"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, June 30, 2015

Legacy Cities Partnership

Location: Nationwide

Website: legacycities.org

The Legacy Cities Partnership aims to establish a framework for the revitalization of legacy cities, improve the community of practice working on these issues, and change the policies that govern practice in these cities. The Partnership was founded by The American Assembly, the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City, and the Center for Community Progress.

We believe that these cities can thrive once again if the assets, energy, capacity and love for these places at the local level can be nurtured by effective shifts in public policy, coordinated advocacy, mutual learning about what works, and careful, strategic implementation.

Association for Community Design

Location: Nationwide

Website: communitydesign.org

Established in 1977, the Association for Community Design (ACD) is a network of individuals, organizations, and institutions committed to increasing the capacity of planning and design professions to better serve communities. ACD serves and supports practitioners, educators, and organizations engaged in community-based design and planning.

ACD is incorporated as a 501(c)3 membership organization and is governed by a volunteer board of directors. Membership is open to both organizations and individuals. The dues collected by the ACD support an annual conference, program development, and the maintenance of this website.

Citizens Institute for Rural Design

Location: Nationwide

Website: rural-design.org

Residents in America’s small towns and rural communities care deeply about the future of their towns and value their uniqueness, strong sense of community, and special places. However, they increasingly face urgent challenges: How can they add jobs and support local businesses? How do they create a positive future for their kids? How can they honor and protect local character and history? How do they use limited financial, human, and natural resources wisely?

Developing locally-driven solutions to these challenges is critical to the long-term vitality of these communities, and the arts and design can play a powerful role in this process. Across the country, community leaders and residents are coming together to tackle these challenges and to find creative strategies that address:

How to build strong economies and grow jobs; Where to locate new growth or redevelop older areas; How to design efficient transportation systems; How to protect the community’s historic and culturally significant resources.

Rural design is an important tool for rural communities to build upon existing assets and improve the way a community looks, its quality of life, and its economic viability. However, few rural communities have access to design assistance or the expertise to tackle these challenges on their own.

The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™ (CIRD) provides communities access to the resources they need to convert their own good ideas into reality. CIRD works with communities with populations of 50,000 or less, and offers annual competitive funding to as many as four small towns or rural communities to host a two-and-a-half day community design workshop. With support from a wide range of design, planning and creative placemaking professionals, the workshops bring together local leaders from non-profits, community organizations, and government to develop actionable solutions to the community's pressing design challenges. The community receives additional support through webinars, conference calls, and web-based resources.

Established in 1991 as Your Town: the Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™, CIRD has convened more than 70 workshops in all regions of the country, empowering residents to leverage local assets for the future in order to build better places to live, work, and play. Initially a partnership among the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the State University of New York (SUNY) at Syracuse, the program was managed by Richard Hawks and Shelley Mastran from 1991-2012.

CIRD remains one of the NEA's key design leadership initiatives and is currently conducted in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation and CommunityMatters® Partnership.

Mayors' Institute on City Design

Location: Nationwide

Website: micd.org

The Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD) is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors with support from United Technologies. Since 1986, the Mayors’ Institute has helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities.

MICD achieves its mission by organizing sessions where mayors engage leading design experts to find solutions to the most critical urban design challenges facing their cities. Sessions are organized around case-study problems. Each mayor presents a problem from his or her city and get feedback from other mayors and design experts.

Every year, the partner organizations plan and manage six to eight Institute sessions held throughout the country. Each two and one-half day session is limited to less than twenty participants, half mayors and half a resource team, consisting of outstanding city design and development professionals. Mayors present a range of challenges, including waterfront redevelopment, downtown revitalization, transportation planning, and the design of new public buildings such as libraries and arts centers. Following each presentation, mayors and the resource team identify important issues, offer suggestions, and discuss potential solutions. The interchange sparks lively debate, opens new perspectives, and generates creative ideas.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Walkable and Liveable Communities

Location: Nationwide

Website: walklive.org

The WALC Institute helps to create healthy, connected communities that support active living and that advance opportunities for all people through walkable and bikeable streets, livable cities and better built environments.

Eachyear, we directly help as many as 80 communities across North America by providing technical assistance and working alongside them to plot a course toward a more walkable future. We also develop and broadly disseminate educational materials and tools that are free to the public and that help to advance the walkability movement. And because a picture is worth a thousand words, we produce inspiring photo-visions to help local leaders and residents see for themselves how walkability, bikeability and livability can transform the community.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Homes For All

Location: Nationwide

Website: homesforall.org

Homes For All is a national campaign with the goal of broadening the conversation of the housing crisis beyond foreclosure and putting forth a comprehensive housing agenda that also speaks to issues affecting public housing residents, homeless families, and the growing number of renters in American cities.

Homes For All aims to protect, defend, and expand housing that is truly affordable and dignified for low-income and very low-income communities by engaging those most directly impacted by this crisis through local and national organizing, winning strong local policies that protect renters and homeowners, and shifting the national debate on housing.

RTC is working collaboratively across sectors to develop national housing policy that ensures that our communities and future generations have homes that are truly affordable, stable, and dignified.

Today, people who buy their homes are thrown out if they cannot make their mortgage payments, renters are either the new hot deal on the housing market or dealing with rising rents and costs and buildings in disrepair. With no comprehensive federal plan to preserve and build public housing, the idea of housing as a human right is under threat of demolition. As vacancies climb in cities, homeless families look on, wondering why there are so many homes without people in them.

The Homes for All campaign wants to draw attention to the housing crisis facing urban and suburban low and extremely low-income people of color. We want a to assert a holistic vision to affirming housing as a human right. Through this campaign, we are challenging the absurd assumptions that the housing crisis is over and that the market holds all (if any) of the solutions to our problems. We believe our government has a responsibility to create and strengthen laws and programs that will allow our communities to remain and flourish.

The recent and ongoing financial crisis has revealed that millions of residents of the United States experience housing insecurity, many of them for years at a time. Yet, housing policy in recent decades, whether implemented by government, the corporate sector, or some combination of the two, has contributed to a loss of affordable housing and has often displaced the members of our communities in the name of de-concentrating poverty. At the same time, corporations have shifted enormous amounts of investment into our cities, but their interest in property speculation and maximizing quarterly profits undermines our interest in long-term neighborhood stability. And when the crisis hit, they got bailed out and we got left out.With the latest wave of REO (Real Estate Owned) to rental properties being snatched up as the newest gambling scheme for hedge funds and private enterprise, we are on the cusp of what could become the creation of yet another housing bubble. Astronomical rents and displacement are already on the rise and this unbridled “game” threatens to further weaken an already fragile economy and devastate the hope for stable and sustainable communities now or in the future.

We want policies that allow us to strengthen the bonds we build with each other in our communities, and which help us to survive in the face of resource scarcity, economic hardship, environmental degradation, and political marginalization. To this end, we call for an end to speculation driven development in our cities that produces housing our communities can’t afford. We assert our right to stay in the communities we have built and refuse to be displaced!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Living Mobs

Location: Mexico City (DF)

Website: livingmobs.com

La Ciudad de México necesita tu ayuda en el Audi Urban Future Award 2014, una iniciativa global para pensar el siguiente salto en movilidad urbana. Con tu participación, arquitectura 911sc, IIMAS-UNAM y Laboratorio para la Ciudad, área experimental del GDF, buscan entender y mejorar como nos movemos.

El Sistema Operativo de la Ciudad es un nuevo contrato social por medio del cual un grupo de socios, plataformas tecnológicas y procesos generaran oportunidades para re-imaginar la movilidad de la Ciudad de Mexico.

Living Mobs es una encuesta interactiva que obtiene datos anónimos sobre movilidad de la ciudadanía. Donando datos, contribuirás a mejorar las políticas públicas, la movilidad y la calidad de vida de nuestra ciudad.

Mexico City (DF) needs your help in the Audi Urban Future Award 2014, a global initiative to take the next leap in urban mobility. With your participation, architecture 911sc, IIMAS-UNAM and laboratory for the city, experimental area of the GDF, seek to understand and improve as we grow.

The operating system of the city is a new social contract by means of which a group of partners, technology platforms and processes generate opportunities to re-imagine the mobility of Mexico City.

Living Mobs is an interactive survey that gets anonymous data on mobility of citizens. Donating data, contribute to improve policies, mobility and quality of life in our city.

