"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, April 30, 2013


Location: International

Website: www.cityfabric.org

CityFabric aspires to build community and civic-pride for your city by creating conversations about your place through simple design and apparel tools.

Our maps are a very easy way for people to tell a story about where they live. Communicating the process of change and design in the built environment is crucial for inspiring people to get involved in the decisions that determine the direction of their city.

It is our belief that the more people talk about their place the more they will get involved in their community.

Our Story:

Trial & Error - August 2010 to April 2011:

After printing 75 tees and selling half in three hours at a local arts market, we decided to learn the ins and outs of retail, inventory, production, online publicity, and innovation over the 7 months while still in grad school full-time

CityFabric, Inc - April 2011:

Matt founded CityFabric, Inc. and started planning a Kickstarter project to launch a full civic-minded line of products focused on engaging people with the city.

Kickstarter – July 2011 to August 2011:

The success of our Wear You Live™" Kickstarter project could not have come at a better time, offering Matt the confidence to move forward with CityFabric as a national identity focused on creating conversations about the city and fostering community engagement.

Walk the Walk – January 2012:

After months of getting the numbers to work and the brand established, CityFabric’s first civic-minded project (walk-raleigh.com) was launched, bolstering the larger CityFabric mission of "civic-minded projects fueled by civic-minded products.

Getting Noticed - Feb 2012:

After some challenges and triumphs locally, Walk Raleigh received national and international attention, with a feature in The Atlantic Cities and in the most watched BBC video in the US the day it aired.

Walk Your City - April 2012:

In response to overwhelming demand and support, Matt launched a Kickstarter for Walk [Your City], expanding the idea behind Walk Raleigh and creating an accessible platform for other cities. Matt also presented the project at the Tactical Urbanism Salon in Philadelphia.

Recognition - Summer 2012:

Our civic-minded projects started gaining recognition, winning awards like the Core 77 Design Award and an ASLA National Student Honor Award, and getting features in publications like Architect Magazine and Fast Company. In August, Walk Raleigh was selected to represent the US in the American Pavilion at the 13th Annual Venice Architecture Biennale.

Momentum - Fall 2012: Excited by the support and recognition, we continued building out our platform and partnerships for our civic-minded projects. During this process, Walk [Your City] was named one of the top 7 sites for creating the future city. Matt was selected as a 2012 Next American Vanguard, attending the Next American City conference in St. Louis with fellow “40 under 40” urban leaders from across the US.


Location: Memphis, TN

Website: www.artsmemphis.org

We support the Memphis art, music and theatre community through engagement and participation.

Celebrating our 50th year in 2013,
ArtsMemphis raises funds to ensure excellence in the arts and build a vibrant cultural community for everyone. ArtsMemphis provides annual support, financial oversight, advocacy and mentoring to many diverse organizations through annual grants in several grant categories.

We fund arts education & outreach projects and oversee an Audience Development Initiative to enhance and build local cultural audiences.

ArtsMemphis has allocated $40 million over the past 10 years to support our arts community. More than 95% of every dollar raised through the annual campaign is reinvested in the community through arts support.

Our mission is to funds to ensure excellence in the arts and build a vibrant cultural community for everyone. We were founded by volunteer community leaders in 1963. We have allocated over $40 million in the last 10 years.

Completed the historic Memphis for the Arts campaign in 2005, raising over $27 million for the ArtsMemphis endowment.

More than 95% of every dollar raised through the annual campaign is reinvested in the community through arts support

Center for Urban Science and Progress

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.cusp.nyu.edu

The Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) is a unique public-private research center that uses New York City as its laboratory and classroom to help cities around the world become more productive, livable, equitable, and resilient.

CUSP observes, analyzes, and models cities to optimize outcomes, prototype new solutions, formalize new tools and processes, and develop new expertise/experts. These activities will make CUSP the world’s leading authority in the emerging field of “Urban Informatics.”

The Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) aims to unite two extraordinarily profound developments in human history in order to improve the lives of citizens around the globe.

90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone. For the first time in history, more than half the world’s population lives in urban areas.

CUSP will instrument New York City and use existing data from a network of agencies to transform the city into a living laboratory and classroom. It will make sense of the vast amount of data it collects to help cities around the world become more productive, more livable, more equitable, and more resilient.

As it develops new expertise through research and new experts through educational programs such as a master’s degree and an advanced certificate, CUSP will become the world’s leading authority in the emerging field of urban informatics — the collection, integration, and analysis of data to understand and improve urban systems and quality of life.

CUSP was created by New York University, NYU‑Poly, a consortium of world-class universities, and prominent international tech companies as a response to a challenge put forth by New York City to create an applied science campus that will make the city a world capital of science and technology, and dramatically grow its economy. As such, CUSP has the commitment and cooperation from New York City to take the city’s pulse like never before as it establishes professional and academic standards for the field of urban informatics.


Location: International

Website: www.avaaz.org/en/

Avaaz is a global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.

A transnational community that is more democratic, and could be more effective, than the United Nations.
— Suddeutsche Zeitung Avaaz—meaning "voice" in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—launched in 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.

Avaaz empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change. Our model of internet organising allows thousands of individual efforts, however small, to be rapidly combined into a powerful collective force.

The Avaaz community campaigns in 15 languages, served by a core team on 6 continents and thousands of volunteers. We take action -- signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing "offline" protests and events -- to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform the decisions that affect us all.

Previous international citizens' groups and social movements have had to build a constituency for each separate issue, year by year and country by country, in order to reach a scale that could make a difference.

Today, thanks to new technology and a rising ethic of global interdependence, that constraint no longer applies. Where other global civil society groups are composed of issue-specific networks of national chapters, each with its own staff, budget, and decision-making structure,

Avaaz has a single, global team with a mandate to work on any issue of public concern--allowing campaigns of extraordinary nimbleness, flexibility, focus, and scale.

Avaaz's online community can act like a megaphone to call attention to new issues; a lightning rod to channel broad public concern into a specific, targeted campaign; a fire truck to rush an effective response to a sudden, urgent emergency; and a stem cell that grows into whatever form of advocacy or work is best suited to meet an urgent need.

Each year, Avaaz sets overall priorities through all-member polls (See 2013 poll results here), and campaign ideas are polled and tested weekly to 10,000-member random samples—and only initiatives that find a strong response are taken to scale. Campaigns that do reach the full membership are then super-charged by, often, hundreds of thousands of Avaaz members taking part within days or even hours.

Avaaz staff write email alerts to the Avaaz community the way that an aide briefs a president or prime minister: we have just a moment to convey the vital information the reader needs in order to decide whether to get involved, and the campaign hinges on that decision.

To make that moment of attention count, it's the job of staff to find ways that a few minutes, multiplied across huge numbers of people, can make a genuine difference on something that matters.

Staff work with partners and experts to develop effective, member-driven campaign strategies; summarize them through clear and compelling alerts; and, if the Avaaz membership chooses to proceed, makes sure that the campaign is carried through—delivering petitions and members' messages, arranging member-funded ad campaigns, or whatever else is required.

In other words, Avaaz staff don't set an agenda and try to convince members to go along with it. It's closer to the opposite: staff listen to members and suggest actions they can take in order to affect the broader world. Small wonder, then, that many of our most successful campaigns are suggested first by Avaaz members themselves. And leadership is a critical part of member service: it takes vision and skill to find and communicate a way to build a better world.

We focus on tipping-point moments of crisis and opportunity

In the life of an issue or a cause, a moment sometimes arises when a decision must be made, and a massive, public outcry can suddenly make all the difference. Getting to that point can take years of painstaking work, usually behind the scenes, by dedicated people focusing on nothing else. But when the moment does come, and the sunlight of public attention floods in, the most crucial decisions go one way or another depending on leaders' perceptions of the political consequences of each option. It is in these brief windows of tremendous crisis and opportunity that the Avaaz community often makes its mark.

In any country or on any issue, those moments might come only once or twice a year. But because Avaaz can work in all countries and on all issues, these moments can crop up several times in a week.

Our member-funded model keeps us independent and accountable. Because Avaaz is wholly member-funded, democratic accountability is in our DNA. No corporate sponsor or government backer can insist that Avaaz shift its priorities to suit some external agenda—we simply don't accept funds from governments or corporations.

Instead of fragmenting, we grow—united by values, movements, coalitions, and organizations often fracture over time into many smaller pieces—or spend more and more of their time trying to hold warring factions together. At Avaaz, we recognize that people of good will often disagree on specifics; instead of straining for consensus, each of us simply decides whether to participate in any particular campaign.

