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Engagement Through Arts

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Ideas, connections and innovation are the ultimate resources in today’s world. Figuring out how we can facilitate these very things to bolster the cultural and creative capital of a city is critical. At our upcoming National Meeting in Grand Rapids, we will hear firsthand examples of creative solutions that utilize art and artists to engage citizens in creative dialogue:Jim Walker will discuss how Big Car utilizes socially engaged art in Indianapolis, Phil Cooleywill discuss the 30,000 square-foot warehouse, Ponyride, in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, and Kemi Ilesanmi will share how The Laundromat Project offers arts-education in underserved communities.Read more about these fascinating organizations.

Who:Big Car

What: Big Car is a grassroots nonprofit arts organization with a collective of artists, writers, musicians, and active citizens who work together on projects and programs in the Indianapolis community. . . . Their mission is to “bring art to people and people to art” by facilitating artistic ideas, and simultaneously increasing livability and creativity in communities. . . .

How: Through cultural organization and engagement-based arts programming, including performances, games, exhibitions, and events, Big Car brings together people of all backgrounds in local Indiana communities to inspire creativity and activate public spaces. . . . Big Car collaborates with local residents and stakeholders by forming partnerships in order to build social capital and encourage civically engaged communities. . . .

Why you should know about Big Car:Big Car utilizes “social practice art,” or socially engaged art. . . . Social practice art is unique; individuals that may not necessarily define themselves as artists become directly involved in the process of art, building connections and empathy among participants. . . . The organization focuses on people and process rather than products. . . . Their events begin with identifying particular issues and concerns; artists then connect with participants by brainstorming creative approaches and solutions to address the issues and concerns. . . . Their projects engage whole communities in planning and creating community-building projects, bridging the gap between art institutions and residents. They opened the Service Center, a “grassroots hub for art, culture, education, and health,” in the Lafayette Square neighborhood in 2011. . . . Local arts and community groups use the space for performances and activities. . . .


Who: Ponyride

What:Ponyride is a multiple-use space in a 30,000 square-foot warehouse in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. . . . This space houses around 40 small companies and community projects and serves as a study to see the potential positive impact the foreclosure crisis can have. . . .

How:Ponyride provides cheap space, $0.10-$0.20 per square-foot, for “socially-conscious” artists and entrepreneurs to work and share knowledge, resources and networks. . . . This space remains cheap because of the consistent flow of community support and resources. . . . Tenants have the opportunity and resources to produce, create, and educate community members in creative and innovative ways.

Why you should know about Ponyride:Artists and entrepreneurs that find home in Ponyride serve members of Detroit communities through various activities and workshops. . . . Living in a collaborative space allows for shared resources and knowledge, which helps to build a creative community in spite of Detroit’s struggles. . . . The opportunities Ponyride’s tenants offer are referred to as “education;” Community members can partake in weekly activities including figure drawing, dance workshops, sewing tutorials, yoga, and even a class to learn about the process of cultivating coffee. . . .


Who: The Laundromat Project

What:The Laundromat Project is a community-based, non-profit arts organization in New York City that offers arts-education in underserved communities that would otherwise not have the opportunity due to income, age, or background. . . .

How: The organization is committed to remedying social inequities, raising the quality of life, and fostering vibrant communities and vibrant economies through art and creativity. . . . To do so, the organization brings art workshops and program to the local Laundromat, where the community members already are. . . .

Why you should know about the Laundromat Project: The communities that the Laundromat Project focuses on are communities that do not have access to art and cultural facilities, so the organization’s workshops and programs focus on increasing the accessibility of art and culture for everyone. . . . The Laundromat Project also offers professional development opportunities for artists within these communities, encouraging artists to develop public art in their neighborhoods. . . . One of the Laundromat Project’s public art programs is Works in Progress (WiP),   which brings free, hands-on workshops and programs to local Laundromats and community spaces during summers. . . . In the long-run, the Laundromat Project envisions owning and operating an art center attached to a Laundromat with space for artists to create and foster collaborative public art practices for whole communities. . . .

