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Repurposing Urban Roadways for More Than Just Cars in the Midwest


Photo from flickr user citymaus

Cities throughout the United States are redesigning their roadways to accommodate multiple means of transportation.

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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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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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Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities: Preparing for an Urbanized World


Photo from The International Society for Presence Research

Corporations are finding themselves in an increasingly globalized and urbanized world. As the world's population continues to migrate to urban centers, these corporations realize they have to adjust to meet this shift. Cisco created its “Smart+Connected Communities” initiative to address the challenges associated with the global urban shift. These challenges include overcrowding, pollution, budget and resource constraints, inadequate infrastructures, and the need for continuing growth.

Anil Menon became the president of Cisco's Smart+Connected Communities (S+CC) in March 2009. Since then, he has consistently worked to bring together people, services, community assets, and information using intelligent networking capabilities. By bringing community leaders together, it is easier to address the challenges and create a more sustainable environment. Anil leads a cross-Cisco team focused on services-led solutions in safety and security, energy, real estate, and transportation.

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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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Transportation: Who Is Responsible?


Photo from flickr user Complete Streets

Transportation infrastructure remains an important talking point in the national dialogue.  On the federal level, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009) and the Federal Transportation Bill (2012) signal a gradual downward shift in responsibility for transportation policy and funding.  States and localities have simultaneously pushed for a “complete streets” policy to address the equitability of transportation infrastructure and networks.  While transportation policy becomes more equitable, however, funds from Washington continue to dwindle, leaving states and localities to search for new tools to fund projects.

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Take a Second Look at Detroit


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.

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Interview: Reid Ewing, Author of Pedestrian and Transit-Oriented Design

There are many great books you could use to kick off your summer reading—and those of you interested in urban design may be excited to get your hands on Pedestrian and Transit-Oriented Design—a joint project of the American Planning Association and the Urban Land Institute.

The book provides measurable guidance for creating communities that are designed for humans. There are 28 features it promotes as “best practices,” divided into 3 groups—essential (orienting buildings toward the street, without parking in between), highly desirable (closely spaced street trees), and nice additions that may not be essential (“worthwhile” characteristics, public art, water features, etc.).

We were thrilled to get the opportunity to talk with Reid Ewing, a coauthor of the book, to hear his thoughts on the book, on urban design, and how what the book’s topic fits in with the CEOs for Cities mission.

CEOs for Cities: What sets this book apart from others like it today?

Reid Ewing: Others are not nearly as specific, concrete, tangible. This book takes the subject of urban design into the realm of operational guidance. The photos are incredible. There are also…

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What signs do – and don’t – tell us about America’s parking

What do we really know about parking?

Of everything that the responsible urban planner has to think about, parking can be the most vexing. Incredibly, no one knows how much of it there is in the U.S., which can make it tough to study. Part of the problem is that all parking is local, to paraphrase Tip O’Neil. You can’t borrow one of Albuquerque’s plentiful parking spots when you’re circling the block in Manhattan’s East Village. And although satellites can give us part of the story, it would take an unprecedented nationwide census (on par with the one we conduct of people) to deliver an accurate count...

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