But underlying Avaaz campaigns is a set of values—the conviction that we are all human beings first, and privileged with responsibilities to each other, to future generations, and to the planet. The issues we work on are particular expressions of those commitments. And so, over and over, Avaaz finds the same thing: that people who join the community through a campaign on one issue go on to take action on another issue, and then another. This is a source of great hope: that our dreams rhyme, and that, together, we can build the bridge from the world we have to the world we all want.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Grow Smart Rhode Island

Locaton: Rhode Island

Website: www.growsmartri.org

Grow Smart Rhode Island is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that advocates sustainable economic growth that builds upon andstrengthens Rhode Island’s exceptional quality of place.

We work to achieve:

- Revitalized, walkable urban and town centers,

- Housing options and affordability,

- Expanded transportation choices,

- A vital agricultural sector, and

- Responsible stewardship of natural resources.

Grow Smart Rhode Island grew out of a spring 1997 conference that attracted 600 concerned citizens and representatives from organizations and agencies working on the issue of sustainable economic growth, urban revitalization andquality of place in Rhode Island.

Discussions prompted by the conference identified the need for a flexible but focused organization to link these groups and educate citizens, business leaders and elected officials about the impacts of urban disinvestment and the loss of open space in our more rural areas and about state and local policies and strategies to combat these trends. In the 14 years since our founding,

Grow Smart has developed a broad and powerful coalition that includes business and religious leaders, university presidents, builders, realtors, farmers, historic preservationists, environmentalists, affordable housing experts, municipal planners and others.

Our coalition’s accomplishments have been recognized with awards from The Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, the Environmental Business Council of NewEngland, Preserve Rhode Island, Rhode Island Housing EPA’s Region 1Office, and the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Grow Smart Rhode Island’s core values detail the beliefs which underlie the organization’s mission statement and serve as guidelines for the organization’s review of policies, programs and projects.

Grow Smart Rhode Island believes that quality of life means creating a network of healthy and vigorous communities – urban, suburban and rural – that reflect a balance of social, economic and environmental values.

Grow Smart supports economic growth. GSRI defines economic growth as activities that create, or add value to, goods or services and that provide opportunities for people.

Grow Smart believes that a state’s quality of life and environmental health are pivotal in attracting, keeping and growing businesses. A healthy business climate and a healthy environment are therefore part of the overall economic system.

Grow Smart believes that economic development activities should add sustainable and resilient jobs to Rhode Island’s total job pool rather than shifting existing jobs from one area to another.

Grow Smart believes that economic development projects should be evaluated not only for their job creation but also for their potential impacts on statewide industrial and commercial vitality, on the environment, and on the quality of life of the community.

Grow Smart believes that Rhode Island has many under-utilized economic assets, and that planning and policy should foster their maintenance and revitalization.

Grow Smart believes that in order to have a healthy economy, we must have development patterns which can be sustained with a reasonable level of state and local taxes. Scattered development leads to more expensive delivery systems. Therefore, planned growth in or near areas of existing development and infrastructure and the resulting preservation of open space are preferable to sprawl and improve the economic competitiveness of Rhode Island.

Grow Smart believes that as an intensively urbanized state, Rhode Island has a special obligation to make sure that its cities and town centers are attractive, vibrant centers for business and residents.

Grow Smart believes that commercial, industrial, and residential development and government facilities should be focused in areas where there are established centers of development and existing infrastructure.

Grow Smart believes that public monies should not be used to subsidize development beyond existing infrastructure and service areas. Public investment should be used to foster redevelopment in areas of existing infrastructure.

Grow Smart believes that neighborhoods should:

- offer transportation and housing options,

- connect with the broader community by various means of transportation,

- incorporate key services such as shopping, recreation, education, whose design/planning locates houses within ready walking distance of one another, and

- provide quality public spaces such as parks and squares.

Grow Smart believes that new development should be carefully designed to connect with the existing community through jobs and transportation.

Grow Smart believes that it is important to preserve the state’s farmlands, forests, Bay and inland waters, and coastal lands.

Grow Smart believes that these natural resources sustain the state’s farming, fisheries, wood products and tourism industries.

Grow Smart believes that farmlands, forests and open space are important to the character of Rhode Island’s communities and they serve to visually separate the distinct identities of our urban, town and village centers from each other.

Grow Smart believes that farmlands, forests, and coastal lands and our Bay and inland rivers provide recreational opportunities for our citizens and visitors to our state.

Grow Smart believes that forests and open space help to protect our air and water quality.

Grow Smart believes that Federal, state and local transportation funds should be focused on maintaining existing roads and highways, promoting efficient automobile use, and developing mass transit and other alternatives to automobile transportation.

Grow Smart believes that new development should be located near existing centers of development and transit lines and should incorporate the appropriate scale, mixed uses and higher densities which favor alternatives to automobile travel. Planning and implementation for new development should encourage pedestrian, bicycle, public transit, and water transportation.

Grow Smart believes that state and local elected officials should take a leadership position in promoting smart growth and that Rhode Island citizens should hold elected officials responsible for establishing and implementing effective smart growth policies.

Grow Smart recognizes the key role which city and town governments play in shaping growth locally and regionally. Grow Smart believes that effective city and town planning requires professional planning staff at the local level and a state planning agency equipped to provide local communities with training and technical assistance as needed.

Grow Smart believes that Rhode Island’s heavy reliance on the local property tax to fund public education and other community services adversely impacts decisions as to where development is located. We should seek to identify and implement alternative funding sources to reduce our reliance on the local property tax.

Grow Smart believes that state and local governments, in partnership with the private sector, should promote and implement policies which encourage private sector investment in urban and town centers.

Grow Smart believes that all zoning must conform to the local comprehensive plan and that proposed zone changes that do not conform to the comprehensive plan must be discouraged, as stipulated in Rhode Island law,.

Grow Smart believes that local planning should stress regional cooperation with neighboring cities and towns.

Grow Smart believes that smart growth is best achieved when there is a strong and effective statewide planning process. This process is best achieved through a strong state planning agency with effective powers to shape growth in Rhode Island and with sufficient staffing and funding.

Grow Smart believes that the State of Rhode Island and its departments and agencies play a large role in determining the location and character of development and redevelopment in RI. These agencies should, through their policies, programs and procedures, focus development in existing centers of development and in designated, well-planned new centers of development.

Grow Smart believes that citizens should actively participate in creating and implementing a statewide vision for the state’s future development.

Grow Smart will actively solicit the opinions and ideas of all Rhode Islanders and promote public debate about the future direction of our state.

Grow Smart will study Rhode Island’s current patterns of physical development to further our understanding of their social, economic and environmental impacts.

Grow Smart will provide comprehensive, objective and reliable information about growth.

Grow Smart will emphasize both the importance of government leadership and the critical role which private-sector decisions play in determining the future direction of Rhode Island’s physical development.

Grow Smart will educate, participate in public affairs, and build coalitions to influence public policy.

Grow Smart will work with other like-minded organizations to avoid duplication of effort.

Grow Smart will review selected policies, procedures and projects for their impact on the quality of growth in Rhode Island. Grow Smart may take public positions on policies, procedures and projects which have regional and statewide implications and may advocate for outcomes that further smart growth in the state.

Grow Smart Rhode Island is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that advocates sustainable economic growth that builds upon and strengthens Rhode Island’s exceptional quality of place.

We work to achieve:

- Revitalized, walkable urban and town centers,

- Housing options and affordability,

- Expanded transportation choices,

- A vital agricultural sector, and

- Responsible stewardship of natural resources.

Reconnecting America

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.reconnectingamerica.org

Reconnecting America is a national nonprofit that advises civic and community leaders on how to overcome community development challenges to create better communities for all. Reconnecting America develops research and innovative public policy, while also building on-the-ground partnerships and convening players needed to accelerate decision-making.

The community where we live holds a special place in our hearts. Some of us still live in the same neighborhood where our family has had roots for generations. Some of us choose a community with an eye toward a new beginning. Where we live matters.

At Reconnecting America, we help transform promising ideas into thriving communities, where transportation choices make it easy to get from place to place, where businesses flourish, and where people from all walks of life can afford to live, work and visit.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Los Angeles Conservancy

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Website: www.laconservancy.org

The Los Angeles Conservancy is a nonprofit membership organization that works through education and advocacy to recognize, preserve, and revitalize the historic architectural and cultural resources of Los Angeles County.

A small group of concerned citizens formed the Conservancy in 1978 as part of a community-based effort to prevent demolition of the Los Angeles Central Library, built in 1926. The Conservancy now has more than 6,000 members and hundreds of volunteers, making it the largest local preservation group in the U.S.

