Posted by admin on November 18, 2013 |
As Americans grapple with a wide range of societal problems like obesity and other health issues, traffic gridlock and reduced family time, and socially isolated city-centers, we might stop to ask how we got this way and how we can change. Having lived in Europe for three months last summer, I can speak for other Americans who have traveled to other locales and marveled at the high quality of living in those places – especially compared to the automobile-dependant, lifeless cities of the U.S. How we got to be a largely car-dependant, unhealthy society has to do with the early surrender of our cities to cars without the balancing mechanism of maintaining our streetcar and bicycle modes, which had been prominent in nearly all American towns of more than 10,000 people up until the 1930’s. Today, several European cities, most notably Amsterdam and Copenhagen, have become models in the utilization of the simple bicycle as a major tool in the restoring of transportation balance and sustainability to their urban fabrics.
Posted by Jenna Chilingerian on August 21, 2013 |
Ideas, connections and innovation are the ultimate resources in today’s world. Figuring out how we can facilitate these very things to bolster the cultural and creative capital of a city is critical. At our upcoming National Meeting in Grand Rapids, we will hear firsthand examples of creative solutions that utilize art and artists to engage citizens in creative dialogue:Jim Walker will discuss how Big Car utilizes socially engaged art in Indianapolis, Phil Cooleywill discuss the 30,000 square-foot warehouse, Ponyride, in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, and Kemi Ilesanmi will share how The Laundromat Project offers arts-education in underserved communities. Read more about these fascinating organizations.
Posted by Jenna Chilingerian on August 08, 2013 |
Photo from The Atlantic Cities
The transformation of spaces into creative and vibrant places is a current trend in the 21st century. The Internet is full of success stories detailing how cities, in their quest to find distinctiveness, have rediscovered assets of built and physical environments. With these strong and conscious efforts, significant improvements to the livability of whole communities follow. Common to these success stories is placemaking.
In the process of making place it becomes increasingly important to understand how people fit into civic design. And to understand how, it is important to realize the tendency for a built environment to turn its back on people. In order to transform space into place, the connection between people and their built environments must be re-established.
Posted by Jenna Chilingerian on July 30, 2013 |
Photo from flickr user JohnE777
City leaders and developers have started to pay greater attention to the types of institutions that wield significant influence as employers, purchasers of goods and services, and sources of creativity and innovation. Influential “anchor institutions” have the power to transform a region. Anchor institutions differ from traditional institutions because they never move and are highly motivated to invest in place. These anchors include some of the fastest growing organizations with major real estate holdings concentrated in the urban core: colleges and universities, hospitals, art centers, public utilities, and even professional sports franchises. With the decline in investments from government and businesses alike, anchor institutions have become desirable sources for leadership and development in city cores.
Posted by Valerie Lightner on July 29, 2013 |
Photo from flickr user Bernt Rostad
Craft beer has recently boomed in popularity across the United States with unique ingredients taking main stage. Often a brewery utilizes local ingredients and easily recognizable regional favorites for flavoring. Terroir, a term generally reserved for wines and cheese in the past, refers to the idea of tasting the flavors of a locality, and is becoming a main focus in the craft brewery world.
Posted by Ethan Lawson on July 25, 2013 |
Photo from Model D Media
The city of Youngstown, Ohio has learned to embrace its shrinking population by downsizing its infrastructure. The Youngstown 2010 Plan, originally created in 2005 as a joint vision between the City of Youngstown and Youngstown State University, calls for sweeping changes in the city’s land use. Since the plan was implemented, the crime rate has fallen and businesses are once again starting to invest in Youngstown. There is still much improvement to be made in Youngstown, but this plan could serve as a model for other larger Rust Belt cities.
Posted by Jenna Chilingerian on July 24, 2013 |
Photo from CNNMoney
Rising out of the depths of the Great Recession, we are living in turbulent and fiscally uncertain times. We’re trapped between employment and financial uncertainties, and an ever-widening knowledge and skills gap. In spite of this perplexing narrative, one piece of the story has remained consistent: skepticism of the usefulness and effectiveness of government is on the rise. The public is not happy with the public sector. But Americans are rethinking what is no longer working; many have figured out that the directional nature of change does not have to be the traditional top-down flow from Washington to states to localities. City governments across the country are realizing they cannot afford to wait for Washington to make change. Through municipal innovation cities have become the drivers and incubators of social change and better governance. And by sharing their innovative ideas and success stories, cities everyday are paving the way for greater change across America.
Posted by Ethan Lawson on July 17, 2013 |
Photo from flick user JasonParis
Every city has its own unique identity. This identity is embodied in its citizens and also its buildings. For example, Boston is defined by its narrow winding streets and historic brick colonial buildings; and New Orleans is defined by its multiculturalism and unique French architecture. Architecture is a physical representation of the history of a city, and a city’s history is perhaps the most important aspect of its identity. Historic preservation does not only mean preserving old buildings, but means preserving the entire identity of a city. Read More.
Posted by Jenna Chilingerian on July 17, 2013 |
Photo from Historic Fresno
One potential way to make historic preservation more economically viable is through a heritage tourism platform. This can be an attractive economic revitalization strategy, providing a larger source of sustained revenue for a community, creating new businesses, increasing tax revenues, and fostering job growth. Together, historic preservation and heritage tourism have the potential to generate greater civic pride and promote a community’s unique character. Read more.
Posted by admin on July 01, 2013 |
Photo from Buzz Feed
The City of Detroit has been in the news lately, mostly in ways that make it seem like the city is beleaguered with one problem after another. A new emergency manager has been appointed who recently published a report of the City’s finances that makes the prospect of looming bankruptcy seem even greater. Then there are the ongoing issues of rising crime, declining population rolls, and failing city services. Yet, in spite of what you hear and read trumpeted daily, there are many individuals and organizations working quietly and tirelessly in local neighborhoods to improve life for residents and/or children. They realize the challenges to their beloved city, yet they continue to strive to make it better. This type of passion and commitment is what keeps hundreds of thousands of people living in Detroit. This is why people, young and old, continue to move into the city, hopeful that better days still are ahead. Along with support from political leaders, the business community and philanthropic community, these local champions are the ones that keep the city viable. In their honor, we invite you to take a second look at Detroit.