"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.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Denver Homeless Out Loud

Location: Denver, CO

Website: denverhomelessoutloud.org

Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) works with and for people who experience homelessness, to solve the issues that arise from the experience of homelessness.

We work to help protect and advocate for dignity, rights and choices for people experiencing homelessness.

To these ends, we commit our efforts toward goals affirmed and raised by homeless people, within our organization and without.

We strive to add our strengths together to create ways of living in which everyone has a place they can call home.

We welcome you to join us in this work.

Our office hours are Monday-Friday 2:00pm – 5:00pm.

Our main meetings are Wednesdays, 4:45pm – 7:00pm at Denver Homeless Out Loud office space shared with Centro Humanitario at 2260 California St Denver CO, 80205! (The cool purple building on Park Avenue and California).

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Nature of Cities

Location: International

Website: thenatureofcities.org

The mission of The Nature of Cities is to promote worldwide dialog and action to create green cities that are sustainable, resilient, livable, and just. The TNOC community comprises a broad diversity of people, from architects and designers to scientists, from practitioners to entrepreneurs and artists—pursuing transformational dialog that leads to the creation of better cities for all.

TNOC is a virtual magazine and discussion site on cities as ecosystems. It is a global collective of contributors, an essay, long-form, media, and discussion site devoted to cities as social-ecological spaces, ecosystems of people, buildings, open spaces, and nature. We believe that cities are human habitat, and that design with nature and public open space at the metaphorical center is key to urban resilience, sustainability, livability and justice.

TNOC was founded and is curated by Dr. David Maddox. Cities are fundamentally ecological spaces. They are ecosystems packed with trees and vegetation that comprise an urban forest. They house birds, insects, small mammals, diverse ecological habitats, and more. They are connected to suburban and rural areas along ecological gradients. Human well being, social justice and effective urban design is intimately connected to the health of urban ecosystems. Cities are habitat for people, and urban design with nature at the center is essential to resilience, sustainability, and livability.

We believe that the nature of cities—by which we mean cities as ecosystems of people, green and blue nature, biodiversity, and built infrastructure…habitat for people-needs more voices, more perspectives and expanded conversation about its critical importance for people and how it can be promoted, conserved, managed, and in some cases designed for the good of all.

The Nature of Cities is a platform—a virtual magazine and media site for a variety of content and conversations on these themes, including blogs and virtual roundtables. In the near future we will introduce other styles of conversation. We are a collaborative of 275+ writers from many disciplines and from many places around the world. New columns are published twice weekly and rotate among our roster. Virtual Roundtables, in which a dozen or so writers respond to and discuss a specific question, appear every month. Podcasts and book reviews appear more or less monthly.

We are, by design, a diverse group and our ideas about the nature of cities emerge from wide-ranging perspectives. Our contributors include activists, designers, biologists, ecologists, sociologists, economists, artists, architects, artists, landscape architects, nature writers, leaders of community organizations, public space managers, lawyers, and leaders in international organizations.

We live and work in 25 countries and six continents. We are men and women. The study, understanding, and management of urban nature is fundamentally multidisciplinary and many-voiced (or should be), and the diversity in our collective attempts to honor this fact.

Yet we remain a work in progress, always striving to make sure we write from many perspectives.

Our readers have visited over 400,000 times, from over 3,500 cities and 140 countries.

Our intended audience is everyone interested in creating better cities that are resilient, sustainable, livable, and just—cities that effectively function as ecosystems and are better habitat for people.

We crave dialogue and comments from our community of readers. So please keep in touch.

Each of the opinions expressed in publications on our site are the author’s own and emerge from the vantage point of his or her discipline, but the core themes of our writing are human habitat nature, ecosystems and biodiversity in urban settings, especially as they relate to sustainability, resilience, livability, and human well-being.

Rights to each essay and its images are held jointly by the authors and designers/photographers of the particular piece and The Nature of Cities. Rights to the site as a whole are held by The Nature of Cities.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Brooklyn Arts Council

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Website: brooklynartscoucil.org

Who We Are:

We are the arts council for the borough of Brooklyn. We bring leadership and energy to every part of Brooklyn’s arts scene, supporting and connecting it all. It doesn’t matter where you fit into the arts—artist, audience member, participant, venue, educator or supporter—we want you to create and experience the arts in every neighborhood of Brooklyn.

What drives us? Our impassioned belief in the intrinsic value of the arts and artists, as well as what they can do. Art has a unique ability to bridge cultures, inspiring positive transformation in individual lives and entire communities.

What We Do:

BAC gives grants, presents free and affordable arts events, trains artists and arts professionals, teaches students, incubates new projects and promotes artists and cultural groups across our borough. As Brooklyn’s cultural anchor since 1966, BAC has also been the catalyst helping the arts community grow. We continually evaluate and evolve what we do to meet the changing times, and keep our commitment to community engagement, diversity and inclusion when it comes to the arts in our borough.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Blights out

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: blightsout.org

Blights Out is a collaborative and creative initiative to unite residents, artists, architects, and organizers in the design of a new, inclusive model for development. Our experiential method of “performing architecture” guides us through the purchase, design, and restoration of a blighted structure into a cultural resource center that will seed creative action around issues of blight, disinvestment, and housing. Blights Out will partner with a local Community Land Trust as the cultural organizing arm of the permanently affordable housing movement to share the tools and inspiration for New Orleans residents to build the destinies of their own neighborhoods.

Our objectives are:

- To purchase and restore a blighted property in the Lower Mid-City/ Tremé neighborhood transforming it into functional “social sculpture”: a multipurpose community cultural resource center and socio- economic asset, which will serve at the “mothership” hub of Blights Out’s creative output.

- To align New Orleans’ traditional modes of cultural organizing with today’s most pressing concerns. We believe that the Social Aid nd Pleasure Club is a strong model that can be employed in new terrain. As such, we are using art tofacilitate civic engagement with blight, disinvestment, and housing through programming that draws on New Orleans’traditions of performance, storytelling, and community organizing.

- To partner with a local Community Land Trust (CLT)to organize educational materials and programming on alternative development models, including the CLT.

- To record, visualize, and amplify the history of the neighborhood.

- To document our process and present it as a replicable model for action through the publication of a toolkit that will consolidate scattered resources on housing, lending, and blight remediation in New Orleans, thus serving an unmet need identified at the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center 2015 Annual Fit for King Conference.

Blights Out produces public art inspired by neighborhood stories, architecture, and history, culled from the multi-disciplinary research and critical interactive strategies that we employ.

Blights Out is a collaborative process, involving residents, artists, architects, and organizers, at all stages of conception and implementation.

Our institutional partners include: the National Organization of Minority Architects; Press Street; Newcomb Art Museum at Tulane University; Junebug Productions; New Orleans Master Crafts Guild; Prospect New Orleans; Loyola Law School Human Rights Clinic; Creative Capital; Justice and Beyond Coalition and The St. Roch Community Church. Economic models and development schemes have been perfected by maximizing profit at the expense of people.” “The American Dream is an individual vision incompatible with collective needs.” “Artists will always hasten gentrification.” We intend to deconstruct these truisms and prove them false through the design of an actionable model for community-powered neighborhood development.