With a mandate of awareness, assistance, and action, the Conservancy works to preserve historic resources by developing preservation and reuse strategies, as well as raising awareness of their value in strengthening communities, conserving resources, fostering economic development, and enriching lives.

We work closely with neighborhood associations, heritage organizations, cultural institutions, and other preservation groups. We also spearhead and promote initiatives to facilitate preservation and deter senseless demolition, including the Mills Act and other investment tax credits, the Los Angeles Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, and the creation of historic districts.

The Conservancy’s proactive preservation efforts include the Broadway Initiative, which for over a decade has sought to revitalize downtown’s Historic Core; the Neighborhood Initiative, which provides outreach, programs, and services that help protect Los Angeles’ historic neighborhoods; and a Youth Outreach Initiative, which engages children and teens to cultivate the next generation of preservationists. Since 1982, we have officially recognized outstanding achievement in preservation through our annual Preservation Awards.

The Conservancy’s advocacy efforts have helped to save and revitalize such beloved landmarks as the former Cathedral of St. Vibiana, the Wilshire May Company Building, the Wiltern Theatre, the Cinerama Dome, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House, and the world’s oldest remaining McDonald’s restaurant.

These are but a few of the countless historic resources that the Conservancy has worked to protect from demolition. We work with property owners, developers, public officials, and other stakeholders to find mutual solutions that preserve irreplaceable historic resources. We work closely with neighborhood associations, heritage organizations, cultural institutions, and other preservation groups.

We also spearhead and promote initiatives to facilitate preservation and deter senseless demolition, including the Mills Act and other investment tax credits, the Los Angeles Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, and the creation of historic districts.

Through a host of innovative educational programs, the Conservancy has introduced legions of Angelenos to the history and value of Greater Los Angeles’ built environment. Our series of architectural walking tours has served more than 100,000 residents and visitors over the past thirty years.

Additional special tours focus on the work of a particular architect, neighborhood, or architectural style. Launched in 1987 to draw attention to the plight of Broadway’s neglected movie palaces, the annual Last Remaining Seats film series entertains more than 10,000 people each year while demonstrating the vitality and viability of L.A.’s extraordinary historic theatres.

The Conservancy’s large and active membership reflects an unprecedented level of support for L.A.’s historic resources, and the Conservancy continues to gain ground in making preservation part of public policy, urban planning, and the public consciousness.


Location: International

Website: www.terrain.org

Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments is a quarterly journal publishing online since 1997 that searches for the interface — the integration — among the built and natural environments that might be called the soul of place.

It is not definitely about urban form, nor solely about natural landscapes. It is not precisely about human culture, nor necessarily about ecology. It is, rather, a celebration of the symbiosis between the built and natural environments where it exists, and an examination and discourse where it does not.

The literary, journalistic, and artistic works contained with Terrain.org are of the highest quality, submitted by a variety of contributors for a diverse audience, including some of the finest material previously appearing in Terra Nova: Nature & Culture.

The works may be idealistic, technical, historical, philosophical, and more. Above all, they focus on the environments around us — the built and natural environments — that both affect and are affected by the human species.

Terrain.org strives to be both a resource and a pleasure, a compass and a shelter. Technical and journalistic works contained in the Nonfiction, Unsprawl, Reviews, Interview, and perhaps even Editorials sections are aimed at professionals and other interested individuals and groups.

These contributions can help communities develop and redevelop in a more sustainable manner. Literary and artistic works contained in the Poetry, Nonfiction, Fiction, Editorials, ARTerrain, and To Know a Place sections allow the reader to relax and enjoy the pieces for what they are. All work contained within Terrain.org is, we hope, accessible to all interested audiences.

While a case study may help a community planner in his or her job, it may also inform a banker, inspire a student, and educate a mechanic. While a poem may give joy to a teacher, it may also provide a brief sojourn for a scientist, give cause to reflect for a developer, and give hope to a housewife (or househusband). We are also seeking videos, and hope to build out that new genre over the upcoming issues.

The works contained within Terrain.org ultimately examine the physical realm around us, and how those environments influence us and each other physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

So brew up a pot of cybertea, rest your feet upon that favorite desk, and enjoy.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Professional Innkeepers Association of New Orleans

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.bbnola.com

This site is owned and operated by the Professional Innkeepers Association of New Orleans (PIANO), an industry trade group whose members are owners of small inns, guest houses and bed & breakfasts.

Enjoy your visit to our online home while you learn more about how our member B&Bs and inns can make your visit to New Orleans even more special! After all, you can stay in a generic hotel anywhere. Why not make your trip to New Orleans memorable with a stay in a B&B inn?

In mid-2000, a group of New Orleans innkeepers met to initially establish the New Orleans Bed and Breakfast Association. Later that year, the group broadened its mission to include other innkeepers as well and reformed as the Professional Innkeepers Association of New Orleans.

Currently, about 50 properties participate in the organization. PIANO membership is available only to B&Bs and inns which are licensed by the City of New Orleans. Associate membership may be granted to small inns which do not fit the legal definition of a bed & breakfast or which are located outside of the city limits.

The group meets several times a year to discuss issues of importance to New Orleans bed and breakfasts, guest houses and inns. Additionally, members assist potential guests in securing quality accommodations in the event of a first choice being unavailable.

Nature Vancouver

Location: Vancouver, BC

Website: www.naturevancouver.ca

Vancouver Natural History Society (Nature Vancouver) was founded in 1918 by Professor John Davidson with the following objectives:

- To promote the enjoyment of nature,

- To foster public interest and education in the appreciation and study of nature,

- To encourage the wise use and conservation of natural resources,

- To work for the complete protection of endangered species and ecosystems, and

- To promote access to, and maintenance of, natural areas in the vicinity of Vancouver.

Nature Vancouver is a not-for-profit charitable society registered under the BC Societies Act. Membership in the Society is open to all. The Society is a Federated Club of BC Nature.

The Society is organized into a number of sections; Birding, Botany, Conservation, Geology, Marine Biology and Photography.

The Society holds regular evening meetings and invites guest speakers to make presentations on natural history topics. These meetings are open to the general public, with no admission fee, and are held from January to April; and from September to November.

In addition, the Birding, Botany and Marine Biology sections sponsor monthly meetings from January to April and September to December. The Conservation section also meets monthly.

The Society publishes Discovery, a journal of natural history. It is published twice a year and is distributed to all members of the Society. Discovery is also available to non-members by subscription. The Society also publishes a quarterly newsletter, Vancouver Naturalist, which contains the details of the Society's programs and events.

Field trips for members of the Society are offered most weekends. The Society holds a yearly summer camp and also offers nature tours to its members.

Members of Nature Vancouver participate in the annual Christmas Bird Count and numerous other monthly surveys.

Eno Center for Transportation

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.enotrans.org

The Eno Center for Transportation (Eno) was founded in 1921 by William Phelps Eno (1859-1945), who pioneered the field of traffic management in the United States and Europe. Mr. Eno sought to promote safe mobility by ensuring that traffic control became an accepted role of government and traffic engineering a recognized professional discipline.

Eno focuses on all modes of transportation, with the mission of cultivating creative and visionary leadership for the sector. We pursue this mission by supporting activities in three areas: professional development programs, policy forums, and publications.

Eno is a non-profit charitable foundation, recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3). It is an operating foundation and does not make grants. About half of the Foundation’s work is supported by its endowment; the remainder is supported by tuition and fees, contracts, and publication sales.

In order to make the best use of its resources, the Foundation often works in partnership with government agencies, professional organizations, and other private organizations.

The Eno Center for Transportation’s mission is to seek continuous improvement in transportation and its public and private leadership in order to increase the system’s mobility, safety and sustainability.

William Phelps Eno (1858-1945) was an internationally recognized pioneer in traffic control and regulation. Dubbed the “Father of Traffic Safety,” Eno developed the first traffic plans for major cities including New York, London, and Paris, and is credited with helping to invent and popularize stop signs, taxi stands, pedestrian safety islands, and other traffic features commonly used throughout the world.

Eno started out in his family’s real estate business, but his interest in transportation led him to concentrate his spare time on traffic reform. In 1899, at the age of 40, he left real estate behind and devoted the rest of his life to implementing his concepts for sane and orderly transportation. His “rules of the road,” adopted by New York City in 1909, became the world’s first city traffic plan. He also wrote the first-ever manual of police traffic regulations.

Eno gradually embraced multimodal transportation interests. He developed a plan for subways in New York City long before anyone else seriously considered the concept. He also became interested in maritime activities, supported railroad development, and instigated research in the 1920s on the future impact of aviation.