Cape Town Partnership

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Website: capetownpartnership.co.za

We’re a non-profit organisation that brings people together around common goals for Cape Town’s transformation. We’re connectors, facilitators and translators, working to help people find a common language and a shared set of priorities specific to projects that can make a positive impact in people’s lives. We do this kind of work across an incredible diversity of projects. Most of it is in the Table Bay district – our mandated area, that stretches from Camps Bay to the Foreshore, the east city to Observatory, Salt River to Langa – and we try, as far as possible, to do work that can have a much wider impact across the metropole. The work of the Cape Town Partnership, since its beginning as a non-profit organisation in 1999 (founded, at the time, by the City of Cape Town, the South African Property Owners Association and the Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry) has been about helping make the city work. And yet this work – what we do, where we do it and who we do it with – has transformed over the years. In 14 years of existence, we’ve had to make our own path, not only through the city, but also in our understanding of what a city is and what makes it work. Here’s the short version of this journey of transformation.

When we were founded in 1999, it was in response to the state of Cape Town’s central business district. The area was in crisis: businesses were moving out (or threatening to) and the streets weren’t safe. At the time, the way we thought about cities was very much as economic engines, places driven by investment. Together with our core partners, the Central City Improvement District, we were single-minded in ensuring the city centre was clean and safe so that it was attractive to business. We spent a lot of time acting as a translator between the public and private sector (specifically property developers and owners), working to ensure business stayed in the central business district. Within a decade, Cape Town’s downtown area had undergone a total turnaround, becoming one of the cleanest and safest in the country, and business was booming.

2008-2012: Cities are for people

Nearly ten years later, in 2008, we began collaborating with the City of Cape Town on a shared ten-year vision and workable plan for the turnaround of Cape Town’s broader central city – the area from Salt River to Green Point, the mountain to the sea. The process of defining the Central City Development Strategymforced us to look at more than just business and urban management, and think of the role that events, the knowledge and creative economy, and popular history and memory could play in the area’s development. Over this time, we came to see the city as an interconnected system – of transport, infrastructure, business, services – of which people were the users. The goal was to make the space more user-friendly. With the 2010 World Cup, we were able to fast-track a number of urban developments: Public spaces were upgraded, public transport rollout was fast-tracked, pedestrian corridors were created. The city became more user-friendly seemingly overnight, thanks to urban design. On the back of that experience, we started driving Cape Town’s successful World Design Capital bid.

2012-2018: People make places

At the Cape Town Partnership, we’re an excitable group of people with a future-forward, positive approach. But there have been unintended consequences to our exuberance and the rate of our success. We never saw ourselves as agents of gentrification, or thought of development as a tool for displacement. And yet that is how our work has been seen, and criticised, in some quarters. Looking back, part of our learning has been not to get so caught up in things – in urban upgrades, cycle lanes, cranes on the skyline, the idea of design, pursuit of titles like “world-class city” – that you forget about people. In trying to pave a road to our future, at times we lost sight of our past: parts of Cape Town might’ve transformed in the last few years. But others are still living out apartheid-era realities of a life divided and disconnected. Thinking of a city as an economic engine or an interconnected system had us thinking of people more as users or consumers of a city than creators of it. Today, we’ve come to think of cities as places of “concentrated humanity”, networks of human connections, places created and sustained by people. That’s why, for the next five years of the Cape Town Partnership and the remaining term of the Central City Development Strategy, our focus is on putting people first; on participation and people-based placemaking, not destination marketing. On dialogue and debate, not one-way conversation. At the heart of a city is people. And for it to work, its people, our people, have to work together.

The vision that keep us going is of a place and a people no longer defined by apartheid divides.

We believe that Cape Town is capable of becoming a truly liveable African city that’s true to its people and where they come from, but can also create new spaces, communities and patterns of behaviour that will serve future generations. We don’t know exactly what this city looks like – urbanisation is changing cities and human settlements all over the world at unprecedented rates, and no one knows for sure what the future holds.

What we do have to guide us is a ten-year strategy for the central city’s development and transformation – which is more like a very good compass than a map to the future – and the conviction that Cape Town’s people, working together for the common good, will find the solutions that can serve this generation, as well as the next. After all, the work of transforming a city, and ensuring it works for everyone, is never done. Like the horizon line, the closer you get to it, the further it moves away.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

La Repuesta

Location: Nationwide

Website: larepuestamedia.com

For over a century, Puerto Ricans have lived and settled in the U.S. (the “Boricua Diaspora”), but now, for the first time, there are more acá allá. In response to our growing presence and ongoing impact,La Respuesta seeks to invoke a claim to our histories and announce our stories. We do this by highlighting our assets and distinct experiences, agitating discussion on the crucial issues, and addressing the obstacles that we face. This monthly magazine is guided by a collective of Boricua writers, artists, activists, and scholars across the Boricuascape.

La Respuesta honors and recognizes the distinctiveness of the Puerto Rican Diaspora through a provocative online media community, while cultivating points of connection among all Boricua people. In this respect, our magazine resurrects, documents, and reinterprets Diaspora histories; curates and maintains a critical dialogue on issues affecting our communities; highlights our struggles, advances, and dreams; and proposes new solutions and directions. La Respuesta is dedicated to the collective transformation and self-determination of all people.

La Respuesta strives to produce a mosaic of the cultural, artistic, intellectual, spiritual, and political realities within the diverse Puerto Rican Diaspora. It moves towards building inclusive identities and perspectives that recognize the Diaspora as central to understanding the Puerto Rican people. The magazine aspires to be a significant resource for Puerto Ricans in the United States, offering a multitude of creative and provocative media.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Location: Bronx, NY

Website: whedco.org

The Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco) is a community development organization founded on the radically simple idea that all people deserve healthy, vibrant communities.

We build award-winning, sustainable, affordable homes but our work is not over when our buildings are complete. WHEDco believes that to be successful, affordable housing must be anchored in strong communities that residents can be proud of. WHEDco’s mission is to give the South Bronx access to all the resources that create thriving neighborhoods from high-quality early education and after-school programs, to fresh, healthy food, cultural programming, and economic opportunity.

Design Trust for Public Space

Location: New York, NY

Website: designtrust.org

The Design Trust for Public Space (DTPS) has improved the quality of public space and the dialogue around it in New York City for 17 years, championing new ideas and nascent projects. It has broadened the definition of public space by embracing a range of sites, issues and arenas. When DTPS was founded, it stood relatively alone in its field –though not without models and precedent –to provide think-tank-like planning services focused exclusively on public space.

Much has changed since DTPS’ inception. New York City has experienced the proliferation of organizations concerned with the quality of public space and design, many which have taken on similar issues and even adopted planning methodologies that follow DTPS’ successful fellow model.

DTPS itself is a much different organization today than it was 17 years ago, with paid professional staff, a professional leadership of stature, a growing Board, and and a track record that has set a standard for the quality of product delivered by each project. Yet DTPS’ impact and reputation are largely unknown beyond the design community.

Neighborhoods Partnership Network

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: npnnola.org

The Neighborhoods Partnership Network (NPN) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization representing a citywide network of neighborhoods and community stakeholders. Its mission is to improve quality of life by engaging New Orleanians, individually and collectively, in neighborhood vitality and civic processes.

Established after the Hurricane Katrina disaster, NPN envisions a New Orleans where all neighborhoods are great places to live. We work towards this vision by facilitating neighborhood collaboration, building organizational capacity, increasing access to government and information, and strengthening the voices of individuals and communities across the city. NPN is guided by a board of community leaders which reflects the diversity of New Orleans neighborhoods. Its work is supported by a staff well-versed in coalition building, government relations and community engagement.

The Neighborhoods Partnership Network's foundation lies in the spirit of interdependency revealed in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. It revealed significant weakness in many structures Americans took for granted – physical structures such levees and hospitals, but also governing and social structures from FEMA to state and local entities. Citizens had to become their own “first responders," from rescuing their neighbors to rescuing their neighborhoods. NPN was born from both the failures revealed and opportunities provided by the catastrophe.

