensive knowledge bank of good practice initiatives in town and city centres that have made a difference to that centre and these are accessible to our members on line, through publications and through our events programme.

We run training programmes in both personal and technical skills for those engaged in the management of centres and in partnership with universities and others we offer access to academic and vocational qualifications. We support partnership creation, development and review through a wide range of programmes that can involve large or small groups and through various publications and we work closely with policy makers to ensure the critical role town and city centres play in society is never underestimated.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Walk Denver

Location: Denver, CO

Website: www.walkdenver.org

WalkDenver creates and advocates for quality walkable built environment that fosters healthy lifestyle and economic growth.

Our vision for Denver is to become a network of well-connected neighborhoods that are people-focused, culturally vibrant, active, and economically thriving.

We recognize that walking is the most basic form of transportation. We are all pedestrians “by design” and being able to walk safely is a basic human right.

WalkDenver promotes walking as the most sustainable form of transportation. No resources (other than a pair of shoes) are needed to allow people to travel as pedestrians. Therefore pedestrian impact on the environment is minimal.

Walking is a social activity. People like to be surrounded by other human beings; walking allows for opportunity to “bump into” an old friend, a conversation, an observation, and a participation in activity.

Walking is the most basic, free and easy form of exercise. When integrated into an everyday lifestyle walking can provide enough activity to maintain a healthy weight and reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease. Outdoor activity and human interaction associated with walking contributes to better mental health.

Pedestrians are also the ones that shop, dine and spend money. Pedestrianism is an economic driver. Creating pedestrian oriented districts leads to higher retail revenue and increased commercial activity.

The benefits of walking are numerous and WalkDenver advocates that pedestrians are given priority in public and private infrastructure investments.

There are several elements that contribute to positive pedestrian experience but the most important one is safety. Safety is determined by the quality of infrastructure and amenities. Sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, lighting, way finding, landscaping and street furniture contribute to physical environment that is necessary for perception of safety and comfort.

WalkDenver advocates for inclusion of pedestrian safety measures in the city design standards. We monitor that the standards are included in project budgets and implemented. We also ensure that the maintenance standards are enforced.

Pedestrian experience goes beyond safety. Pedestrian destinations, retail stores, coffee shops, active recreation opportunities are necessary to make walking FUN! Vibrant streets, plazas and waterfronts are elements that draw peoples’ activity. Farmers’ markets, art districts, shopping malls are places that are successful because they are pedestrian friendly.

WalkDenver advocates for creating pedestrian districts connected by a network of safe streets, bike trails and public transit.

We recognize that Denver is a great city with even bigger potential. Our downtown framed by pockets of local neighborhood activity is an ideal foundation for creating a pedestrian oriented city. Our neighborhoods build on the grid of streets provide a good framework for pedestrian activity. At WalkDenver, we believe that Denver has a potential to become a model walkable, livable and sustainable city that others will follow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Detroit Works

Location: Detroit, MI

Website: www.detroitworksproject.com

Following two years of study and 30,000 conversations with the public, the Detroit Works Long-Term Planning team is unveiling a book-length final report this week that holds out the promise of a better, if different, Detroit.

The big question now is what happens to “Detroit Future City,” as the compilation of text, data, maps, and recommendations is titled. The Detroit Economic Growth Corp., headed by President and CEO George W. Jackson Jr., takes over the general overseeing of the report, and the Detroit Works team is recommending that a consortium of civic leaders be formed to help popularize Detroit Future City’s ideas.

But as Robin Boyle, chair of the department of urban planning at Wayne State University, put it, the hard work really starts now that the report itself is finished.

“If there is a widespread commitment, cultural, political, organizational, to move the recommendations, policies forward, then these large-scale plans can be effective,” he said.

Heaster Wheeler, assistant CEO of Wayne County, served as a steering committee member for the Detroit Works Long-Term Planning team. He said this week he and others who participated would try to provide that leadership going forward.

