Go Tell the Spartans

Lansing, Michigan – The Spartans of old were the lightly armed, highly determined warriors that defended the pass at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. against a vastly superior force of Persians, bent on the complete destruction of Greece. The modern Spartans are the lightly armed and highly determined municipal officials who battle to prevent Michigan from

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America in the Last Lane

As any competitive or recreational swimmer knows, the swimming pool has a strict hierarchy of performance and expectation. At one end of the pool are the fast lanes and at the other end are the slow lanes. In the fast lanes are found the competitive tri-athletes, the varsity collegiate swimmers and the Olympic wannabees. For

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Whitney Says Earthquake is Sign of De(Fault) Problem

August is a slow month in D.C.  and we thought we’d add some humor to the post-Earthquake news cycle.  Obviously, none of the statements or quotes in this post are real. Financial analyst Meredith Whitney said that the recent earthquake in the mid-Atlantic region is yet another sign of underlying instability in the municipal bond

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Economic Benefits of Green Cities

This post is written by Caitlin Geary, Associate within the Finance and Economic Development Program, Center for Research and Innovation at the National League of Cities. As energy and transportation costs rise, market demand for “green” grows and budget cuts continue to loom, communities are increasingly realizing the multiple benefits linking sustainability, cost savings and economic

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Rebranding Infrastructure

What might Hill & Knowlton, Fleishman-Hillard or Edelman Public Relations do if they were given the marketing campaign for INFRASTRUCTURE? It’s a terrible word in desperate need of rebranding.  What self-respecting PR firm would not jump at the chance to persuade Americans to spend their hard earned dollars on infrastructure instead of tablets or timeshares?

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The Goal is Diverse Housing Choices

Housing has always been complicated; it’s just that most folks never really noticed until the decades-old pattern of increasing home construction and increasing home values came to a blinding, crashing halt. Now the complexity is abundantly apparent – rent or own, access to credit, overleveraged mortgage loans, accurate risk underwriting, affordability, proximity to employment, patterns

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The Active Living Imperative

The issue of obesity is oft discussed in the media and by healthy living figureheads like Michelle Obama as the cause for many of our country’s ills.  Mrs. Obama fights to introduce healthy, affordable produce into our food deserts (discussed eloquently in this recent blog post), and champions increased physical activity for children.  For adults,

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La Rambla de Barcelona

The first thing a visitor to Barcelona may notice is the time shift. At 7:30 in the morning, even the Starbucks is not open. In fact, the only people on the streets of the Gothic Quarter are the tourists streaming from their small hotels past the closed shops with the doors covered in graffiti. Even

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“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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