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Jenna Chilingerian is a CEOs for Cities Summer Success Fellow. Jenna is a Fresno, California native and recent graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.  Jenna received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Civic Engagement, and earned both College Honors and Summa Cum Laude Latin Honors.  She recently moved to Cleveland, Ohio to complete a summer City Success Fellowship with CEOs for Cities.

Talent Dividend Webinar Series

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CEOs for Cities is pleased to announce a three-part fall webinar series designed specifically to meet the needs of cities participating in the  Talent Dividend Network and Talent Dividend Prize Competition.   This event, spread over the next three months and with generous in-kind support from the presenters will explore how geospatial mapping may be used to better inform metro strategy around college completion using  Columbia, SC, McAllen, TX, and Lakeland, FL as examples, strategies around adult college completion, and a comprehensive review of the 2nd year benchmark reports from Joe Cortright. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to stay engaged with the TD Network!

Webinars will be held the first Friday of each month and will begin at 12pm EST.    

Participants must register for each webinar separately.

Webinar #1:

October 4, 2013
12:00 pm EST
Presented by Peter Winograd and Amy Ballard, Center for Education Policy at University of New Mexico.

Using Geospatial Mapping To Build City Success:  Creating Support, Setting Priorities, Marking Progress

This webinar will focus on how cities can use data visualization and powerful maps to create a strong platform for advocacy by bringing diverse community groups together; identifying areas of need and gaps in resources; and documenting progress towards key goals in education and economic development.  We will share real-world examples from three of the Talent Dividend cities and provide webinar participants with some ideas for using their own data more effectively to strengthen local initiatives.

Webinar #2: 

November 1, 2013
12:00 pm EST
Presented by Patrick Lane, WICHE

Adult Learners: A Key Piece of the College Completion Puzzle

This webinar will focus on why reengaging adult learners (particularly those with some college credit but no degree) is such an important part of any metropolitan strategy to increase degree attainment. With demographic and workforce projections showing that the traditional education pipeline will not provide sufficient students to meet the future needs of employers, bringing back adults who have started but not finished a postsecondary credential is crucial. In addition to focusing on the need to serve these potential students, the webinar will also share promising strategies to develop collaborative relationships with other stakeholders to increase degree attainment.

Webinar #3:

December 6, 2013
12:00 pm EST
Presented by Joe Cortright, Economist, Impresa, Inc.,

Year 2 Talent Dividend Progress Reports

This webinar will present the year 2 talent dividend progress reports covering the 57 cities participating the the Talent Dividend Prize competition.  The webinar will describe the data and methods used to count the number of degrees awarded in each metropolitan area, and the process for reviewing and approving this data.  The webinar will describe the range of results for participating talent dividend cities.  The year 2 process and methods will serve as the basis for the final determination of the Talent Dividend Prize winner in the fall of 2014. 


Presenter Bios

PETER WINOGRAD currently serves as the Director of the Center for Education Policy (CEPR) at the University of New Mexico. CEPR’s mission is to conduct independent research on a wide range of education issues and to use that research to strengthen the efforts of policy makers, educators and citizens in meeting the challenges facing New Mexico.

Winograd has been deeply involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of New Mexico’s major education reform initiatives including early childhood care and education; statewide longitudinal education data systems; high school redesign and college readiness; and teacher and principal recruitment, preparation, retention, and evaluation. Dr. Winograd directed the Wallace Foundation Educational Leadership Grant from 2004 to 2008 and also directed the New Mexico Title II Teacher Quality Grant from 1999-2003. Since coming to New Mexico in 1996, Dr. Winograd has obtained and directed more than $17 million in grants aimed at improving student success; teacher and principal quality; and using data to inform policy.

Winograd’s previous experience includes serving as the Education Policy Advisor to Governor Richardson for two years and the Director of the New Mexico Office of Education Accountability (OEA) in the Department of Finance and Administration for six years. Dr. Winograd also served as the Director of The Center for Teacher Education & Educational Policy in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico; Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Kentucky; Director for the University of Kentucky Institute for Educational Research; and Co-Director for The University of Kentucky and University of Louisville Joint Center for the Study of Educational Policy.