NPN's leadership recognized the need for a citywide framework to assist communities in maximizing the use of limited resources and information while providing connections to those with similar obstacles, eliminating duplication of efforts and working toward shared goals. The organization's core infrastructure met the need for New Orleanians to be involved in the formal decision-making processes regarding addressing quality of life issues. That need continues to exist today and NPN continues to play a significant role in building the capacity of residents to stay involved and engaged.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Son of a Saint

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: sonofasaint.org

Boys -

Each year we select ten boys to join the existing kids in our program. The boys must be fatherless due to their father's incarceration or death. Boys enter our program between the ages of 10 and 13 years old and remain members of the group until they receive their college acceptance letter. As of February 15, 2014 - Son of a Saint has 30 enrollees. We are currently accepting applications for our 2016 enrollees. The new boys will be announced December 24, 2015.

Behavioral Health -

One of the biggest challenges some of our kids face relate to self-confidence, anger, and feeling of abandonment. We partner with Loving Hearts Social Services of New Orleans and various mental health agencies to provide evaluations and ongoing counseling for our boys.

Group Mentorship -

Daylong sessions are held once a month and are designed to aid in the academic, personal, and overall development of our kids. Sessions are held at local colleges in order to expose the kids to that environment and help them realize that higher education is an attainable goal and worthy of aspiration. Topics of mentorship sessions have included: etiquette, time management, decision-making skills, critical thinking, anger management, moral reasoning, life skils training, work ethic, leadership, civic responsibility, teamwork and integrity. A cadres of volunteers attends each mentoring session. The relationships the kids build with the volunteers are developed over a long period of time, and the mentors provide consistent support, guidance and encouragement. Additionally, kids and mentors attend various events around the city - either one on one or in various groups. Events include, sports, educational trips, movies, dining, parades and more.

We support our boys in their extracurricular activities as well as exposing them to unique experiences such as horse back riding at Cascade Stables in Audubon Park, fishing, yoga, music, chess and the arts. In small groups each weekend kids are participating in one of these activities.

Friday, June 19, 2015


Location: Los Angeles,CA

Website: cityhubla.github.io/LA_Building_Age/

Construction in Los Angeles may have exploded during the postwar era, but as a new interactive map shows, the wide age range of its buildings might surprise you. Using open data from local governments,built: LA visualizes the age of roughly 3 million buildings across L.A. County constructed between 1890 and 2008.

Drag your mouse to explore the vast web of communities and neighborhoods, hover over individual properties to discover birth years, and double click to zoom in further. Perhaps best of all, hit the rainbow stopwatch to view a decade-by-decade timelapse of development across the county. The city’s core, in particular, clusters together buildings of century-spanning generations, while suburbs and communities to the east and west tend to represent just one or two decades of development.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Change by Us

Location: New York, NY

Website: nyc.changeby.us

Change by Us NYC is a new website created by Local Projects and run by the City of New York. It's a place for New Yorkers to put their ideas into action by creating projects and building teams to make our city a better place to live. We're kicking things off by asking how we can make our city greener. Get started today!

Share Ideas:

New Yorkers have always been full of great ideas about what will improve their neighborhoods. Use Change by Us NYC to broadcast to others what you have in mind. No idea is too big. No idea is too small.

Join or Create Projects:

Look for projects in your neighborhood or around the city where you can help. Become a member and plug into a network of those who want what you want! You can also use Change by Us NYC to set up and lead your own project, and turn your idea into reality.

Build Teams:

Use Change by Us NYC to connect quickly with the people who will help your project from start to finish. Someone has the idea, someone has the plan, someone has the tools, and together you succeed.

Use Change by Us NYC to find and connect with public and non-profit programs that can help your project succeed. Whether you need to access a City service or find some local knowledge, there are resources ready to provide guidance. Help us spread the word about Change by Us NYC — and check back often to see the line-up of influential New Yorkers who have agreed to follow projects and connect with community members online.

If there are any features or resources that you think will make Change by Us NYC easier to use or more effective, please contact us.

Change by Us NYC is a new platform created by Local Projects — known for its innovative work on StoryCorps and the 9/11 Memorial Museum — and the urban think tank CEOs for Cities. It is funded with the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Knight Foundation, and the Case Foundation.

Change by Us NYC is run by New York City's Office of the Mayor. New York City is also proud to have the following partners working with us on the site: Citizens Committee for New York City, Pratt Center for Community Development, ioby and the United States Forest Service.

Bristol Rising

Location: Bristol, CT

Website: bristolrising.com

The mission of Bristol Rising, a crowdsourced placemaking community, is to help create a vibrant, walkable, and safe downtown Bristol, Connecticut based on the strength of our ideas, passion, volunteerism, and support for (and spearheading of) downtown events and businesses. Our goal is to create a vibrant destination place that provides us EVERY reason to live, work, shop, and play in our community, over all others. We will work to be a constant source for inspiration that will signal to entrepreneurs and investors that THIS is the community to be in. We are in favor of socially, economically, and environmentally beneficial growth, where we envision thousands of Bristol Rising members working together in thought and in action to make BRISTOL the best community and PLACE on Earth!

1. Collaborate with others to revitalize Bristol’s downtown:

2. Submit, vote, and campaign for the ideas you like.

3. Participate in monthly meetups.

4. Discuss important topics in our forums.

5. Learn about crowdsourced placemaking and how it will revitalize our downtown>

This is where interested community members contribute to the revitalization of downtown Bristol, according to an agreed upon Statement and Crowdsourcing Agreement that establishes whatever ideas are proposed must be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. We should be proud, as this innovative and inclusive crowdsourced placemaking effort is the first of its kind in the nation. Big dreams need a bold approach, and our community will play an integral role in the creation of an environment where we can live, work, shop, play and learn – or all of the above!

The goal is for Bristol Rising to establish itself as a forward-thinking community that is large enough in size (short-term goal in the hundreds of members, long-term goal in the thousands) to be a valued partner in making major decisions regarding significant downtown investments. See answers to the most frequently asked questions on the project.


Location: International

Website: tedcity2.org

When the history books are written, the first half of the 21st century could very well be known, above all else, for its cataclysmic and catalytic urbanization. For the first time ever, the majority of the world’s population lives in cities. By the middle of the 21st century, the urban population will almost double. And, importantly, almost all population growth in the next 30 years will occur in cities within developing countries.

This is the story of our times and its unfolding alongside rich questions, such as: How does urbanization transform the ways in which people live, work, consume, heal, learn, move and love? What are cities’ most wicked problems made more intractable by our increasing density? How do we reconcile growing inequality? What are the surprising solutions emerging from the cracks in the sidewalks and the brushing of unlikely elbows?

With these questions and others, TEDCity2.0 invites the world to consider our collective story as it unfolds in real time. The power to remake cities lies in every citizen, regardless of origin or status.

Through events and the sharing of ideas, TEDCity2.0 carries forward the 2012 TED Prize and advances us toward The City 2.0. Moreover, it builds on multiple initiatives from the early years of the Prize, including a micro-grant awards program, TEDx gatherings around the world, and an array of other programming.

Through events and the sharing of ideas, TEDCity2.0 carries forward the 2012 TED Prize and advances us toward The City 2.0. Moreover, it builds on multiple initiatives from the early years of the Prize, including a micro-grant awards program, TEDx gatherings around the world, and an array of other programming.

The City 2.0 website was a platform created to surface the myriad stories and collective actions being taken by citizens around the world. The City 2.0 has evolved from a platform for the best of what is already being discovered by urban advocates and grassroots movers and shakers, to TEDCity2.0, content that celebrates a complex picture of the future city–a place more playful, more safe, more beautiful, and more healthy for everyone.

The TED Prize is awarded annually to a leader with a fresh, bold vision for sparking global change. The TED Prize winner receives $1,000,000 — and the TED community’s wide range of resources and expertise — to make their dream become a reality.

The Prize begins with a big wish—one that will inspire thinkers and doers across the globe to get involved. From Bono’s ONE Campaign (2005 winner) to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (2010 winner) to Sugata Mitra’s School in the Cloud (2013 winner), the TED Prize has helped to combat poverty, open dialog on religious intolerance, improve global health, tackle child obesity, advance education, and inspire art around the world.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Know Your Place

Location: Bristol, England


Know Your Place provides access to a variety of historic maps that cover the administrative area of the City of Bristol. The majority of the maps have been scanned from original archives held at Bristol Record Office (BRO). Because these are scans taken from the original archives you will see damage to the maps in some places including tears and stains and even some areas where people have tried to repair the map. You will also notice variations in the colour of the maps because they have been digitally stitched together from individual sheets. We hope this adds to the historic character of the website and doesn’t detract from your enjoyment in browsing these maps.

