Tag: community

Foreclosure Fatigue Sets In as Housing Market Improves

Imagine my surprise at how quickly the attention paid to mortgage borrowers suffering through foreclosures, short-sales and default notices is quickly abandoned as good news continues to arrive in the form of rising home prices and sales. As with wars, famines, natural disasters and celebrity meltdowns, issue fatigue is finally sweeping the mortgage foreclosure crisis

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California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights Provides Solutions

Political leaders at the state and local levels in California have delivered not one but two aggressive efforts to address the home mortgage foreclosure crisis. One effort, the Homeowner Bill of Rights, is likely to be a powerful stick which will help borrowers negotiating a loan modification from nearly all banks and mortgage servicers. The

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A Focus on What Divides Us

Democracy is messy. Big surprise! There are no philosopher kings with boundless wisdom available to make decisions for us. We are on our own and each citizen must decide for him or herself what is truth and falsehood and what is reasonable or what is unacceptable. Battles between neighborhood residents and real estate developers are

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Who’s Afraid of Renters?

Perceptions seem to be changing but there remains an unfortunate bias against renters. In a recent essay in the Wall Street Journal (May 4, 2012) author Daniel Gross [Better, Stronger, Faster: The Myth of American Decline and the Rise of the New Economy] offers this characterization. “In the American mind, renting has long symbolized striving

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Concluding NLC’s Delegation to Europe: Day 5 [Hamburg, Germany]

After a full week of traveling, touring, meetings, and presentations we reach the end of NLC’s International Sustainability Exchange. We began our day with a meeting at the Ministry of Urban Development and Environment where delegates engaged with leading authorities on efforts that the City of Hamburg is taking to reduce carbon emissions while at

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Broken Politics Does Not Diminish the Value of Government

A startling NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (January 22-24, 2012) indicates that 80 percent of Americans disapprove the job performance of Congress. Indeed, attitudes about government generally, whether Congress, the President, cabinet departments or agencies, are generally unfavorable. Research work conducted by Public Works Partners http://www.publicworkspartners.net illuminates a bit more of the truth behind these figures.

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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

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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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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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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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