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Tag: Distinctiveness

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A Cycle of Positive Development

Colleges and universities have recognized their potential to be the heart of their respective cities and to serve a greater purpose than mere education.

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City Valentines

If cities gave out Valentines, what would they say? We took a quick stab at it, and decided to offer a printable and downloadable versions-- so you can share or give them to the thought leaders and city advocates in your life! What would your City Valentine say?

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A New Name / A New Look

Our newsletter has a new name and a new look that better reflects who we are and what we do. The new name is derived from our signature work known as City Dividends. Read More.

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The Bicycle: The Simple Tool for 21st Century Urban Sustainability

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.

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The Transformation of Space into Place


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.

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Anchoring Success in the Urban Core


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.

 

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Terroir and the Distinct City


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.

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Youngstown: A Shrinking City with Big Ideas


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.

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Re-Imagining America through the Lens of Municipal Innovation


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.

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Historic Preservation and the Identity of a City


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.

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