The scanned images have been overlain on Modern Ordnance Survey Mastermap digital mapping. In many cases the historic maps do not overlay exactly because of the way in which the original surveys were undertaken It is a tribute to the nineteenth century surveyors that their maps can be fitted with modern mapping at all.

It is also interesting to note the variety in the maps particularly the tithe maps which were surveyed by different surveyors with slightly different mapping conventions, the most extreme of which is the Brislington Tithe Map whichnwas drawn with south towards the top of the map.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Interference Archive



Interference Archive explores the relationship between cultural production and social movements. This work manifests in public exhibitions, a study and social center, talks, screenings, publications, workshops, and an online presence.

The archive consists of many kinds of objects that are created as part of social movements by the participants themselves: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, books, T-shirts and buttons, moving images, audio recordings, and other materials.

Through our programming, we use this cultural ephemera to animate histories of people mobilizing for social transformation. We consider the use of our collection to be a way of preserving and honoring histories and material culture that is often marginalized in mainstream institutions.

As an archive from below, we are a collectively run space that is people powered, with open stacks and accessibility for all. We work in collaboration with like-minded projects, and encourage critical as well as creative engagement with our own histories and current struggles. The archive is all-volunteer and relies on the help of many people. We currently organize the labor of running the project into working groups: Administration, Cataloging, Born Digital, Education, Fundrraising, and an evolving series of ad-hoc curatoral groups for each exhibition.

We welcome you to get involved.

Neighborhood Story Project

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: neighborhoodstoryproject.org

In 2004, the Neighborhood Story Project was founded as a book-making project based in the neighborhoods where we live and work. We work with writers in neighborhoods around New Orleans to create books about their communities.

We started at our neighborhood public school, John McDonogh Senior High, with the idea of our students investigating their worlds. For a year, the students wrote, photographed, interviewed and edited. In June of 2005, we brought out five books—collaborative ethnographies—about New Orleans.

In the years since, we have expanded our practice of collaborative ethnography outside of schools, producing books and posters that do the work of telling stories of the city. We work with authors and neighborhoods, then celebrate publication with block parties. The books have gone on to be citywide bestsellers, selling more than 35,000 books.

We continue the work as a center at the University of New Orleans, with Rachel in the Department of Anthropology, and Abram in the College of Education and Human Performance, and publish our books through UNO Press and our own 501c3 non-profit.


When I Was Your Age

In partnership, the Greater New Orleans Writing Project and the NSP led teachers at Andrew H. Wilson Charter School toward writing this book. The resulting document takes readers back in time, to when the teachers were the age of their current students. When I Was Your Age chronicles important events and lessons of youth: first crushes, school dances, bullying, getting lost, and finding truth. It talks back to the notion that teachers were born old and live at school–stories from when teachers were young>

Talk that Music Talk: Passing on Brass Band Music in New Orleans

In the early 1900s, jazz was created in New Orleans. Soon afterwards the fear began…it’s moving away, it’s going to die out, it needs to be preserved. Yet each generation has put time and energy into making sure the roots of the music stay strong in the city. This book is about the history of that kind of organizing work, and what happened when the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park brought together a new group of young people to learn traditional brass band music from older musicians and the Black Men of Labor Social Aid & Pleasure Club.

Straight Outa Swampton: Life at the Intersection of Natural and Built Worlds in New Orleans

From Creative Writing Students at Lake Area NTEC High School, Straight Outta Swampton is about life in a city in which the line between nature and civilization is often unclear. It is the story of a city that rose from a swamp, and that for 300 years has been engaged in an epic struggle with nature for its right to exist. The young writers are themselves both actors and tellers of this story, and they pick the story up in a particular time and place.

Aunt Alice vs. Bob Marley: My Education In New Orleans

Kareem Kennedy documents his quest for an education in the schools and streets of New Orleans. With his father gone and his mother frequently out of the picture, Kareem looks towards teachers, friends and extended family for the skills to muster through public schools, Hurricane Katrina, and the “heavy hands and hard shoes” of his life. Tracing Kareem’s history through the Seventh Ward, exile in Houston, and a return to school in New Orleans, the book represents two years of highs and lows: losing friends, surviving violence, and the beginning of his college career.

Beyond The Bricks

Daron Crawford and Pernell Russell tell more than parallel stories, Beyond the Bricks is a conversation about life in New Orleans as the city’s major public housing projects are torn down. With childhoods spent in the Calliope and St. Bernard Projects, Daron and Pernell document what these communities meant, the new struggles of living outside the projects and their families’ new footholds in the city. Beyond the Bricks documemnts the many cultures of teenage New Orleans: rap and dance, skateboarding and fashion, showing the strengths and tensions of the different scenes they call home>

From My Mother’s House of Beauty

From her childhood in Englishtown on the Caribbean coast of Honduras to her life in the Seventh Ward, Susan Stephanie Henry writes of transitions and shifting identities. In From My Mother’s House of Beauty, Susan investigates her many worlds: family homes, beauty salons, public schools and fashion runways. Part memoir, part ethnography, House of Beauty explores what it means to be a black Honduran woman living in New Orleans.

Signed, the President

A portrait of family life during turbulent times as seen and felt through our narrator and interviewer-at-large, Kenneth Phillips, aka, the President. Kenneth tells his story through interviewing family members — questions that begin to tell the stories of the St. Bernard Public Housing Development, the beginnings of bounce, sweet shops and church services. Where the interviews leave off, Kenneth explains: his relationship with his father, losing the family dog Kobey, and his journey toward manhood.

The House of Dance Feathers

In a backyard on Tupelo Street, in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Ronald W. Lewis has assembled a museum to the various worlds he inhabits. Built in 2003, and rebuilt after Katrina, the House of Dance & Feathers represents many New Orleans societies: Mardi Gras Indians, Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, Bone Gangs, and Parade Krewes. More than just a catalogue of the artifacts in the museum, this book is a map of these worlds as experienced by Ronald W. Lewis. Through stories and conversation, we come to know the wide network of people who construct and nurture performance traditions in the city.


This is New Orleans history through place—less from the Andrew Jackson slept here style and more This is where my parents met style: barrooms as comfortable as living rooms, an empty lot that holds more life than many houses, a barbershop that doubles as an artist’s studio, and a museum that grew out of one man’s back shed. Through interviews, photographs, site maps, and architectural drawings, we document the intersections of places and people that make New Orleans great.

Nine Times Social and Pleasure Club

Beginning with their own childhoods in the Desire Housing Project, Nine Times take the reader on a journey through their world: Motown Sound at Carver games, DJ’s in the courts, and sandlot football. It continues as the Housing Authority of New Orleans begins to demolish the Desire, and Nine Times begins to parade in the Ninth Ward. Written by the members during the year after Katrina, Nine Times writes about their lives, their parades, the storm, and the rebuilding process. Through interviews, photographs, and writing, Nine Times brings readers into their world of second lines, brass bands, Magee’s Lounge, and the ties that bind.

Before and After N. Dorgenois

In her book Before and After North Dorgenois, Ebony Bolding examines life in the Sixth Ward. She talks to her neighbors on North Dorgenois, interviewing newly arrived doctors, members of the church on her block, and a neighbor who has returned to the block where her mother grew up. From her porch near John McDonogh Senior High, she looks at the ways the block is changing, and writes about her mother’s decision to move the family deeper into the Sixth Ward after a new landlord buys their house. Ms. Bolding interviews the new landlord and discusses life in the Sixth Ward with the Bayou Road Boys.

Between Piety and Desire

In their book Between Piety and Desire, brother and sister team Arlet and Sam Wylie talk about their regular and irregular life living above a neighborhood store. They remember a childhood of parents keeping them inside to avoid the struggles of the neighborhood around them. They interview the people who hang out on the block, weaving the history of the street through their own history living upstairs. Unusually candid and self-reflective, the Wylies detail their “inside life,” including Sam’s new fatherhood and Arlet’s new home.