AMY BALLARD is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Education Policy Research where she focuses on data visualization to support CEPR's wide range of projects in areas including early childhood education, community asset mapping, educational resource allocation and many others.  She is particularly interested in the implications of geographic location as it relates to educational opportunities and outcomes.  Her favorite reading includes software manuals and anything by Edward Tufte.

In addition to her professional pursuits, Ms. Ballard is a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership program at the University of New Mexico, prompted by her leadership experience at Central New Mexico Community College as a Faculty Chair and Chair of the Faculty Chair Council.  She intends to research the use of spatial and other data to enhance understanding of community educational needs in New Mexico.  She has been a GIS practitioner for the last 20 years as an archaeologist, college instructor at Central New Mexico Community College and currently as an education researcher at the University of New Mexico.  The organizations she works with have received 3 Esri Special Achievement in GIS awards in 2010, 2012 and 2013.  She received the 2013 Red Chile Outstanding Service Award from the New Mexico Geographic Information Council.  Amy has been an American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Certified Mapping Scientist in GIS/LIS since 2005 and also holds an Esri Professional Certification.

PATRICK LANE joined Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) in 2008 as a project coordinator. He is heavily involved in WICHE’s adult degree completion work. He coordinates the Adult College Completion Network and has worked extensively on WICHE’s Non-traditional No More: Policy Solutions for Adult Learners project. Both projects focus on indentifying policy and practice solutions to help adults with prior college credit return to postsecondary education to complete their degrees. He also coordinates WICHE’s College Access Challenge Grant Network—a collaborative learning network of western states working to increase the number of low-income students succeeding in postsecondary education. He came to WICHE having spent several years working in education policy in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where he served as a special advisor to the secretary of education 2006-2008 and the field director for the WorldTeach program from 2003-2005. He received a master’s degree from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in 2007 and is currently pursuing a PhD in public administration at the University of Colorado Denver. 

JOE CORTRIGHT is President and principal economist for Impresa, a Portland consulting firm specializing in regional economic analysis, innovation and industry clusters. Joe is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution,  and senior policy advisor for CEOs for Cities, a national organization of urban leaders. He has served as an advisor to state and local governments, private businesses, foundations and advocacy groups in more than a dozen states, Canada and Europe.

Joe's work casts a light on the role of knowledge-based industries in shaping regional economies. Joe's latest report is City Vitals--a tool for benchmarking urban economic health--published by the national organization CEOs for Cities. Cortright is the author of three publications on industry clusters published by the Brookings Institution: Making Sense of Clusters (2006) -- a review of academic literature on industry agglomeration -- Signs of Life (2002) -- a benchmark analysis of the clustering of the U.S. biotechnology industry and High Tech Specialization (2001). Cortright has also written extensively on the migration of talented young workers among metropolitan areas in a series of studies entitled The Young and Restless for cities around the nation. His work is quoted regularly in the media, in publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times to The Economist, Business Week and USA Today.

2013 National Meeting

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2013 National Meeting Summary
Grand Rapids, MI | Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2013

CEOs for Cities’ 2013 National Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan gathered over 320 cross-sector civic CEOs and changemakers from over 80 cities to explore the theme, “The Art of the Collaborative City.”  It was the largest National Meeting in CEOs for Cities history, exceeding the record attendance of over 250 in Boston in 2012.

This year’s conference explored the intersection of the private, public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors and the intersection of art, design, talent, and place to catalyze city success. We used ArtPrize, the internationally acclaimed art competition that Time Magazine listed in its "Five Festive Events You Won't Want to Miss in 2013," as our canvas, to help our business, community, foundation, and government leaders explore the smart practices that are helping American cities grow in investments, talent, and quality of life.

