"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.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Location: Eastern Tennessee

Website: www.planeastten.org

PlanET is an ambitious plan to imagine our future and then to chart a path to reach a shared vision.  A planning effort of this scale is new to the East Tennessee Region so if you have questions about this plan, you can find your answers here.

Plan East Tennessee (PlanET) is a regional partnership of communities building a shared direction for our future. We seek ideas about protecting our valuable resources and addressing our challenges regarding jobs, housing, transportation, a clean environment, and community health.

Our goal is to create long-term solutions for investments in our region and to define the next chapter in our rich history, leaving a legacy of optimism and opportunity for future generations. Find out about the plan, the process for developing it and review the project schedule.

Mayors from the municipalities and counties throughout the PlanET region of Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, and Union Counties are guiding a Community Leadership Team responsible for executing the creation of a regional Plan.

Five counties, sixteen cities, four towns, and community of regional partners are committed to making PlanET a reality. Explore this diverse partnership and learn about their commitment to the process.

The PlanET process is an ambitious project that requires a great deal of expertise in a variety of areas. Local staff offer a great deal of technical expertise; however, to ensure its success, PlanET has assembled a team of consultants that represent some of the leading firms from across the country whose expertise will ensure PlanET’s success in meeting and exceeding its goals moving forward.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

San Francisco Estuary Partnership

Location: S.F. Bay Area, CA

Website: www.sfestuary.org

San Francisco Estuary Partnership is a coalition of resource agencies, non-profits, citizens, and scientists working to protect, restore, and enhance water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in and around the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary.

Working cooperatively, we share information and resources that result in studies, projects, and programs that improve the Estuary and communicate its value and needs to the public. The Association of Bay Area Governments is the home agency for Partnership staff and finances.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mapping Decline

Location: St. Louis, MO

Website: www.mappingdecline.lib.uiowa.edu

The maps were composed in ArcView 9.2, using a combination of digital census geography, archival maps, and historical and contemporary datasets. The base map for the home and the documents pages is Plate I from N.M Fenneman, Geology and Mineral Resources of the St. Louis Quadrangle (United States Geological Survey, Bulletin 438, 1911).

The base map for the other map series is the ESRI shaded world relief layer, based on the USGS’s National Elevation Data (NED) data.

The White Flight series uses 1940-2000 tract level census data. The 1990 and 2000 data and tracts boundaries were drawn from the Census, the 1970 and 1980 data and boundaries are based on the digitization done by Geolytics for those census years. 1960 and earlier data was adapted from the Donald and Elizabeth Mullen Bogue data, maintained by the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. 1960 and earlier tract maps were digitized (working backwards from 1970) by the author.

The historical data and tract boundaries are now much more readily available thanks to the yeoman work of the University of Minnesota’s National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) project and Andrew Beveridge’s Social Explorer.

To display the change over a decade, tract boundaries were normalized for the two census years. This usually meant restricting the scope of the map to the metro tracts of the earlier census, and collapsing data from the latter year into the census geography of the earlier year. In the 1950-1960 map, for example, this required adjusting the 1960 data (323 census tracts) to fit the 1950 geography (247 tracts).

The Race and Property series is based on a number of archival sources. The 1916 layer is based on the text of the ordinance, and on the description provided in “Blocks in Which Negros May Take up Residence,” St. Louis Post Dispatch (2 March 1916) from the clippings collection of the St. Louis Public Library. The scope of the 1923 and 1941 realtor’s zones are summarized in Charles Johnson and Herman Long, People v Property: Race Restrictive Covenants in Housing (Nashville, 1947), and are noted on the City Plan Commission’s 1930 map, “Distribution of the Negro Population,” a copy of which is in the Missouri Historical Society’s map collection.

The NAACP’s 1945 estimate of the reach of restrictive deed covenants is adapted from Johnson and Long, People v. Property, 24, 60. The HOLC security maps were digitized from the 1937 and 1940 St. Louis maps in the City Survey Files of the&Records of the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation, RG 195.3, National Archives.

The Municipal Zoning series is based on archival zoning maps from a wide variety of sources, including the planning and zoning departments of many St. Louis County municipalities. Many (and especially the earliest) zoning plan and maps can be found in the bound and unbound city planning reports conducted by the Harland Bartholomew company and archived in the Harland Bartholomew and Associates Papers at Washington University, St. Louis City ordinances, programmatic reports, and the City’s current property database.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Location: International

Website: www.c40.org

Acting both locally and collaboratively, C40 Cities are having a meaningful global impact in reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks.

Through a partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative, C40 brings together a unique set of assets and creates a shared sense of purpose. C40 offers cities an effective forum where they can collaborate, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change.

"While international negotiations continue to make incremental progress, C40 Cities are forging ahead. Collectively they have taken more than 4,700 actions to tackle climate change, and the will to do more is stronger than ever. As innovators and practitioners, our cities are at the forefront of this issue – arguably the greatest challenge of our time."

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Womens Community Revitalization Project

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Website: www.wcrphila.com

The Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP) is committed to social and economic equity for low-income women and their families. We develop housing and neighborhood facilities; provide supportive services; advocate for policy change; and honor leadership, dignity, and justice in our communities.

When you start with women, you are at the core of communities and families. There is power in women working together to make change. WCRP has created a model that works for community development, putting that power to work for low-income women and their families.


- Affordable Housing Development

- Supportive Services for Families

- Leadership and Advocacy

- Facilities Development

Women’s Community Revitalization Project values low-income women and their families and their power to make decisions that improve their lives. We honor leaders in our community, find solutions to any challenge, and bring hope and possibility to the women that we serve. We are Women’s Community Revitalization Project. Together we’re building a place for everyone.

Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania

Location: PA

Website: www.housingalliancepa.org

People all over Pennsylvania are working to solve the state’s housing problems, and the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania is helping them. We promote common-sense solutions to balance Pennsylvania's housing market and increase the supply of safe, decent homes for low-income people.

Through our website and weekly e-newsletter, we keep the housing community up to date on news they need to do their jobs better. Monthly Legislative Briefing calls provide updates on state and federal housing and homeless policy and budgets.

We serve as the go-to information source on housing issues for the media and for policy makers.

We actively engage the media to inform and raise the profile of important housing issues.

We testify at legislative hearings.

We provide tools and information to help housing and homeless service providers do their jobs better, through webinars, regional forums and our annual Homes within Reach Conference.

We forge partnerships to broaden the base of support for affordable housing by connecting people and organizations across constituencies. The Alliance has built and sustains a statewide network of service providers, developers and consumers,

We believe research and best practices should inform policy.

We conduct research and analysis on affordable housing issues and publish our findings.

We also serve as a clearinghouse for relevant research from other sources.

We work with policy makers to find win-win solutions and common ground whenever possible.

We believe that we share core values about fairness, opportunity and doing what’s best for the community.

We are the housing community’s eyes and ears in Harrisburg and D.C. We monitor all state and federal housing legislation and let the community know what’s important and when to act.