The Combination

In The Combination, Ashley Nelson paints a nuanced and lyrical portrait of one of downtown New Orleans’ oldest public housing complexes, the Lafitte. She begins with her own family, weaving their history through the daily life of the community. Ms. Nelson’s interviews let the reader hear from voices rarely engaged, from the owner of the corner store, to the Residents’ Council, to the members of the community more often profiled than listened to. She writes about and photographs much of Lafitte — from second lines to ward signs, from the Wild Side to the Real Side, from Dooky Chase to Southern Scrap, it’s all here.

Palmyra Street

Jana Dennis examines one the most diverse blocks in New Orleans in her book, Palmyra Street. Located in the heart of Mid-City near the new Streetcar line, her block of Palmyra is rich with many typical and not-so-typical New Orleans stories. Through interviews, photographs, and vignettes, Ms. Dennis paints a thorough and intriguing portrait of a block in flux. The reader watches Jana’s family construct community not only on their block, but also through their participation in church life and the Golden Arrows Mardi Gras Indian Tribe.

What Would the World be Without Women: Stories from the 9th Ward

Waukesha Jackson’s book is an examination of loss and recovery. Starting with her relationship to her mother, Ms. Jackson writes about the struggles that have been a part of many of the lives of women in the Ninth Ward. In particular, she examines the frequent role of women as caretakers of the community– in their homes, social clubs, barrooms, and churches. Through interviews, photography and reflection, Ms. Jackson captures the tough times and victories of her family and neighbors.

World Urban Forum

Location: International

Website: wuf7.unhabitat.org

The World Urban Forum (WUF) is a non-legislative technical forum convened by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), hosted in a different city every two years, to examine the most pressing issues facing the world today in the area of human settlements, including rapid urbanization and its impact on cities, communities, economies, climate change and policies. It is the World’s Premier Conference on Cities.

The Forum gathers a wide range of experts from every walk of life. Participants at the Forum include, but are not limited to, national, regional and local governments, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, professionals, research institutions and academies, professionals, private sector, development finance institutions, foundations, media and United Nations organizations and other international agencies.

The WUF promotes the strong participation of Habitat Agenda partners and relevant international programmes, funds and agencies, thus ensuring their inclusion in the identification of new issues, the sharing of lessons learned and the exchange of best practices and good policies.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hurricane Digital Memory Bank

Location: N/A

Website: hurricanearchive.org

Launched in 2005, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the stories and digital record of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. George Mason University’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and the University of New Orleans, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of American History and other partners, organized this project.

Generously funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (2005-2008), the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank contributes to the ongoing effort by historians and archivists to preserve the record of these storms by collecting first-hand accounts, on-scene images, blog postings, and podcasts. We hope to foster some positive legacies by allowing the people affected by these storms to tell their stories in their own words, which as part of the historical record will remain accessible to a wide audience for generations to come.

This project builds on prior work by George Mason University’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, and other partners such as the Library of Congress and the Red Cross, to collect and preserve history online, especially through the ECHO project and the September 11 Digital Archive. It is part of a growing practice of using the Internet to preserve the past through “digital memory banks.”

For those interested in reading more about designing this project, or those considering launching a digital collecting projects, see: "Why Collecting History Online in Web 1.5, by Sheila Brennan and T. Mills Kelly.

Idea Village

Location: New Orleans

Website: ideavillage.org

In 2000, The Idea Village was formed by a group of New Orleans citizens who believed entrepreneurship is a catalyst for positive change. The Idea Village formalized in 2002 as an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to identify, support, and retain entrepreneurial talent in New Orleans by providing direct service to high-impact entrepreneurs, educating the broader community, and supporting initiatives that strengthen our entrepreneurial infrastructure.

From 2009-2014, The Idea Village provided direct support to over 3,411 New Orleans entrepreneurs by engaging over 2,600 professionals to allocate 68,543 consulting hours and $2.5 million in seed capital. In addition, The Idea Village hosts New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, a business festival that has become the platform for the New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem. We work hard in the company of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and professionals who are committed to helping local startups launch.

And just like The Idea Village, New Orleans comes with its own perks. Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Wednesdays at the Square (which happens to take place less than a block from The Village), French Quarter Fest, the list goes on and on. This is the only place in the world that has it's own food, music, and holiday. What's not to love?


Location: San Francisco, CA

Website: walksf.org

Since 1998, Walk San Francisco has been San Francisco’s only pedestrian advocacy organization. Through smart, targeted advocacy, Walk SF and its members, are improving city streets and neighborhoods and making San Francisco a more livable, walkable city by reclaiming streets as safe, shared public space for everyone to enjoy.

Walk SF is organized into two separate organizations: Walk San Francisco, a 501(c)4, and the Walk San Francisco Foundation, a 501(c)3. The board governs both organizations and ensures that charitable efforts of Walk SF are separate from restricted activities of the Walk SF Foundation.

Mission Statement:

Walk SF makes walking in San Francisco safer for everyone, so that our community is healthier and more livable.

Top Goals:

To make walking safer

To make walking more enjoyable by improving the pedestrian environment.

To make walking the preferred way to get around.

Current Campaigns

Everyone walks at some point in their day, but over the past century, pedestrian safety has become an afterthought in most street design. The result? A built environment in San Francisco which makes walking both unsafe and uninviting. Walk SF partners with city agencies, residents, and nonprofits to undo past decisions and prioritize the redesign of the city’s most dangerous streets - the six percent of streets where more than 60% of pedestrian crashes occur.

To improve San Francisco’s walking environment by eliminating preventable injuries, and addressing inequities for neighborhoods including the Tenderloin, Chinatown, and South of Market – where seniors, children, and underserved community members are at greatest risk -

Walk SF three core campaigns include:

Vision Zero/Pedestrian Safety Safe Routes to Schools Walkability

Past Campaign Wins

Launching the first citywide Walk to Work Day event in 2013.

Making San Francisco the first city in the state to establish safer 15-mph school zones around 181 schools citywide in 2012.

Helping design Green Connections: a new network of quiet, green streets to reach parks.

Securing funds to improve streets for walking, including a $50 million Streets Bond in 2011.

Watch-dogging the police and District Attorney to make sure they enforce laws that keep you safe when you walk.

Helping launch car-free Sunday Streets and advocating for parklets to reclaim streets as shared public space.

Improving safety on the city’s most dangerous streets, including 19th Ave, Masonic, and Cesar Chavez.

Making developers pay the real cost of car traffic and its impacts on pedestrians.

Raising fines on cars blocking sidewalks.

Winning media and decision-maker attention to all these and the perspective of people who walk!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sidewalk Labs

Location: International

Website: sidewalkinc.com

Dan Doctoroff, the former CEO of Bloomberg LP and Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York, and Google today announced the formation of Sidewalk Labs, an urban innovation company that will develop technology at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds, with a focus on improving city life for residents, businesses and governments.

Dan will be the CEO of Sidewalk Labs, which will be based in New York City. The company will combine Dan’s experience in building and managing cities, with Google’s funding and support.

The announcement of Sidewalk Labs comes as the world is continuing a massive urban shift. At the same time, new technologies - including ubiquitous connectivity and sharing, the internet of things, dynamic resource management and flexible buildings and infrastructure - are emerging to allow cities and citizens to tackle problems in real time.

New technologies are already transforming commerce, media and access to information. However, while there are apps to tell people about traffic conditions, or the prices of available apartments, the biggest challenges that cities face -- such as making transportation more efficient and lowering the cost of living, reducing energy usage and helping government operate more efficiently have, so far, been more difficult to address. Sidewalk Labs will develop new products, platforms and partnerships to make progress in these areas.

Announcing the new company, Dan said: “We are at the beginning of a historic transformation in cities. At a time when the concerns about urban equity, costs, health and the environment are intensifying, unprecedented technological change is going to enable cities to be more efficient, responsive, flexible and resilient. We hope that Sidewalk will play a major role in developing technology products, platforms and advanced infrastructure that can be implemented at scale in cities around the world.”

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Walking Visionaries Award

Location: International

Website: walk21vienna.com/visionaries/

Walking Visionaries Awards highlight new ideas, big and small, for fulfilling the potentials of walking for liveable communities. The programme supports individuals and organisations from across the globe, from different professional backgrounds and cultural contexts alike.