In 1921, he chartered and endowed the Eno Transportation Foundation to attract the thinking of other transportation experts and specialists and to provide a forum for unbiased discussions that would lead to improvements in the movement of people and goods.

Eno died in 1945 at the age of 86. Ironically, he never drove a car during his lifetime. The Father of Traffic Safety, an avid horseback rider, distrusted automobiles.

Center for Neighborhood Technology

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.cnt.org

Founded in 1978, the Center for Neighborhood Technology has been a leader in promoting more livable and sustainable urban communities. In fact, our work focused on sustainable development before the term became as popular as it is today. As a creative think-and-do-tank, we research, invent, and test urban strategies that use resources more efficiently and more equitably.

Over the years, CNT’s work, especially in the areas of climate, energy, water, transportation and community development, has paid off by fueling a generation of community development and learning institutions, earning CNT a reputation as an economic innovator and leader in the field of creative sustainable development.

CNT is an “innovations center for urban sustainability.” We approach our work by participating in three primary activities:

Researching urban problems to build knowledge through tools and activities that change how residents, policymakers, and market actors respond to issues such as efficient use of resources, strategies for reducing pollution, or ways to improve public transportation. Our studies are readily available for use by residents, policymakers, students, and other researchers.

Building coalitions to advocate for public policies that can help address urban sustainability issues.

Designing, developing, and operating economic development demonstration projects to address urban sustainability in innovative ways.

CNT launched two nonprofits that advance our mission:

- CNT Energy, an organization that develops and implements initiatives to help consumers and communities control energy costs and reduce energy use.

- IGOSM CarSharing, a membership-based car sharing organization that provides hourly rental of a fleet of cars located across Chicago and its surrounding suburbs.

Our Urban Practice Consulting offers a unique menu of tools and strategies which can be applied individually or collectively to urban development and redevelopment

CNT has ongoing long-term relationships with a number of organizations with complementary missions.

With the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD), CNT works on a number of studies for communities seeking to maximize transit resources through more targeted development near transit, especially development that can serve lower- and moderate-income households.

Studies were undertaken for the Bay Area, Seattle, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, New Mexico and Australia.
With Reconnecting America, CNT continues to promote a national policy for intercity transportation. The partners used the findings of its late ’03 report, “Missed Connections: Financing Intermodal Transportation” to educate policy-makers about what resources could be used to connect the separately functioning transportation modes into a more integrated and efficient transportation system.

As a co-founder and leader in the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) coalition, CNT spent much of 2004 working to educate constituents about the federal “highway bill,” up for reauthorization after lapsing in 2003.

Specifically, the coalition worked to preserve basic federal protections like that which ensures that citizen participation in transportation plans “be early and continuing.” The coalition also helped build public understanding about the importance of efficient, intermodal transportation to reducing the cost of living.

Our LEED-Platinum (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building demonstrates how we work—from innovation to implementation—within a framework that values places.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Location: Bogota, Columbia

Website: www.100en1diabogota.com

There’s a limit to the amount of physical change one person or a small group of people can initiate in a city, but what if hundreds of citizens united, each putting in place the projects and changes they want to see in their city all on the same day?

That’s the goal of 100en1día (100 in 1 day) – a social movement originating from Bogotá, Colombia, which aims to inspire citizen driven change on a significant scale, transforming cities over a 24 hour period.

The project has already encouraged hundreds of interventions in the Colombian cities of Bogotá, Pasto, Pamplona and Chinú, with street art, urban gardens and bike lanes all appearing on the same day.

Bogotá is currently preparing for their second event on the 27th of April and international cities are also beginning to get on board. San José is launching its first event on the 20th of April and Cape Town and Copenhagen are running their own versions on the 25th of May.

Other cities have already expressed an interest in replicating the project. As a result, the team behind 100en1día are working on developing an online platform to make it as easy as possible launch local versions, saying: “We want to make it clear that 100en1día is a project for citizens to take action and realise their dream city.”

If you want to follow the interventions, click to find more information about Bogotá, San José, Cape Town and Copenhagen‘s events. You can also contact the team at 100en1día to find out more about launching the project in your city by emailing 100en1dia@gmail.com.

Institute for Public Architecture

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.instituteforpublicarchitecture.org

The Institute for Public Architecture (IPA) promotes socially engaged architecture through urban research projects and a future residency program for design practitioners. By supporting architects and allied professionals working in the public interest, the IPA strives to improve our public realm.


- We envision a world where architects and allied professionals are provided the resources and support they need to create excellent work in the public interest and to contribute to the high quality design of the public realm.

- We believe that supporting and elevating the profile of architects working in the public interest is the first step to creating better design for traditionally underserved populations.

- We believe that a vibrant network of ‘activist’ architects is critical to the improvement of design in the public realm.

- We believe that high quality design in the public realm is critical to the production of socially equitable environments.

Founder's Statement:

From IPA founder Jonathan Kirschenfeld, architect of the Floating Pool, several New York City supportive housing developments, and other socially conscious projects:

Wanting to make meaningful civic contributions through architecture, I embarked in the mid-1990s on a quest to create low-income housing and urban projects for not-for-profit clients with miniscule budgets, supporting underserved populations. Embedded in housing is social engagement. I have taken great pride in serving typically-forgotten clients and making contributions to the design of the public realm. There were times, however, when I was ready to throw in the towel, when my sense of isolation from the profession itself was painfully real and when the idea of creating luxury buildings, with a decent salary, was very appealing. What I did not have through these years, and what I would like now to help create, is a community of like-minded design practitioners working towards the diverse but common goal of high quality public architecture.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Festival of Ideas for the New City

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.urbanomnibus.net/2011/03/save-the-dates-festival-of-ideas-for-the-new-city/

What makes the city worth living in? How can we encourage and preserve the positive qualities of the city? How can technology be used to improve city life? Are there places or elements of the city that can be repurposed and re-imagined to serve new needs and populations?

When we talk about sustainability, what do we mean? And, what can each of us do to contribute to a healthy, diverse, equitable, tolerant, innovative and fun place to live? Above all, how are the creative arts crucial to the above and how can they move conversation forward?

These questions are at the heart of the Festival of Ideas for the New City, a brand new initiative focusing on culture, community, education, and participation. The festival will transform downtown Manhattan into a dynamic laboratory for creative thinking and action, bringing together scores of participants and public events, working together to affect change.

The Festival will harness the power of the creative community to imagine the future and explore the ideas destined to shape it. It will take place from May 4-8, 2011, in locations around Downtown Manhattan in an area spanning East to West including the Lower East Side, the East Village, Soho, Nolita, and Chinatown — and will serve as a platform for artists, writers, architects, engineers, designers, urban farmers, planners, and thought leaders in various disciplines to exchange ideas, propose solutions, and invite the public to participate.

The Festival of Ideas for the New City is organized around three central programs:

A three-day slate of symposia, lectures, and workshops with visionaries and leaders — including exemplary mayors from a variety of countries, forecasters, architects, artists, economists, and technology experts — who will address the four broad Festival themes: The Heterogeneous City; The Networked City; The Reconfigured City; and The Sustainable City. Wednesday-Saturday, May 4-7 at The Cooper Union, New York University, and the New Museum.

An innovative, minimal-waste, outdoor StreetFest will take place along the Bowery. More than seventy-five local grassroots organizations, small businesses, and non-profits will present model products and practices in a unique outdoor environment.

The Festival will premiere a new environmentally inspired tent module commissioned for the Festival, as well as outdoor living rooms and inflatable structures. Visitors can expect cooking demonstrations with urban farmers, rooftop gardening classes, oral history projects, bike tours and valets, and a variety of affordable and healthy, locally grown, sustainable food options. Saturday, May 7, 11 a.m-7 p.m.

Over eighty independent projects, exhibitions, and performances, which expand on the Festival’s themes, will open at multiple Festival Partner venues Downtown, activating a broad geographic area, and includes a solar powered mobile art studio; artist-commissioned roll-down, metal storefront gates; projections of poems in endangered languages on Lower East Side buildings; a prototype of an urban campground; a marathon event where architects will present their ideas about reconfiguring public space in a rapid fire format; an exhibit exploring the political, economic and social relevance of preservation and its role in architectural thinking; and a wide range of other activities exploring ideas for the future. Saturday evening, May 7, and Sunday, May 8.