Program Overview

Sunday, September 29

We kicked off the conference on September 29, 2013 with a reception at the Reserve Wine & Food. During the reception, attendees heard remarks from Lee Fisher, President and CEO, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, CEOs for Cities Board Chair, and Kathleen McIntyre, Ford Motor Company Fund.

Monday, September 30

Monday, September 30, began with welcoming remarks from Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell and Jerry Tubergen, CEO of RDV Corporation and unveiling of a compelling new video about Grand Rapids.

Bruce Katz

Bruce Katz followed with a keynote presentation on the Metropolitan Revolution. Katz detailed how the country’s 388 metropolitan regions account for 91% of the GDP, with the largest share coming from the top 100 metropolitan areas, and explained that metropolitan areas are leading the country in getting back to the basics of economics as well as leading in transportation, manufacturing, applied sciences, immigration, and innovation. According to Katz, cities and metro regions can start their revolution by establishing networks, setting a vision, and finding their game-changer.

The Medical Mile

Brian Harris, CEO of H&H Metal Source in Grand Rapids, moderated a panel on the nationally acclaimed Grand Rapids Medical Mile, which includes Michigan State University Medical School, the Van Andel Institute, the Spectrum Health System, and a number of other noted health care and higher education institutions. The impressive panel of Grand Rapids CEOs discussed how it was important to bring together competitors and to foster an environment of “co-opetition” (competition + cooperation). The game changer for the medical mile was the unique collaboration of competing organizations.

Tony Hsieh

For our midday keynote, we traveled to the JW Marriott hotel to hear Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, speak at a luncheon held in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Economic Club. Hsieh explained that company culture is Zappos’ number one priority and discussed ways that Zappos is working to integrate their new corporate headquarters – located in the old Las Vegas City Hall building – with the downtown Las Vegas community. Hsieh’s Downtown Project, a $350 million privately funded investment in downtown Las Vegas, focuses on a “Return on Community”, rather than the typical real estate investment goal of Return on Investment. Tony was joined by his colleagues Fred Mossler and Zach Ware, and together they noted that they are forfeiting short-term profits, and are instead focused on Collisions, Community, and Co-Learning. The Downtown Project’s ingredients for success include a density of 100 residents per acre, street-level activity, and culture of creativity, openness, and optimism.

Walking Tours; Governor Snyder; The Role of Art in Public Places

After lunch, we split into separate groups for walking tours of GRid70, Grand Valley State University’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Haworth | Interphase @ MoDiv, and Start Garden.

To close day one, we gathered at the Grand Rapids Public Museum for a reception, special remarks from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and a panel on the Role of Art in Public Places. Welcoming the meeting attendees to the state of Michigan, Governor Snyder stated, “You're here at a fascinating moment in our history", before describing the progress Michigan has made since the hit of the national recession and noting the rejuvenating power ArtPrize has had on the Grand Rapids economy and downtown culture.

Following Governor Snyder’s remarks was a panel composed of national leaders in the arts: Michael Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Kemi Ilesanmi, Executive Director of New York City’s The Laundromat Project, and Rick DeVos, the Founder of Grand Rapid’s ArtPrize. The panel, moderated by Jim Hackett, CEO of Steelcase Corporation, explored how art can catalyze community engagement, empower individuals, and serve as an important educational tool. The panelists noted that it is in cities’ best interests to incorporate art in public places because communities with prevalent arts cultures are often the most thriving and competitive. 

Tuesday, October 1

On Tuesday, October 1, day two of the conference began with welcoming remarks by Bob Milbourne and Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, CEOs for Cities Board members, and special remarks by Doug DeVos, President of Amway Corporation.

Joe Cortright- the Green Dividend

Joe Cortright unveiled The Green Dividend™, the latest research report from CEOs for Cities. The Green Dividend Report quantifies a net economic impact of $31-billion for the US economy for reducing vehicle miles travelled by only one mile per day. Additionally, Cortright explained how market forces are already encouraging people to drive fewer miles due to increased gas prices and an increased appeal to living in cities.