The submission phase of the Walking Visionaries Awards has now been successfully concluded. A total of 208 submissions from 47 countries on all continents have entered the collaborative competition. The awards programm has created a permanent online reference collection showing a diverse range of projects dealing with current and future potentials that walking has to foster sustainable cities and liveable communities.

Until 16 of June a public online voting is selecting the winners of the Walking Visionaries Awards that are allocated by the online vote. About 10.000 votes have been confirmed by now which shows great interest in the projects featured in the awards and a broad supported base of specific projects. We encourage you to browse the submitted projects to get inspired for your own work and pick one or multiple submission that you can support with your vote.

At this point we will not feature any specific submission as we do not want to influence the ongoing voting process. We will of course present outstanding submissions in future walking stories once the voting phase has concluded.

WalkVision submissions show potentials for future walkable and liveable cities.

The range of WalkVison submitters is very wide, representing the innovative work of, amongst others, individuals, citizen groups, NGOs, researchers, planners, designers, artists, city governments and administrative bodies as well as international institutions. The main idea of the Walking Visionaries Awards is to present those ideas on eye-level so that many diverse stakeholders are able to learn from and inspire each other. Thematically the submissions encompass: education initiatives, DIY infrastructure, smartphone applications, citizen initiatives, media and publishing projects, initiatives for reclaiming public space, participatory planning tools and strategies, governmental policies and plans, innovative ideas for human infrastructure and community building, amongst others. All of these submissions are geared towards improving the conditions for walking in cities across the globe.

The submissions represent the work done for or by, amongst others: The Buenos Aires City Government (Argentina), The City of Melbourne (Australia), The City of North Vancouver, The City of Wellington (New Zealand), EMBARQ India, ITDP Mexico, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), The State Government of Western Australia, UN-Habitat, University of Venice (Italy), VCD Verkehrsclub Deutschland e.V.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

National Low Income Housing Coalition

Location: Nationwide

Website: nlihc.org

In 1974, Cushing N. Dolbeare founded the Ad Hoc Low Income Housing Coalition in response to the Nixon administration’s moratorium on federal housing programs. While this group focused on federal advocacy, other members established the Low Income Housing Information Service (LIHIS) in 1975 to provide information on housing problems and federal housing programs, as well as technical assistance and support to state and local housing advocacy efforts.

In 1978, the ad hoc coalition was incorporated as the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The two organizations operated jointly, with LIHIS focusing on information, public education, and technical assistance, and NLIHC focusing on advocacy. LIHIS launched a major initiative in 1992 to strengthen partner housing coalitions at the state level in response to devolution of many federal programs. The maturation of NLIHC and LIHIS led to a decision in 1996 to formally merge the two organizations into one 501(c)(3) membership organization, governed by one board of directors. NLIHC today continues the public education, research and policy analysis, organizing, and advocacy work of its predecessor organizations.

Since its inception, NLIHC has been a leader in the effort to address the housing needs of those with the lowest incomes. Ms. Dolbeare recognized that there was no shortage of constituents concerned about low income housing, but rather that constituents needed to be informed about when and how to make their voices heard. To better educate constituents, Ms. Dolbeare authored or co-authored dozens of articles, books and reports. Her writings focused on a wide range of issues, such as the economic underpinnings of the housing crisis; the impact of the crisis on various segments of the population such as women, Hispanics and farm workers; and the unique challenges faced in addressing the housing crisis in urban areas versus rural areas.

"Out of Reach", NLIHC’s widely-cited annual report on the gap between housing costs and the wages of low income people.

While numerous organizations concentrate on federal housing policy, NLIHC is unique because of our sole focus on the needs of extremely low income people, the only population experiencing an absolute shortage of affordable housing. Today NLIHC has hundreds of members across the county. Combined with incisive research and policy analysis, NLIHC is a respected voice in Washington, D.C. that has helped produce policies impacting the lives of millions.

NPS Urban Agenda

Location: Nationwide

Website: http://www.nps.gov/subjects/urban/Urban-Agenda.htm

Urban Agenda is the result of two years of engagement activities that enlisted hundreds of people from the Park Service and partner organizations. The report puts forth a way of working that is more intentional, collaborative and more sustainable. While the Urban Agenda is focused on the work of the NPS in metropolitan areas, ultimately the relevancy and sustainability of every national park can be strengthened by this work.

The Agenda calls all urban park practitioners to embrace three bold principles:

1. Be Relevant to All Americans: reaching new audiences and stories that represent our nation's diverse history; diversifying our workforce to become a true reflection of the American population; and looking at "parks" in new ways and as innovative urban landscapes for new uses.

2. Activate "ONE NPS": aligning NPS parks, programs, and partnerships – the full portfolio of the National Park System.

3. Nurture a Culture of Collaboration: working in collaboration both internally and externally to better serve communities.As part of the Urban Agenda, ten model cities have been selected to provide illustrative examples and demonstrations for how NPS can apply its full portfolio of resources in strategic ways.

The Urban Matters community, a national network of urban professionals, will begin meeting again to discuss ways to activate the Urban Agenda in cities across the country.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Community Voices Heard

Location: New York City, NY

Website: cvhaction.org

Community Voices Heard (CVH) is a member-led multi-racial organization, principally women of color and low-income families in New York State that builds power to secure social, economic and racial justice for all. We accomplish this through grassroots organizing, leadership development, policy changes, and creating new models of direct democracy.

We are working towards building a society in which the systems that govern us foster racial, social and economic justice not exploitation – particularly for low-income people of color. We seek a society in which all people – regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender expression, sexual identity, citizen status, primary language, and ability – are treated with mutual respect and when privileges of one group do not exist. We seek a society in which all people are able to work with dignity, have access to a sustainable quality of life, and can obtain unconditional support in their time of need. We seek a society in which governmental structures are transparent and based on community needs.

We seek a society in which policies address the needs of all people and strengthen our communities. We believe in a society where “experts” do not have all the answers but rather a society in which the people most directly affected are the ones making the decisions.

Community Voices Heard (CVH) was founded in 1994 as a member-led organization by low-income people, predominantly women of color, many receiving public assistance and fighting the welfare reform policies that threatened their families. Leading members like Gail Aska worked to build power in New York City and State to improve the lives of our families and communities. From these early beginnings CVH has evolved into a multi-issue statewide organization of low-income people.

Community Voices Heard subscribes to the following principles as we move forward in implementing our strategic plan.

CVH believes that membership must have meaningful decision-making and control of the organization and the work we do.

CVH believes that base building is the foundation of what we do – we actively work to increase the numbers of low-income people and people of color involved in social change and leadership development of community leaders, particularly women and people of color, is core to our work and the empowerment of our membership.

CVH believes that the people whose lives are directly affected by enforced policies should lead the charge in defining these policies.

CVH is about organizing: we provide information and education and refer people to get their immediate needs met, but we remain focused on building collective power for systemic change.

CVH welcomes and respects people of all races, ethnicities, religions, ages, gender expressions, sexual identities, citizen status, primary languages and abilities.


Location: Louisville, KY

Website: waterfrontgardens.org

The mission of Botanica is to develop experiences that promote appreciation and understanding of plants for a more harmonious and sustainable world. Our vision is to create a botanical garden and conservatory of extraordinary beauty that engages, enlightens and inspires people about plants and nature.

The seeds of Botanica grew out of three Louisville plant societies that gathered together to host a community educational event. In 1993, members of the three groups – The Louisville Area Iris Society, The Louisville Area Daylily Society, and Hostas of Kentuckiana – formed a new organization and selected the name, "Botanic". Its mission was to become an umbrella organization for the local gardening community by offering quality programs to educate the general public about home gardening. Over the next several years Botanica brought a variety of speakers to Louisville to help enlighten, entertain and educate the community about the botanical world. In addition to hosting a popular lecture series, for six years Botanica was the presenter of the plant-lover’s noteworthy Fleur de Lis Festival – a celebration of all things botanical.

In 2001, Botanica learned that it was the beneficiary of a trust established by member Helen Harrigan, a local gardener with a desire to see a botanical garden and conservatory built in Louisville. Helen’s gift reshaped the focus of our organization, and we set about our work to create what will become Louisville’s Waterfront Botanical Gardens.

Analysis of 9 comparable gardens that helped us project anticipated attendance and revenue streams, as well as the cost of operations and staff.

