Innovation in city programs: How do we know it when we see it?

Amid persistent attention placed on cities struggling to make ends meet, cities across the country are also engaged in countless efforts to improve the quality of life for their residents. In many cases, these quality of life improvements are strong ammunition against local hardship. It’s easy for cities to get bogged down in their own struggles, but in order

Continue reading

CITY YEAR — Always Ready!

Freedom Plaza, across from city hall in Washington, D.C., is presently the camp site for Occupy Wall Street, the anti-corporate greed campaign sweeping the nation. While I have no philosophical problems with the protest agenda, I do resent the fact that their use of the Plaza has displaced the morning calisthenics of the Washington cadre

Continue reading

More Than Just A Market

I never thought of the present-day farmers market as the modern equivalent of the Greek Agora or the Roman Forum. Certainly a marketplace, like the historic Eastern Market near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., is a community space for multiple purposes only one of which is commercial. On any given day, but especially on

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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,

Continue reading