Anil Menon

Anil Menon, President of Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities, shared a global perspective on cities during his Tuesday morning’s keynote presentation. Menon noted that by 2050 there will be big changes in the world: China will be the largest economy, the U.S. will be down 30%, and many European countries will drop out of the top ten globally. Furthermore, there will be a proliferation of mega-cities (cities with a population greater than 10 million). Menon explained that the U.S. will have to establish new different business models in order to remain competitive and adapt to the changing times. He indicated that we must utilize technology and implement key digital infrastructure changes to the way people work, live, and play. Menon’s concluding message was that that innovation happens when you bring multiple disciplines together and challenge them to solve a problem.

The Lightning Round

Brian Boyle, Issue Media Group, moderated a lightning round panel of presentations highlighting innovative work in seven different American cities. Meg Fitz, Greater Des Moines Partnership, discussed the Capital Crossroads’ plan to make Des Moines the healthiest city/region in the nation by focusing on sustainability and wellness. Phillip Cooley, founder of Ponyride in Detroit, discussed his work in hiring the homeless. Erin Flynn, Portland State University, described Electric Avenue, a public-private partnership in downtown Portland that examined charging patterns and the behavior of electric car drivers. Karen Gahl-Mills, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, described how the arts and culture community of Cleveland is using imagination as a community development tool. Tim Maloney, Haile/US Bank Foundation, and Dan Reynolds, Landor Associates, shared how they are using public art to illuminate community needs in Cincinnati. Chris Muller, M Retail Solutions, shared efforts of bringing the rapids back to Grand Rapids. And Jessica Zenk, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, discussed how they are harnessing the arts to make transportation systems more appealing for pedestrians.

The Power of Place

Brian Payne, CEO of the Indianapolis Foundation and Central Indiana Community Foundation and CEOs for Cities Board member, moderated a panel about the power of place, which focused on how to redesign, rebuild, and revitalize cities. Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties, discussed how their developments have used artistic sidewalks to combat under lit streets, foliage to hide parking structures, and public art walls to create a vibrant sense of place, and Dick DeVos, CEO of The Windquest Group, discussed how the Grand Vision nonprofit organization he helped found has worked to attract and retain talent in Grand Rapids.

City Changemaker Awards

Six dynamic city leaders were honored as the first ever group of "City Changemakers." This year's awardees included Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Mark Rosenberg, President of Florida International University, Olga Stella of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and Jim Walker, founder of Big Car. Each individual was nominated based on their innovative leadership in making their cities more vibrant, sustainable, and economically competitive. In a panel discussion moderated by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, each of the panelists highlighted the positive change occurring in his/her city.

Mayor Michael Nutter

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter gave the meeting’s closing keynote presentation, and spoke eloquently about Philadelphia’s efforts to balance the city budget and provide low-cost access to services through public-private partnerships. Mayor Nutter also discussed his efforts in developing a skilled and talented workforce.

Smart Cities and the Internet of Everything

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The Foundation for Delivering Next-Generation Citizen Services

Recently our friends from Cisco's Smart+Connected Communities Initiative sent us an an IDC-authored Citizen Services White Paper. white paper focuses on challenges faced by Cities, Smart Cities Maturity model, how a city can begin and sustain smart cities journey and finally what are the concrete next steps that cities can take. It includes cases studies from Barcelona, Songdo and Lake Nona – 3 of our 9 iconic S+CC Initiatives. The paper is geared towards heads of state, governors, Mayors, CIOs and Line of Business leaders. We hope you find the white paper as compelling and informative as we do.

Executive Summary

Smart Cities are a dynamic 21st century approach to transforming, improving and revitalizing municipalities.

The vision of Smart Cities is quickly becoming a reality as urban centers around the world look to create communities that become the places where people want to live, learn and play and where businesses seek to invest. Smart Cities like Songdo, Barcelona and Lake Nona, described in this paper, use information technology, network communications including the Internet, and sensors to automate routine processes plus provide rapid and intelligent decision-­‐making for creating dramatic efficiencies and cost savings in existing functions and processes. Smart Cities connect governments much more closely to people. They provide the support infrastructure to deliver new services, and address a wide range of urban challenges – from environmental sustainability to job creation and economic growth.