Site Selection: Evaluated potential locations and selected the 23-acre site at Frankfort Avenue and River Road.

Development of our Strategic Vision(2010)

Title Search (Nov 2012): Tracked deed transfers of 135 plots of land from 1830′s to current ownership of the property by Louisville Metro Government. As a way to promote the garden and inspire the community, we installed the Founders’ Garden at the Heigold Facade on Frankfort Avenue.

Land Use Agreement (June 2013): Signed an agreement with Metro Louisville to formally commit the property for the botanical garden. The agreement also provides a path for Botanica’s future purchase of the property.

Environmental Assessment (October 2013) : Completed a comprehensive assessment of the site and gained agreement by the Superfund Branch of the Kentucky Division of Waste Management.

Design Team Selection(January 2014): Selected Perkins+Will to complete the Master Plan design for the future garden.

Master Plan(November 2014): Finalized the Master Plan for the future gardens.

The completion of the Master Plan is a significant step in our journey, but our work is by no means done. In the coming months, we’ll be preparing ourselves for the next phase of our effort: launching the capital campaign that will raise the funds for construction of the gardens.

We’ve accomplished so much together! All of our work has been made possible through your generous support. We hope you will continue to support Botanica and the garden project as we head in to these next exciting stages!

Healthy Rowhouse Project

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Website: healthyrowhouse.org

Founded in December 2014, The Healthy Rowhouse Project is a growing coalition of organizations in the fields of health, housing, planning and preservation dedicated to improving substandard conditions and health in rowhouses owned by lower-income Philadelphians.

The Healthy Rowhouse Project is funded by the Oak Foundation. Twenty Philadelphia leaders have joined the Advisory Committee. They are lending their expertise to recommend comprehensive Healthy Rowhouse policy, design, construction, and financing tools to assist rowhouse owners to improve their housing quality.

Philadelphia rowhouses are an extraordinary asset that allows the city to offer homeownership to a higher share of low-income households than almost any city in the country.

Philadelphia’s rowhouses, an affordable, energy-efficient and durable form of housing, make up 70% of all homes in the city. Homeowners include 78% of Philadelphians over age 60. In addition, rowhouses provide homes for approximately 40% of all renters. Yet these rowhouses are deteriorating faster than their owners can repair them.

75% of the city’s rowhouses are over 50 years old. The most recent American Housing Survey found that housing quality is most commonly impaired by water leaks from outside, water leaks from inside, cracks in the walls, and roofing problems. Deterioration is one of the leading causes of housing abandonment. In one study, one in four homes with cracks in the wall and one out of seven homes with holes in the roof were abandoned within five years of reporting the problem.

Homes in poor repair literally make their inhabitants sick. Substandard conditions like mold, mildew, lead paint, and pests create and perpetuate health conditions like asthma and lead poisoning in the most vulnerable populations. In fact, 40% of asthma episodes are due to asthma triggers in the home, representing $5 billion annually in preventable medical costs. A 2013-2014 pilot program in Philadelphia found that removing asthma triggers in the home significantly improved the health of children living there, confirming multiple studies that found housing repairs can result in significant health improvements for occupants.

Philadelphia’s rowhouses are durable and affordable. They can last for another century. Philadelphia developed a large stock of attached single-family homes for working-class families before World War II. These rowhouses define Philadelphia neighborhoods and give this city its particular character and distinctiveness. While other cities built apartment buildings to house their workforces, Philadelphia’s locally controlled savings and loan associations financed the “model workingman’s home”, a simple rowhouse that astonished visitors at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

Built of brick, these houses have remained largely intact even as the city’s population has declined by almost 25%. As a result, Philadelphia has a significant, irreplaceable supply of affordable homes for low- and moderate- income households.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Arts Council New Orleans

Location: New Orleans, LA


Now in its 40th year, the Arts Council New Orleans is a private, nonprofit organization designated as the city’s official arts agency. We are one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and we administer municipal arts grants as well as the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans.

The Arts Council New Orleans’ mission is to support and expand opportunities for diverse artistic expression and bring the community together in celebration of our rich, multicultural heritage. We operate in three conceptual areas and measures our accomplishments as follows:


Inspiring and Connecting: Supporting participatory arts, youth arts education, and events that inspire and connect,

Transforming Landscape:

Emphasizing design solutions and a heightened awareness of the built environment,


Investing in our Cultural Assets: Professionalizing the capabilities of local artists and organizations while seeking markets and exchange opportunities.

We administer grant funding, we produce the city’s largest arts market, we manage the city’s Percent for Art Program, we design youth engagement and social justice initiatives, and you better stop us now because we could go on. Please take a tour of our new website for the full scope of our activities and initiatives.

Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to meet you. One great way to make that happen is to join our team of members. Another is to attend our annual Community Arts Awards celebration. Please sign up to be included on our mailing list. And you simply can’t miss LUNA Fête, when the entire city unites in celebration of the arts. We’ll see you there.


Location: International


City administrations use citymetric to get a clear understanding of how their city is performing compared to other key competitor cities. Interactive tools showing long-term forecasts of key economic, demographic, income and employment series provide clients with an independent assessment of the city’s characteristics benchmarked again other major global cities.

With insight and analysis produced by Timetric analysts as well as respected journalists, policymakers and academics, city administrators and other public bodies operating at the city-level can keep up to date with latest trends and issues affecting cities around the world.

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Location: Chicago, IL


Divvy is a new bike sharing system featuring thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations from Andersonville to Hyde Park, available 24/7, 365 days a year. Each station has a touchscreen kiosk, station map, and a docking system that releases bikes using a member key or ride code. You must be 16 years or older to ride Divvy.

Divvy is perfect for your short trips (under 30 minutes by bike) around the city. From Union Station to work, from home to the store, from your hotel to a nearby restaurant. With hundreds of stations around the city, you’ll be able to find Divvy stations almost anywhere you go. Near home, work, school, or shops. In other cities, up to 50% of bike share trips are made to get to or from a public transit system. Divvy helps you get between stations and the places you go most often.

Ride together:

Chicago residents can use Divvy with their friends and in-town guests. Buy someone a 24-Hour Pass and show them around the city you love.

Bike share programs give people more choice in the way they get around Chicago. Divvy is not only an affordable alternative, it’s also a fun one. The word "Divvy" means “to divide and share.” This new bike system connects us all and helps build a stronger local community.

Divvy will be the second largest bike sharing system in the US. We’re building something new and big, and creating local jobs in the process.

French Quarter Advocates

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: fqanola.org

Vision Statement:

Sensible, Systemic and Sustainable Solutions!

The Mission Statement:

To protect the French Quarter as a working neighborhood with an inclusive and diverse residential and commercial population while preserving its unique culture, architectural integrity and music heritage. The French Quarter Advocates-New Orleans, became a reality on April 4, 2014 when a group of concerned residents and business owners felt the French Quarter did not have an organization that accurately represented the views and opinions of the majority of the people who live and work in the French Quarter.

It was determined from very beginning, in order to truthfully represent a neighborhood you would have to get the opinions of the people you speak for. It will be the policy of the French Quarter Advocates to poll all members to determine the collective opinion of the organization Membership is open to anyone who supports the well-being of the French Quarter.

Monthly and Quarterly meetings will be open to anyone wishing to attend. Consensus decision making with a Board that does not dictate but guides, encourages, and supports the committees and members. The purpose of the organization it to promote:

- Solution based committees who develop working relationships with City officials, residents, business, and tourism leaders.

- Committees that address Public Safety: Zoning and Land use; Infrastructure: Legislation; Economic development and Cultural Outreach/Diversity.

- Social Events to foster camaraderie amongst neighbors, business entities,and government officials.

- Neighborhood projects for the betterment of all.

The New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness, Inc. (NOAAHH)

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: sidewalkinc.com

The New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness, Inc. (NOAAHH) began in 1985 when Grammy Trustee Award Recipient and Hall of Fame Inductee songwriter/musician Allen Toussaint and Grammy Award winner and lead vocalist of the Neville Brothers, Aaron Neville, brought together a group of New Orleans musicians for the purpose of performing a concert to benefit the hungry and homeless of Metro New Orleans.