The Festival was initially conceived by the New Museum over three years ago as an outgrowth of its ongoing commitment to public education and civic outreach. The eleven Organizing Partners include The Architectural League; Bowery Poetry Club; C-Lab/Columbia University; Center for Architecture; The Cooper Union; The Drawing Center; New Museum (Founding Partner); New York University/Wagner School Public Policy; PARC Foundation; Storefront for Art and Architecture; and Swiss Institute. Together, we reached out to hundreds of other groups and organizations to participate in the Festival. The Organizing Partners of the Festival are unified in their belief in the power of collaboration to make a difference and influence public awareness; together they advocate the central importance of creative capital to the quality of life in New York and any future city.


Location: Nationwide

Website: www.nextdoor.com

We're a team of 46 people who are passionate about building stronger and safer neighborhoods. We're based in San Francisco, California.

Nextdoor is the private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. It's the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it's free.

Thousands of neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.

People are using Nextdoor to:

- Quickly get the word out about a break-in,
- Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group,
- Track down a trustworthy babysitter,
- Find out who does the best paint job in town,
- Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog,
- Find a new home for an outgrown bike,
- Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name,

Nextdoor's mission is to bring back a sense of community to the neighborhood, one of the most important communities in each of our lives.

We created this company because we believe that the neighborhood is one of the most important and useful communities in a person's life. We hope that neighbors everywhere will use the Nextdoor platform to build stronger and safer neighborhoods around the world.

Our manifesto:

We are for neighbors -

- For neighborhood barbecues,
- For multi-family garage sales,
- For trick-or-treating
- We're for slowing down, children at play.
- For sharing a common hedge and an awesome babysitter,
- For neighborhood watch. Emergency response, and
- For just keeping an eye out for a lost cat.

We believe waving hello to the new neighbor says, “Welcome” better than any doormat.

We believe technology is a powerful tool for making neighborhoods stronger, safer places
to call home.

We're all about online chats that lead to more clothesline chats.

We believe fences are sometimes necessary, but online privacy is always necessary.

We believe strong neighborhoods not only improve our property value, they improve
each one of our lives.

We believe that amazing things can happen by just talking with the people next door.

We are Nextdoor. We are simply you and your neighbors, together.

Fences are sometimes necessary. But online privacy is always necessary. Nextdoor makes it safe to share online the kinds of things you'd be okay sharing with your neighbors in person.

Here's how:

Every neighbor has to verify their address.
Every neighbor signs in with their real name. Just like in person.
Your website is protected by password and encrypted by HTTPS.
We never share your info with advertisers.
To learn more about privacy, visit Frequently Asked Questions about privacy, or read our complete Privacy Policy.

Nextdoor makes it safe to share online the kind of things you'd be okay sharing with your neighbors in person.

Here's how:

Every neighbor must verify their address.
Each neighbor signs in with their real name. Just like in person.

You choose where your information is shared. Your website is securely encrypted using the HTTPS Internet protocol. Information shared will never show up in Google or other search engines. Nextdoor never shares your personal information with third-party advertisers.

We created Nextdoor because we believe that a neighborhood is one of the most important and useful communities in a person's life.

We believe in the traditional notion of neighbors as people who help and look out for each other. We hope that Nextdoor members embrace the concept of being neighborly to each other.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Heart & Soul Community Planning

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.orton.org/who/heart_soul

There’s something special about every town—the corner barbershop on Main Street, acres of wilderness, busy local shops, hard-working lands and people, or deep-rooted traditions. That character is why people love their towns. It’s why they live there. And it’s also in danger.

Towns everywhere struggle to cope with rapid demographic, economic and land use changes, and many are losing what makes them special. Traditional planning processes aren’t enough to respond to a dizzying array of challenges and keep our towns from becoming soulless shells of communities. And top-down, isolated decision-making isn’t enough to engage today’s diverse, active, information-hungry citizens, who have the power to strengthen their communities in the face of change.

The key to successful communities is their heart and soul—the unique cultures, landscapes, traditions and values that people cherish—and with people themselves taking action to sustain and enhance the places they love. Many communities are ready to protect their unique character, deeply engage their citizens, and meet the challenges of the 21st Century. For these communities, there is a new, better way forward.

We help small cities and towns describe, apply and uphold their heart and soul attributes so that they can adapt to change while maintaining or enhancing the things they value most.

We have coined the term “Heart & Soul Community Planning” to describe an approach that engages citizens in land use planning as a pathway to vibrant, enduring communities. Our approach helps diverse citizens identify and enhance a town’s most valued attributes: those special places, characteristics and customs that residents treasure and that connect them to one another. If lost, these attributes would be widely missed and alter the character of the town.

Heart & Soul Community Planning is an innovative, multi-disciplinary path to helping citizens from all walks of life discover and protect their towns’ heart and soul assets so that they can adapt to change while enhancing the attributes they value most. Our approach is built on an underlying set of principles described in our Declaration of Community Heart & Soul Beliefs.

Small cities and towns across America face many challenges. Towns that are close to significant natural resource amenities face increasing development pressures from urban professionals plying their trades via the Internet and enjoying the great outdoors, and from burgeoning retirement populations seeking the high quality, low stress way of life found in these picturesque and desirable places. Other communities suffer from youth exodus, crumbling infrastructure and antiquated economies, and they are tempted to embrace development at any cost.

Stories of confrontation and alienation are commonplace in local newspapers, and many citizens simply opt out of their towns’ important discussions and decisions due to skepticism, fatigue, intimidation or a sense that their voices don’t count.

While innovation and success has occurred across the country, land use planning in America has yet to engage a broad base of local citizens to help them define and shape the future of their communities.

Traditional quantitative approaches use important data about demographic and economic shifts, traffic counts and infrastructure needs, but frequently fail to account for the particular ways people relate to their physical surroundings and ignore or discount the intangibles—shared values, beliefs and quirky customs—that make a community.

Furthermore, a collection of quantifiable attributes without an understanding of shared values and a sense of purpose does not motivate citizens to show up and make tough, consistent decisions. It also fails to account for how citizens’ day-to-day lives and livelihoods—and those of future generations—will be affected by change.

A community is a special place full of stories of the people who live there. Collectively, these stories are a big part of the community’s character: its heart and soul. In a way, planning is like writing the next chapter in a community’s story.

As we embark on the 21st century, there are signs that citizens expect to have a greater role in community decisions. In The Next Form of American Democracy, Matt Leighninger wrote, “[C]itizens seem better at governing, and worse at being governed, than ever before…. We are leaving the era of expert rule, in which elected representatives and designated experts make decisions and attack problems with limited interference, and entering a period in which the responsibilities of governance are more widely shared.” The Foundation has witnessed many examples of “ordinary” citizens leading the way.

We believe that local citizens have the ingenuity and know-how to write the next chapter: to ensure the sustainable economic, environmental and social well-being of their communities. With the full participation of those who live, work and play in a community, a town can tap into its deep beliefs to direct the forces of growth and change, protecting and enhancing its heart and soul.

Heart & Soul Planning is an iterative process beginning with:

- Discovery and Articulation of valued assets,

- Implementation of policies, regulations, institutions and traditions to enhance and protect agreed on assets, and

- Stewardship of those assets and characteristics through evaluation, accountability and regular review and reassessment of Heart & Soul assets and the health of the community.

The Heart & Soul approach builds on innovative efforts in many disciplines across the country and around the world, including: values-based planning; consensus building; participatory democracy; citizen engagement; appreciative inquiry; community development; grassroots sustainability and buy-local movements; digital and other storytelling; the arts as a catalyst for citizen engagement and change; economic development; land conservation; “Smart Growth”; visualization; quality-of-life indicators; landscape design; historic preservation; applied GIS and other technologies. We acknowledge our many partners—known and unknown—for their groundbreaking work.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Two Bridges Neighborhood Council

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.twobridges.org

Two Bridges serves the residential, commercial, and cultural life of Manhattan’s Lower East Side through community-based programs and strategic partnerships. Our service area includes the economically, culturally, and ethnically diverse neighborhoods of Two Bridges, Chinatown, Little Italy, the East Village, and the Bowery Corridor.

As it has for over a century-and-a half of immigration, the demographic composition of the Lower East Side varies widely across all neighborhoods. In spite of the recent wave of gentrification transforming many parts of the Lower East Side, tens of thousands of working-class and low- to moderate-income individuals and families—many with deep roots in the neighborhood, and others just arriving—still call the Lower East Side home.

Two Bridges serves the community by creating affordable housing, advocating for improvements related to quality of life, providing access to social services, education and recreation programs, providing access to technology, and engaging residents in the public, political and planning processes that impact the community in which they live and work.

