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

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

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

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


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

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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.

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