Today, NOAAHH has developed into a successful nonprofit organization that annually presents concerts and gala celebrity mixers to raise funds to help alleviate hunger and homelessness in the metro New Orleans area. NOAAHH is governed by an all-volunteer board of directors. For its first 25 years, NOAAHH was headed by Sister Jane F. Remson, O.Carm. Currently, NOAAHH officers include Pierre Hilzim, president, Sandra Cordray, vice-president, with Sister Jane still providing guidance on the board.

Joining NOAAHH in their efforts are corporate sponsors whose support is needed to cover the production costs of the events. These sponsors donate both cash and in-kind services for which they are duly recognized in NOAAHH’s extensive publicity and on-site signage. Proceeds from the concerts are distributed in metro New Orleans by the NOAAHH Board of Directors using a carefully screened grant application process. To date, more than $1 million dollars have been distributed to charity since the first NOAAHH concert.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Build a Better Block

Location: Nationwide

Website: betterblock.org

The Better Block project started in April, 2010, when a group of community organizers, neighbors, and property owners gathered together to revitalize a single commercial block in an underused neighborhood corridor.

The area was filled with vacant properties, wide streets, and few amenities for people who lived within walking distance. The group brought together all of the resources from the community and converted the block into a walkable, bikeable neighborhood destination for people of all ages complete with bike lanes, cafe seating, trees, plants, pop-up businesses, and lighting.

The project was developed to show the city how the block could be revived and improve area safety, health, and economics if ordinances that restricted small business and multi-modal infrastructure were removed. Since that time, Better Block projects have been developed throughout the World with many of the temporary infrastructure improvements and businesses made permanent.

The Better Block is an open-sourced project that is free to re-use and build upon. This site is developed to provide help for communities who wish to build their own Better Blocks complete with news, tools, and other resources anyone may need to help rapidly revitalize neighborhoods.

We’ve found it’s best to address the following four areas when developing a Better Block, which we will break down in greater depth.

Safety (Real and Perceived)–

First and foremost, if an area feels unsafe then everything breaks down. Whether it be businesses, schools, or neighborhood revitalization, the key to changing a place is addressing its perceived safety. When approaching blocks, we ask the questions:

Does it feel safe to cross the street?

Does it feel safe to stand on the sidewalk?

Does the area have hidden corners or large obstacles that reduce open sightlines?

Do the businesses have bars on the windows or opaque windows?

Our goal is to address each of these questions and find ways to improve the area rapidly.

Shared Access – The next goal we focus on is looking at ways to bring more people into the area by various modes of transportation.

We ask the questions:

Do pedestrians have easy and clear access to the area?

Do bicycles feel welcome in the area?

Is the area easily accessible from neighborhoods?

Are there way finding signs that direct people into and out of the area?

Are there amenities that allow people to linger in the space (seating, tables, etc.)?

Stay Power – How can we encourage people to visit the area and have them linger, and invite their friends?

Are there food options on the block?

Are there places to eat outdoors?

Are there maps, bulletin boards, games, or other amenities that encourage people to linger?

Is the identity of the area prominent (arts district, cultural district, historic area)?

Lastly, we look at amenities that create invitations for children, seniors, and dog owners on a block. These groups tend to be indicators of a healthy environment that feels welcoming and attracts other people.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Community Shares Unit

Location: Great Britain

Website: communityshares.org.uk

The Community Shares Unit is supported by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG)until March 2015 and is delivered in partnership by Co-operatives UK and Locality. Modeled on the highly successful Asset Transfer Unit within Locality, the new unit works with partners to develop standards of good practice, encourage policy reforms and raise awareness to support the growth of community shares. It acts a central reference point for market intelligence, providing the latest information on community share activities nationwide, as well as producing regularly-updated guidance materials.

The unit also operates as a dynamic hub for support, building relationships with networks and organisations to signpost communities, investors and other interested parties to the most appropriate forms of advice and assistance to develop new share offers and support existing ones. Finally, it acts as a strong platform for profiling the community share model, raising awareness of the value of the approach to new entrants and facilitating peer support and networking to those already involved in community shares.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Institute for New Economic Thinking



The Institute for New Economic Thinking is a nonpartisan research and education nonprofit organization based in New York, NY. Created in response to the global financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, the Institute accelerates the development of a new field of economic thought.

By funding academic research, building communities of innovative scholars, and spreading the word globally about the urgent need for change, we are creating real-world solutions to the great challenges of the 21st century. Our work supports the efforts of scholars all over the world as they change the way economics is studied, considered and taught.

The global financial crisis made it clear that the world needs new economic thinking, and it needs it now.

The Museum of the City of New York

Location: New York, NY


The Museum of the City of New York celebrates and interprets the city, educating the public about its distinctive character, especially its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation.

Founded as a private, nonprofit corporation, the Museum connects the past, present, and future of New York City. It serves the people of New York and visitors from around the world through exhibitions, school and public programs, publications, and collections.

The Museum of the City of New York was founded in 1923 by Henry Collins Brown, a Scottish-born writer with a vision for a populist approach to the city. The Museum was originally housed in Gracie Mansion, the future residence of the Mayor of New York. Hardinge Scholle succeeded Henry Brown in 1926 and began planning a new home for the Museum.

The City offered land on Fifth Avenue on 103rd-104th Streets and construction for Joseph H. Freedlander’s Georgian Colonial-Revival design for the building started in 1929 and was completed in 1932.

During the next few decades, the Museum amassed a considerable collection of exceptional items, including several of Eugene O’Neill’s handwritten manuscripts, a complete room of Duncan Phyfe furniture, 412 glass negatives taken by Jacob Riis and donated by his son, a man’s suit worn to George Washington’s Inaugural Ball, and the Carrie Walter Stettheimer dollhouse, which contains a miniature work by Marcel Duchamp.

Today the Museum’s collection contains approximately 750,000 objects, including prints, photographs, decorative arts, costumes, paintings, sculpture, toys, and theatrical memorabilia.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Eight Elements of a Great Neighborhood

Location: San Francisco, CA

Website: http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=1704

Over the years, thousands of San Franciscans have told us the things they love about their neighborhoods and the City, from the corner market to the neighborhood park. We have gathered their comments into what we call the eight key elements of a great urban neighborhood.

Certainly, there are other more particular day-to-day concerns facing the neighborhood, and they need to be addressed. Before we address these concerns, however, it will be most helpful if we begin first to think broadly about--to imagine--what qualities good urban neighborhoods should have, what a neighborhood might be and should be, and how it can be the best possible neighborhood for those who live in it. We will address most of the day-to-day concerns as we work through what it takes to be a great urban neighborhood.


1. A great neighborhood has everyday stores and services within an easy walk from home.

A great neighborhood has stores and shops that satisfy everyday needs within an easy walk from home. Everyday shops and services include corner groceries, day care, cafes and restaurants, banks, dry cleaners, bakeries and the like. An easy walk is about five to ten minutes.  


2. A great neighborhood has safe and friendly streets.

A great neighborhood has safe and friendly streets. In a great neighborhood people can walk without fear of crime, being threatened by traffic, or being disturbed by excessive noise. People feel like they "belong" on neighborhood streets. Residential streets feel public, and more like open space than trafficways. Streets are a pleasant part of the neighborhood. 


3. A great neighborhood has many ways to get around.

A great neighborhood has many choices for moving to, from, and within it. Great neighborhoods make it easy to move about on foot, by bicycle, transit, and auto. They accommodate the car, but allow people to live easily without cars.


4. A great neighborhood has a variety of housing types.

A great neighborhood has a variety of housing types. A mix of houses, flats and apartments of various sizes to meet different needs and preferences.


5. A great neighborhood has places for people to meet and talk.

A great neighborhood has places for people to meet, talk and be neighborly. Public gathering places include parks, plazas, sidewalks, and shops.


6. A great neighborhood has a full range of public services for residents.

A great neighborhood has a full range of public services for residents. Public services include parks, schools, police and fire stations, libraries and other amenities.


7. A great neighborhood has its own character.

A great neighborhood has its own special character. All neighborhoods are shaped by their physical setting, streets, buildings, open spaces, history, culture and the people who live in them. In great neighborhoods these attributes combine in unique and memorable ways.


8. Great neighborhoods make great cities.

Great Neighborhoods Make Great Cities. Great neighborhoods stand out on their own, yet are connected to the City. They can be a refuge for their residents, but also a part of the city's wider community.