For more than half a century, Two Bridges has nurtured the unique character of the Lower East Side by building bridges among its diverse communities. Two Bridges develops affordable housing, promotes the recognition and preservation of the area’s living history and culture, and advocates for residents and merchants through public programs, policy reports, public programs and events, and participation in neighborhood coalitions.

By engaging in relevant and constructive dialogue with residents, local political leaders and partner organizations, Two Bridges provides authoritative commentary on critical issues facing our neighborhoods.

Among the most pressing issues currently addressed by Two Bridges are affordable housing, growing income disparities, and bridging the digital divide to overcome the access and knowledge gap facing those who cannot afford computer technology.

Two Bridges is also committed to linking those in need to social services, skills development, and jobs programs through partnerships with other organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Project 100

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Website: www.goproject100.com

Downtown Project is launching Project 100, the code name for a complete transportation system designed to let you get rid of your car and be more connected to your neighborhood — all for less than the monthly cost of traditional car ownership. The effort is part of Downtown Project’s goal to help revitalize downtown Las Vegas; transforming it into the most community-focused and connected city in the world.

On March 29, 2013, Project 100 inked a deal for the largest single US reservation in Tesla’s history: 100 Tesla Model S vehicles.

“We are excited to be partnering with Downtown Project and Project 100,” said Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors. “I am a big fan of their innovative efforts to help revitalize and transform downtown Vegas.”

Project 100 will launch a mobile application during its invite-only beta program in the coming months. Our official roll out will bring together the ultimate in collaborative consumption: 100+ on-demand drivers, 100+ shared cars, 100+ shared bikes, and 100+ shared shuttle bus stops — all under one single monthly membership.

Project 100 is the code name for a complete transportation system designed to let you get rid of your car and be more connected to your neighborhood. It includes on-demand cars with drivers, shared cars you can drive yourself, bikesharing, shuttle buses and more. The experience is simple: open an app so we know where you are and tell us what zone you want to travel to. With that information we’ll give you a set of options, for example, 1 – Be picked up by a driver in a Tesla in 3 minutes, 2 – Drive yourself in a low range electric vehicle that’s 0.2 miles away, 3 – Grab a bike that’s 0.1 miles away or 4 – Hop on the party bus that will be near you in 4 minutes.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Placemaking Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL

Website: www.placemakingchicago.org

Placemaking is a people-centered approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Put simply, it involves looking at, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in a particular space, to discover needs and aspirations. This information is then used to create a common vision for that place.

The vision can evolve quickly into an implementation strategy, beginning with small-scale, do-able improvements that can immediately bring benefits to public spaces and the people who use them.

Placemaking can be used to improve all of the spaces that comprise the gathering places within a community—its streets, sidewalks, parks, buildings, and other public spaces—so they invite greater interaction between people and foster healthier, more social, and economically viable communities.

But Placemaking is not just the act of building or fixing up a space; it is a process that fosters the creation of vital public destinations—the kind of places where people feel a strong stake in their communities and commitment to making things better.

Placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration and potential, creating good public spaces that pro mote people’s health, happiness, and economic well-being. As a PPS survey of its members suggests, this process is essential—even sacred—to people who care about the places in their lives.

Water Sensitive Urban Design

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Website: www.wsud.melbournewater.com.au

The key principles of Water Sensitive Urban Design as stated in the Urban Stormwater - Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines (Victorian Stormwater Committee, 1999) are:

Protect natural systems - protect and enhance natural water systems within urban developments. Promoting and protecting natural waterways as assets allows them to function more effectively and supports the ecosystems that rely on them.

Integrate stormwater treatment into the landscape - use stormwater in the landscape by incorporating multiple use corridors that maximise the visual and recreational amenity of developments.

The natural stormwater drainage system can be utilised for its aesthetic qualities within parklands and walking paths, making use of natural topography such as creek lines and ponding areas.

Protect water quality - improve the quality of water draining from urban developments into receiving environment. Through filtration and retention, water draining from urban developments can be treated to remove pollutants close to their source.

This approach reduces the effect that polluted water can have upon the environment and protects the natural waterways.

Reduce runoff and peak flows - reduce peak flows from urban development by local detention measures and minimising impervious areas. Local detention and retention enables effective land use for flood mitigation by utilising numerous storage points in contrast to the current practice of utilisation of large retarding basins.

This approach subsequently reduces the infrastructure required downstream to effectively drain urban developments during rainfall events.

Add value while minimising development costs - minimise the drainage infrastructure cost of the development. The reduction of downstream drainage infrastructure due to reduced peak flows and runoff minimises the development costs for drainage, whilst enhancing natural features such as rivers and lakes that add value to the properties of the area.

Renegade Tours STL

Location: St. Louis, MO

Website: www.renegadestl.com

To us, Saint Louis is a state of mind; one that doesn't stop when you leave the city limits. We tell the history of the people that built this place, lived in it, died in it...while setting their stories against the gorgeous and important architecture. At Renegade STL we strive to provide fresh, offbeat, and completely original tours, and we refuse, I repeat, refuse, to take ourselves too seriously.


Founder, tour guide, and french toast expert Amanda Clark comes armed with a B.A. in History, an obsession with architecture, and a sharp wit acquired from her Southern grandmother. For over 3 years Amanda has been creating private tours for clients such as Arch Grants and Leadership St. Louis.

She is also a founding member of Saint Louis TEN, a very popular story slam event held throughout the city. In 2011, she was listed as part of Alive Magazine's Buzz List, which makes her feel cool sometimes.

Tour guide and cool guy with a cool beard Chris Naffziger is an independent art historian who writes and edits www.stlouispatina.com, which is coming around on its seventh year documenting the history of St. Louis's built environment.

In 2012, Chris's blog was chosen by the Riverfront Times as the Best Architecture Blog in STL, which should make him feel cool all the time.

Lou-lover, world-traveler, lunch room raconteur, Jenny Ingram is our marketing maven and occasional tour guide. A high school English teacher by day with a background in Art History, Jenny is skilled at giving “the look,” deadly with a red pen, and proficient at making a fool of herself to keep an audience entertained.

Jenny is cool all of the time.

Soul of the Community

Location: Nationwide

Website; www.soulofthecommunity.org

Knight Soul of the Community (SOTC) is a three-year study conducted by Gallup of the 26 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation communities across the United States employing a fresh approach to determine the factors that attach residents to their communities and the role of community attachment in an area's economic growth and well-being. The study focuses on the emotional side of the connection between residents and their communities.

In its first year, the study compared residents’ attachment level to the GDP growth in the 26 communities over the past five years. The findings showed a significant correlation between community attachment and economic growth. The second year reinforced these findings, and found that nationwide economic troubles did not have a notable impact on attachment locally.

In the third year of the study, researchers analyzed the connection between community attachment and economic growth and found that cities with the highest levels of attachment had the highest rate of GDP growth.

The results of the SOTC study identify new approaches to help create transformational change and new possibilities for continued progress in Knight communities. Community leaders can use the study’s findings to maximize community strengths and address challenge areas to improve community attachment and potentially increase local economic growth.

The relationship of community attachment to economic development has particular relevance beyond the recent economic crisis as the study's findings can help leaders include new ideas into the existing economic rebuilding and development conversation.

Gallup interviewed a random, representative sample of 400 adults (age 18+) in each of the 26 Knight communities – nearly 14,000 people each year. In 2010, 15,200 interviews were conducted, with 1,000 conducted in eight focus communities.

The 2010 study also included 200 interviews among residents ages 18-34 in the focus communities to give us more information about that age group. Overall data were adjusted to ensure an accurate representation of the real demographic make-up of each community based on U.S. Census Bureau data. The surveys were conducted in English and Spanish. We studied 10 domains that were found to drive community attachment at varying levels:

- Basic services
– Community infrastructure
- Local Economy
- Safety
- Leadership and elected officials
- Aesthetics – physical beauty and green spaces
- Education systems
- Social offerings and opportunities for social interaction and citizen caring
- Openness/welcomeness – how welcoming the community is to different people
- Civic involvement - residents’ commitment to their community through voting or volunteerism
- Social capital – social networks between residents
- Social offerings, openness and aesthetics are most related to community attachment in all the 26 communities we studied.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Location: Queens, NY

Website: www.farroc.com

FAR ROC [For a Resilient Rockaway] is a two-phase design competition that will explore innovative strategies for the planning, design and construction of a resilient and sustainable development at Arverne East, an 80+ acre site on the Rockaway Peninsula.

In recent years, the relationship between the built and the natural environment has been dramatically affected by climate change, severe storm events, and rising sea levels. The extensive damage to low-lying waterfront zones caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 reinforced the need for resilient infrastructure and redevelopment strategies for existing coastal communities throughout the greater New York area.