“Several of us have basically decided we’re not going away,” he said. “We’ve got a huge stake in the outcome. We’ve given over two years of voluntary participation and discussion after discussion. We’re in until we win.”

The final report is an off-shoot of the Detroit Works effort launched by Mayor Dave Bing in the fall of 2010. Bing promised then that his advisers would come up with a way to reshape Detroit’s neighborhoods in short order. But chaotic public meetings and opposition to a suggestion to relocate residents from distressed districts led to a rebooting of the effort several months later.

Eventually the effort split into a short-term piece focusing on a handful of neighborhoods and a long-term strategic endeavor that produced the Detroit Future City report released this week.

That long-term report was produced by a team of urban planners led by project manager Toni Griffin, a New York-based expert on urban redevelopment, and including multiple Detroit-based experts, including Dan Kinkead, an architect with the firm Hamilton Anderson Associates, and Dan Pitera, a professor of architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy. The Kresge Foundation and other philanthropic funders paid for the staff work and the report itself.

Over more than a year, the team conducted dozens of community meetings and held more than 30,000 conversations with Detroiters to produce the report. Advisory teams included dozens of prominent Detroiters as well as outside technical experts.

Sandra Turner-Handy, an east side resident and community outreach director for the Michigan Environmental Council, served as a process leader for the Detroit Works long-term planning team. She said residents overcame initial suspicion of the project once they realized that Detroit Future City would recommend that every neighborhood be improved, if in many different ways depending on conditions.

“Once they got past the mistrust, they were in,” she said this week. “The residents were excited and ready. Our goal is go make sure we give the residents what they need to help them recreate their communities.”

Among the most innovative ideas in Detroit Future City: That nearly one-third of Detroit’s 139-square-mile land area, the areas mostly vacant today, should be given over to new forms of “landscape” uses, including farms, forests, and “blue infrastructure” such as new ponds, lakes, and swales to keep rainwater out of the city’s overburdened sewage system.

Nobody who still lives in these mostly depopulated districts would be forced to relocate from these districts against their will. But new house-swap programs and other incentives might be offered to encourage them to move, and future resources for residential development would be directed elsewhere.

Detroit Future City also calls for limited resources to be allocated with a goal of creating denser concentrations of residential and commercial activity. The idea is that scarce resources can be allocated more efficiently in densely populated areas than spread thinly across the entire city.

All areas would receive some level of service. But transportation spending, workforce training, residential development, and other activity would be directed at areas most likely to produce denser concentrations of activity.

So far, the report is merely a collection of recommendations. It will go nowhere without widespread buy-in not only from current city officials but from a wide range of public, philanthropic, and corporate decision makers, as well as the public at large.

With that in mind, the project team that created the Detroit Future City report has careful to call their report a “framework” rather than a “plan.” If “plan” connotes a blueprint with specific details about what will happen where, a “framework” offers more of a context for thinking about the city’s future trajectory and what sort of things should happen if given certain conditions.

Like multiple past reports and plans, this new Detroit Future City report faces numerous obstacles to avoid being just another tome gathering dust on a shelf. Among the potential roadblocks: The city’s near-bankrupt fiscal condition, and the long-time inability of multiple public and private agencies and organizations to work together to achieve ambitious goals.

WSU’s Boyle noted that some strategic visionary exercises have produced great results, like the famous Burnham Plan for Chicago’s lakefront. But he added, “If we look at many other examples, the impact of plans has been less than remarkable. That’s because people don’t get behind them. They don’t get the commitment necessary to do the heavy lifting.”

But the tone of the report is unabashedly upbeat.

“The world needs Detroit’s example,” the report says. “We must proceed with open eyes and be willing to flex muscles and minds – not simply to ‘Get to Yes’ but ‘Get to Next.’”

The 347-page report divides into an Executive Summary, five subject chapters – Economic Growth, Land Use, City Systems, Neighborhoods, and Land & Buildings Assets – and a concluding section on Civic Engagement.

