Choose Your Neighborhood in Life and in Death

Land uses change.  Before you know it, the elementary school down the block is converted into loft condominiums, that run-down strip mall is replaced with an upscale shopping and entertainment destination, and the 40-acre family farm becomes eighteen 4,000 square foot McMansions.  But one land use is etched in stone for all eternity—the cemetery. Many

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Making Livability a Law

Following on the heels of the 2009 announcement of the joint initiative on livability between the United States Department of Transportation’s (DOT), Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD), and Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA), members of both the Senate and House have introduced bills that would make coordinating housing and transportation in an environmentally responsible

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Public Invited to Comment on New and Small Starts Transit Projects

The Federal Transit Administration is looking for cities to comment on the proposed changes to the “New Starts and Small Starts” transit project criteria for federal funding.  In the beginning of the year, Transportation Secretary LaHood announced that DOT intended to expand the definition of “cost effectiveness” used evaluate federal support for local public transportation

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Life on the Sidewalk

Many cities are blessed with neighborhoods that offer cafes, restaurants and small parks with tables and chairs or benches out on the sidewalk. In Washington, D.C. the neighborhood around the historic Eastern Market is a vortex for public life, especially on a weekend when merchants and shoppers sip coffee amidst strollers, kids in sports uniforms,

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FOR RENT: Cozy Cottage, Serene Backyard Setting, Landlord Close-by

The City of Seattle recently amended a restricting and outdated zoning regulation.  This change encourages homeowners to reject—to an extent—the separation of housing types and the segregation of people of different income levels.  The zoning change allows homeowners in single-family residential neighborhoods to construct small, free-standing cottages on their properties for rental purposes.  USA Today

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Dnt Txt n Drv

Kansas has recently become the 26th state to adopt a “no texting while driving” law.  Until January 1, 2011, drivers will receive a warning if they are caught texting while driving and after that, law enforcement officials will issue $60 fines for the offense. So important has this issue become, that President Obama, even, issued

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The Global Economy is Not Really So “Foreign”

When Ron Kirk was Mayor of Dallas he spent lots of his time on economic development efforts. He built partnerships across the region and around the world to help generate domestic and foreign investment and to promote local products and services. For the last 15 months Kirk has been doing the same job only on

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Are cities Capitalizing on Fiction?

The latest Emerging Issues column in Nation’s Cities Weekly explores the topic of detection fiction novels that are set in in American cities. Decades ago, American detective novels were mainly set in New York City or Los Angeles. One observer puts the proportion at fifty percent. Ellery Queen and Nero Wolfe and Raymond Chandler and

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Why Transparency is Good (or Bad) for Governments?

Despite the recent push for transparency, this concept is not a new one for local governments. Cities around the country have been employing various methods to increase transparency – simply, be more open to the public – in their day to day practices for years now. From broad engines of information like city websites (San

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