Costly damage to buildings, roads, and utility systems by the storm raises the controversial question of whether areas of particular geographic vulnerability should be rebuilt, maintained and defended, or simply abandoned.

With these and other questions in mind, and given the scarcity of land and the significant need for housing and economic development in outlying areas of New York City, the FAR ROC design competition has been organized to solicit creative ideas for resilient development strategies that can be implemented not only in the Rockaways but also throughout New York City and in vulnerable communities everywhere.

Following a first-phase open call for design proposals, up to four finalists will be selected by an independent jury and provided a stipend of $30,000 to further refine their design strategies.

The winner of the competition will be announced in advance of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy on October 24th, 2013, and will receive an additional cash prize of $30,000.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Location: Atlanta, GA

Website: www.scoreatl.org

SCORE is a city wide, multi-venue collaborative art exhibition in Atlanta that celebrates our wonder, passion, and fascination with sports and art & design. An exhibition that is fresh and original, SCORE explores the art of the game and the game of art. SCORE will open in February 2014 (coinciding with the Winter Olympics).

SCORE strives to create a deeper appreciation of the arts among sports fans and expand the audiences of Atlanta's arts institutions. Programs will engage, enliven and educate the community.

Teaming several arts institutions including The Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), The Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia (MOCA GA) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and others, SCORE will capture the creative power of the Atlanta artistic community.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Causa Justa :: Just Cause

Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Website: www.cjjc.org

Causa Justa :: Just Cause builds grassroots power and leadership to create strong, equitable communities.

Born from a visionary merger between a Black organization and a Latino immigrant organization, we build bridges of solidarity between working class communities of color.

Through rights-based services, policy campaigns, civic engagement, and direct action, we improve conditions in our neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area, and contribute to building the larger multi-racial, multi-generational movement needed for fundamental change.

Causa Justa :: Just Cause envisions equal rights for people of color, immigrants, women, and all oppressed and exploited people. We envision an end to racism, and want to build a society based on self-determination, social justice, and solidarity.

We envision a future without displacement through real estate speculation and forced migration. We envision a society where housing is a human right and all families thrive.

We envision a future where corporate control is replaced by an economy run by the people and for the people, and political power is in the hands of those who need change the most.

We envision a restoration of balance between humans and nature, and an end to ecological plunder.

We believe that bringing together Black and Latino people is a crucial part of building a multi-racial people’s movement in the US that contributes to a global movement for liberation.

Downtown Ithaca Alliance

Location: Ithaca, NY

Website: www.downtownithaca.com

The Ithaca Downtown Business Improvement District (IDBID), is a State of New York chartered 501c3 not-for-profit organization charged with the revitalization, development, promotion and management of downtown Ithaca. The DIBID operates as the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA).

The Downtown Ithaca Alliance has adopted the following vision statement to guide its work and operation:

- Downtown Ithaca is the economic, social, and cultural heart of Tompkins County.

- The Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District will strive to preserve and develop the central downtown core as the region’s center for banking and finance, business and professional offices, government and community services, downtown residences, and as a retail destination highlighted by specialty shops, restaurants, arts and entertainment.

- Downtown serves people who live and work downtown, city and county residents, college communities, area visitors and tourists.

Founded in 1997 as the Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District.
The DIA is governed by a 24-member Board of Directors. There are 20 voting members and 4 non-voting members:

Interns are an important part of the DIA program. For-credit internship opportunities are usually available for students interested in marketing, special events and/or business development.

The Downtown Ithaca Alliance is a comprehensive downtown revitalization and management program engaged in four principal areas:

- Business Retention & Development

- Marketing & Membership Services

- Government Relations & Environmental Infrastructure

- Special Events

Business Retention & Development includes:
Strategic Planning
Business Recruitment & Attraction
Business Retention
Business Expansion
Provide One-on-One Business Technical Assistance
Business Start-Up Assistance
Project Development & Facilitation
Key Property Revitalization
Marketing & Membership Services includes:
Image Marketing
Student Marketing
Conventioneer Marketing
Tourism Marketing
Regional Marketing
Merchant Communications & Liaison
Web Site
Downtown Dollars Program
Annual Dinner
Holiday Marketing
Government Relations & Environment includes:
Ambassador Program
Clean/Landscaping Supplemental Service
Safety & Security
Art in the Heart of the City
Holiday Decorations
City MOU
Community Special Events includes:
Chili Cook-Off
Ithaca Festival Craft Show
Summer Concert Series
Apple Harvest Festival
Winter Festival

Each year the DIA prepares a work plan and budget to support these and other activities.

The DIA has prepared and approved a Downtown Ithaca 2020 Strategic Plan. This strategic plan provide the blueprint and guidelines for downtown development. Each annual work plan addresses a portion of this strategic plan.

Main Street.org

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.preservationnation.org/main-street/#.UWwNp2S9Kc0

Over the past 30 years, the Main Street movement has transformed the way communities think about the revitalization and management of their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. Cities and towns across the nation have come to see that a prosperous, sustainable community is only as healthy as its core.

We all know where our Main Streets are, but do we know what they are and why they matter? Whether they are named First Avenue or Water Street or Martin Luther King Boulevard, what they represent is universal. Main Street is the economic engine, the big stage, the core of the community.

Our Main Streets tell us who we are and who we were, and how the past has shaped us. We do not go to bland suburbs or enclosed shopping malls to learn about our past, explore our culture, or discover our identity. Our Main Streets are the places of shared memory where people still come together to live, work, and play.

So what is Main Street? The phrase has been used to describe everything from our nostalgic past to our current economic woes, but when we talk about Main Street®, we are thinking of real places doing real work to revitalize their economies and preserve their character.

Specifically, Main Street® is three things: a proven strategy for revitalization, a powerful network of linked communities, and a national support program that leads the field.

The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a unique preservation-based economic development tool that enables communities to revitalize downtown and neighborhood business districts by leveraging local assets - from historic, cultural, and architectural resources to local enterprises and community pride. It is a comprehensive strategy that addresses the variety of issues and problems that challenge traditional commercial districts.

Main Street is a national movement that has spanned three decades and taken root in more than 2,000 communities - a movement that has spurred $49 billion in reinvestment in traditional commercial districts, galvanized thousands of volunteers, and changed the way governments, planners, and developers view preservation.

Over the past 30 years, the National Trust Main Street Center has overseen the development of a national network of coordinating programs that today includes 37 statewide programs, seven citywide programs, and two regional programs. These coordinating programs help cities, towns, and villages revitalize their downtown and neighborhood business districts. Coordinating program staff help build the capacity of local Main Street programs, expand the network of Main Street communities, provide resources and technical assistance, and work with the National Trust Main Street Center to explore new solutions to revitalization challenges and respond to emerging trends throughout the nation.

Since its founding in 1980, The National Trust Main Street Center has been the leader of a coast-to-coast network now encompassing more than 2,000 programs and leaders who use the Main Street approach to rebuild the places and enterprises that create sustainable, vibrant communities.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Location: Dallas & Brownsville, TX

Website: www.bcworkshop.org

The buildingcommunityWORKSHOP is a Dallas based nonprofit community design center seeking to improve the livability and viability of communities through the practice of thoughtful design and making. We enrich the lives of citizens by bringing design thinking to areas of our city where resources are most scarce.

To do so, the bcWORKSHOP recognizes that it must first understand the social, economic, and environmental issues facing a community before beginning work.

Zocalo Public Square

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.zocalopublicsquare.org

Zócalo Public Square is a not-for-profit daily Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

We foster healthier, more cohesive communities by tackling important contemporary questions in an accessible, non-partisan, and broad-minded spirit.

Zócalo, a project of the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and the New America Foundation, is based in Los Angeles and Phoenix, and roams across the country.

We explore connection, place, big ideas, and what it means to be a citizen, be it locally, regionally, nationally, or globally. We are committed to welcoming a new, young, and diverse generation to the public square.

Gregory Rodriguez founded Zócalo—which means “public square” in Spanish—in 2003 as a response to what he believed was a deeply segregated civic life in Los Angeles.

Although filled with community activity thanks to its wealth of museums, universities, and specific community organizations, L.A.’s cultural landscape was essentially segregated. Public events were in fact semi-private, targeted by ideology, race, or ethnicity, or promoted to paying members of particular organizations. Rodriguez designed Zócalo to invigorate and integrate the city’s public discourse.