Each of the subject chapters offers an assessment of where Detroit is now, where it should go, and what implementation steps it can take to get there.

Urban Times

Location: International

Website: www.urbantimes.co

Welcome to the go to place for optimists and forward-thinkers.

We launched Urban Times to tackle the sensationalism and hearsay that permeates the news and media culture of today.

Our content is entirely user-generated as citizen journalists and thought-leaders from across the globe submit their content to be edited for free. By mixing the scale and impact of a mega content generator with the positive values and culture of a small startup, we will rewire the global worldview towards solutions-oriented thinking.

Urban Times is the sustainable future of online publishing.

Our doors are open to all potential contributors, whether you’re a writer, editor, designer, developer or something else entirely.

We are a grass-root online magazine with a keen eye for the built environment, technology, science, politics, culture, the environment and any other content that makes Urban Times the home for optimistic forward-thinkers. We attempt to promote open debate and greatly appreciate our readers’ ideas.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Web Urbanist

Location: International

Website: www.weburbanist.org

Over one million readers per month follow WebUrbanist as it covers educational, inspirational and sensational works of creative visual culture from around the world.

From product design to urban planning, urban street graffiti to installation art pieces, our authors work to find the most innovative, compelling and cutting-edge artists and designers in the world. But if you were expecting a deluge of daily content, do not worry: our focus is on quality over quantity, depth over frequency. Publishing at most two articles a day, WebUrbanist packs each piece with as many relevant paragraphs, images and links as possible.

WebUrbanist has multiple articles per week, but only one to two per day. Our noon article (12:00 PM) tackles a topic in depth – the emphasis here is on quality, well-researched and fully sourced articles on whatever the subject is. Our periodic evening article (8:00 PM) generally zooms in on a more narrow subject – often a single artist, designer or piece of creative work.

As you can already see, this is not a high-frequency, content-republishing blog – it is a thoughtfully collective online urban magazine. We hope you will enjoy the latest from WebUrbanist each and every time you open your inbox, click into your feed reader or visit the site.

WebUrbanist has nearly 1,000,000 unique visitors each month. Our articles have featured on the front pages of social news sites including Metafilter, Digg, Reddit, Fark, StumbleUpon and Pinterest. WebUrbanist has been written about and linked from major national websites and blogs including The Guardian, CNN, Gawker, Gizmodo, FOX, MSNBC, WebWare, Pronet, The MyBlogLog Blog, Wired, Mental Floss, Neatorama, Dark Roasted Blend and Deputy Dog. WebUrbanist is in the Alexa top 25K, Technorati top 500 and Google PageRank 6. Web Urbanist has over 500,000 RSS and email subscribers.

2 degrees Portland

Location: Portland, ME

Website: www.twodegreesportland.org

2 Degrees Portland is a network of people who want to sustain and grow the city's economy by welcoming creators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and thinkers to the area — a sort of 21st century welcome wagon. Part of Portland's allure is that people are connected by much less than "six degrees of separation." We hope to bring that number closer to two.

We're here to connect you to the people you want to meet. If you're interested in moving yourself, your family, or your business to Portland, fill out this short form and you'll hear back from Chelsea DeLorme, our 2 Degrees Portland coordinator in less than 48 hours.

If you live or have lived in the Portland area and would like to be a Connector for 2 Degrees, fill out this short form and tell us about yourself and who you might like to meet.

What's in it for you? 2 Degrees Portland holds informal gatherings every other month, so that we can break out of our domain silos and get to know the diverse array of people who make Portland a great place to live and work. While we have a good time, we also strengthen our creative community and help newcomers tap into our growing network of talented, motivated people.

Since our conception of the Creative Economy includes everyone from marine scientists to photographers, web designers to biotech PhDs, and ballet dancers to civil engineers, you won't meet the same people you usually do. 2 Degrees is a place for cross-pollination of ideas, as well as a way to build the critical mass we need to thrive. Please join us.