“New Urbanism”: What Does it Mean to City Leaders?

The term new urbanism brings about visions of the constructed reality of Truman Burbank—played by actor Jim Carey in the 1998 Hollywood movie, The Truman Show.  The movie depicts Burbank’s fabricated made-for-TV life in his made-for-TV small town and was filmed on location in Seaside, Florida. Seaside was master planned in the early ‘90s, and

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Harvesting the fruit begins with finding the tree

Getting started with, or ramping up sustainability initiatives can be a complex process. In a field teeming with ideas and options but perpetually short on funds, capacity, or clear guidance, emphasis has largely been placed on tackling initiatives considered to be on the low-hanging branches of sustainability. Yet even taking on these small-scale, incremental efforts

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Local Food for Economic Prosperity

Food is among the most relatable, and certainly most fundamental, issues facing our country.  Regardless of race or class, everyone has an agrarian heritage somewhere in his or her ancestry.  And regardless of culture or political leaning, everyone must eat. The modern food system is much more complicated though, with stakeholders, profits and politics muddling

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Meredith Whitney’s Misinformation Campaign

Almost six months ago, Meredith Whitney – the controversial financial investor who made her name by predicting the recent troubles for Wall Street banks  – set off a firestorm in financial markets by claiming that “social unrest” was coming in the form of ”50-100 sizeable municipal defaults.” She’s back this week with an op-ed in

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Places and People are Keys to Thriving Cities

Efforts at “place making” have seldom been so visible in both federal policy and local initiative.  But author Edward Glaeser in his popular work Triumph of the City, suggests that a focus on place is truly, well, misplaced.  “Invest in people,” Glaeser advocates, because at their best cities are job-creating engines that put talent to

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Building Affordable Housing is Risky Business

Please note: This post is a collaboration between James Brooks and Michael Wallace at NLC.  For the past two days, The Washington Post has lambasted the Department of Housing and Urban Development and local housing authorities and community development corporations for failing to adequately manage programs that build or rehabilitate affordable housing. There is a

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A Changing Paradigm: Cities and Regions Embracing Global Interdependence

Distrustful, inward-looking and even smug…U.S. local officials have been called it all when it comes to describing their attitudes toward strengthening global economic interdependence.  And this is part of a broader story about the U.S., that we are unwilling to look to global partners to help restore economic growth.  Perhaps in certain places at certain

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An Immigrant’s Perspective: The Importance of Resource Access Programs

This post is by Michelle Burgess of NLC’s Center for Research and Innovation’s Municipal Action for Immigration (MAII) program. Imagine for a moment that you are an immigrant to the United States. You hope to make this new country your home, and yet, many of the customs and culture confuse you. Most likely, you have

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Recent Advances in Bikeshare Systems from Miami Beach to Washington, DC

Bikeshare systems bring a number of economic and environmental benefits to cities, as previously outlined and in NLC’s new municipal action guide, Integrating Bike Share Programs into a Sustainable Transportation System.  Furthermore, they are attractive to residents and tourists, thereby contributing to a city’s reputation for livability.  Riding a bicycle as a means of transportation

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Bikeshare Systems Contribute to Transportation Infrastructure Strategy

Bikeshare systems are sprouting across the U.S. at a heartening pace.  Motivated by a combination of factors – including rising oil prices that discourage automobile use, public health concerns and a desire to increase physical activity, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and the need to more efficiently use urban space –

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