In 2003, Zócalo hosted four events at one Los Angeles location. In 2004, we hosted 12, and in 2008 we hosted 50. In 2012, we will host over 60 events in 11 cities at 27 different venues. In addition to roaming across L.A. and Phoenix, we have also traveled to Bakersfield, Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Tucson, Washington, D.C., and as far as Shanghai, Berlin, and Guadalajara.

In nine years we have featured over 1,000 compelling thinkers and doers from a wide range of fields—politics, governance, humanities, health, economics, education, technology, foreign policy, arts, science, and beyond.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Recalling 1993

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.recalling1993.com

Step back twenty years into New York City's past. Call from any NYC pay phone to hear what was happening on that block in 1993.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Machine Project

Location: Los Angeles,CA

Website: www.machineproject.com

Machine Project is a storefront space in the echo park neighborhood of Los Angeles that hosts events about all kinds of things we find interesting – scientific talks, poetry readings, musical performances, competitions, group naps, cheese tastings and so forth. We usually do about two events a week, open to the general public and free of charge. Usually at 8pm. Information on upcoming events can be found on our future page.

Machine Project is an informal educational institution located in the the same storefront space as mentioned above. We teach all kinds of things we find interesting – electronics, sewing, pickling, computer programming, car theft and so forth. We usually have one or two class going a week, open to the public for a fee by pre-registration. Information on upcoming classes can be found on our classes page.

Machine Project is a loose group of artist/performer collaborators, who do projects together when invited by other people and institutions, usually museums. Information on special projects can be found on our projects page.

A huge gracias to our generous donors!
Machine Project is a 501c3 non-profit corporation.

More information that you will probably want to read can be found on our FAQ page

Cosanti Foundation

Location: Mayer, AZ

Website: www.arcosanti.org

Welcome to Cosanti in Scottsdale (Paradise Valley), Arizona. The word “Cosanti” comes from two Italian terms: “Cosa” and “Anti,” which together mean, literally, “Before (or Against) Things.” Here at the residence and sculpture studios of Paolo Soleri and his staff, architecture has come before everything else, and indeed, it is the architecture of this place that makes things possible here.

Choosing the idea that Cosanti means “Against Things” leads to an understanding of Soleri’s anti-materialist stance: the ideas generated here have helped to develop a lean and frugal methodology for approaching life on earth and the designs of cities that would support that attitude and that life.

Either way, Soleri, (later joined by his students) began work on the experimental buildings of Cosanti in the mid 1950’s. Designated as an Arizona Historic Site, Cosanti presents a unique bio-climatic architectural environment. Its structures feature many imaginative design elements, reflecting Soleri’s innovative construction techniques.

Cosanti is open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Sunday, and closed only on major holidays. Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided walking tour and may be able to see bronze Windbells being poured (call ahead for information). Guided group tours are by reservations only.

The Cosanti Foundation, a non-profit educational organization, seeks opportunities to build partnerships that ensure the growth of Arcosanti and the educational opportunities inherent in the project.

Here are some of the existing and future programs and projects that assist in broadening our capacity to fulfil the goals of the participating partners, while developing Arcosanti to its fullest potential.


A. Focus educational parameters of construction workshops and grow student numbers

B. Engage in critical inquiry/ interdisciplinary dialogue with institutional/educational partners

C. Develop support for publishing/media and public lecture activity

D. Develop support for conference activity at Arcosanti

E. Grow public visitation at Arcosanti and at the galleries at Cosanti

F. Expand on- and off-site exhibitions and the work of the Soleri Archive in general

G. Maximize and cultivate potential of alumni to support ongoing work

H. Collaborate with institutions, communities, and industry

I. Expand opportunities for engagement with/outreach to neighboring communities

J. Develop scholar/artist in residence program

K. Develop support for performance and other cultural events at Arcosanti


A. Improve existing physical facilities and support infrastructure

B. Develop/demonstrate architecture
for food and heat production: greenhouses

C. Program residential and commercial/institutional activity

D. Create and review 5-year financial plan

E. Expand Cosanti Originals (Soleri craft studios) production and sales

F. Expand Board of Trustees for fundraising and planning capability


A. Strengthen and expand Arcosanti’s Planning Internship program and support

B. Accept commercial commissions that further our planning and technical expertise

C. Promote professional partnerships with governments, development entities, and with architects and urban designers globally

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Slum Dwellers International

Location: International

Website : www.sdinet.org

Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI) is a network of community-based organizations of the urban poor in 33 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

It was launched in 1996 when “federations” of the urban poor in countries such as India and South Africa agreed that a global platform could help their local initiatives develop alternatives to evictions while also impacting on the global agenda for urban development. In 1999, SDI became a formally registered entity.

In each country where SDI has a presence, affiliate organizations come together at the community, city, and national level rooted in specific methodologies. SDI’s mission is to link urban poor communities from cities across the South that have developed successful mobilisation, advocacy, and problem solving strategies. Since SDI is focused on the localized needs of slum dwellers, it has developed the traction to advance the common agenda of creating “pro-poor” cities that address the pervasive exclusion of the poor from the economies and political structures of 21st century cities.

Further, SDI uses its global reach to build a platform for slum dwellers to engage directly with governments and international organizations to try new strategies, change policies, and build understanding about the challenges of urban development.

SDI believes that the only way to manage urban growth and to create inclusive cities is for the urban poor to be at the center of strategies for urban development.

Concurrently, there is no government that can hope to stop or ignore the challenges of urbanization. Forward-looking cities prepare for the urban population growth, and work with their citizens to harness the social, technological, and economic benefits of urbanization.

Achieving scale in urban development policy and practice begins at the individual settlement level. When local authorities engage with informal settlement communities, residents become active partners in upgrading their built environment.

When communities and authorities learn together and produce developmental outcomes together, they are able to reach many more communities than the top-down initiatives that some countries attempt. Further, when communities own the process of upgrading, they are able to ensure that it is sustainable and continues to grow over time.

Urban growth presents monumental challenges for policy makers and ordinary people alike. By working with the people urban interventions affect, these problems become more manageable, and the solutions more sustainable.

Monday, April 8, 2013

World Design Capital

Location: International

Website: www.worlddesigncapital.com

Since its inception in 1957, Icsid has strived to increase the social significance of design in an attempt to influence global leaders to recognise the various merits of design. In support of this mandate, the initial concept for the World Design Capital initiative was first introduced to the Icsid Executive Board with the ambitious, yet imperative goal to impress upon cities, the importance and recognition of design as a leading development tool.

With the intent to identify and develop a project of international appeal that would leverage global collaboration and advocacy for design, Icsid worked towards the development of this initiative, in the hopes that it would facilitate interaction among the global design networks and would provide governments with a platform not only to raise the global awareness of design, but more importantly, to showcase the importance of design as an actor to enhance social, cultural, economic and environmental quality of life.

By exemplifying and honouring those cities that strive towards a common goal – to communicate the prolific and important role of design as a social and cultural stimulator, as well as depict how design has been used as a viable tool for economic growth – the WDC designation’s primary objective was established.

The evolution of the creative industries, their impact and contributions to the global economy, have helped Icsid to position the WDC project as an outlet for design to be recognised as a significant accelerator in city development.

By mobilising an entire city to advocate on behalf of the creative industries, we can engage the world in a dialogue that truly helps us to accomplish our goal to recognise the impact of design on quality of life.

With more than half the world’s population now living in urban areas, cities are facing dramatic changes in how they adapt to their rising populations and effectively provide for the businesses that feed their economic growth. The future success of each city is therefore largely reliant on those who plan, design and manage the shared spaces and functions of their city.

Design has therefore become an increasingly fundamental tool in all levels of public and private development. For cities, design is at their very core and is utilised in business, with citizens, as well as in government to make cities more attractive, more liveable and more efficient.

The World Design Capital is a city promotion project that celebrates the merits of design. Held biennially, it seeks to highlight the accomplishments of cities that are truly leveraging design as a tool to improve the social, cultural and economic life of cities, throughout a yearlong programme of design-related events.

The WDC project seeks to maximise opportunities arising from multidisciplinary design collaboration. As such, the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) leads the World Design Capital programme in a major step for the global design community. Through the WDC, Icsid aims to:

- Recognise innovative cities for the use of design as an effective tool for social, cultural, environmental and economic development,

- Showcase a designated city and its achievements on the international forum,

- Promote global understanding of design as an economic development tool,

- Create an international network where cities and municipalities can learn and share innovative design programmes and strategies,

- Present international examples for enhancing economic growth, innovation, public safety, quality of life and social interactions,

- Promote outstanding education and research institutions in the field of design, and

- Share municipal design-led project between developed countries and emerging economies.