Municipal leaders, politicians, civic planners and other key stakeholders in information technology organizations that support cities need to understand the value of Smart Cities and how they can play a part in helping urban centers realize this exciting vision. The transformation to Smart Cities is underway and is no longer a question of “if.” It is a matter of “when.”

The transformation to Smart Cities requires an ecosystem that brings both existing and new partners together to unlock the tremendous value that emerges from connecting people, processes, data and things. Smart cities form public private partnerships to manage and finance complex projects that bring together best in class infrastructure and technology architectures in an ICT Master plan. This white paper is intended to provide deeper understanding of the Smart-­‐City vision, offer context of the importance and value it will bring to its stakeholders, and suggest a roadmap for how to create a Smart‐City evolution plan. It has been authored for Cisco Systems, Inc. by global advisory services provider International Data Corporation (IDC), a renowned and leading information and communications technology market research company. The discussion in this white paper includes:

  • Trends driving Smart City growth,
  • The role of the Internet of Everything in building the foundation for Smart City evolution,
  • IDC's maturity model that assesses stages of Smart City development,
  • Key factors that will shape and build the Smart City reality,
  • Case studies of current major urban centers that have embarked on the Smart City journey, and,
  • Key takeaways and recommendations for municipal leaders to help them in their effort to transform urban centers into the Smart Cities of tomorrow

Cities around the world are at a crossroad, seeking to navigate a direction for the future. The Smart City vision offers a path towards building better communities and creating urban centers that work efficiently, effectively and productively. This white paper offers insights, perspectives and essential guidance to those municipal leaders who will play a vital role in leading cities along that journey.

IDC White Paper - Smart Cities and the Internet of Things

The Smartest Cities in America

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With 40 million users from 180 countries, Lumosity is the leading online brain training program designed to improve core cognitive abilities such as memory, attention and fluid intelligence. Based on the science of neuroplasticity and personalized for each user, Lumosity training enables users to remember more, think faster, and perform better at work, school, and in everyday life.

This year Lumosity analyzed user data to determine the smartest cities in America. The study involved 3,385,648 people between the ages of 15-85 who had participated in all 5 cognitive training exercises: Speed, Memory, Attention, Flexibility, Problem Solving. The results are grouped into Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSA), which are urban centers combined with adjacent areas that are socioeconomically tied to them through commuting.


Source: CollegeDegreeSearch.net

The Bicycle: The Simple Tool for 21st Century Urban Sustainability

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Authored by Christopher Berggren

As Americans grapple with a wide range of societal problems like obesity and other health issues, traffic gridlock and reduced family time, and socially isolated city-centers, we might stop to ask how we got this way and how we can change. Having lived in Europe for three months last summer, I can speak for other Americans who have traveled to other locales and marveled at the high quality of living in those places – especially compared to the automobile-dependant, lifeless cities of the U.S. How we got to be a largely car-dependant, unhealthy society has to do with the early surrender of our cities to cars without the balancing mechanism of maintaining our streetcar and bicycle modes, which had been prominent in nearly all American towns of more than 10,000 people up until the 1930’s. Today, several European cities, most notably Amsterdam and Copenhagen, have become models in the utilization of the simple bicycle as a major tool in the restoring of transportation balance and sustainability to their urban fabrics.

 

Economic Impact of the Bike and Health Benefits

In Denmark, tax-payer funded universal health care has spurred promotion and investment in bike usage, since the health benefits of bike usage are well known and accepted. One study found a 30% reduction in mortality among adults who commute to work by bicycle. The city of Copenhagen estimates that $100 million is saved annually through health care savings, which doesn’t even take into account societal gains from increased productivity from a healthier work force, with additional savings from less road maintenance and congestion. In Copenhagen, the cost of building grade-separated bikeways is about $2 million per mile per side, which is fully paid for in five years: the city’s economic impact study estimates that every mile cycled yields a net gain for society of 21 cents, compared to a net loss of 12 cents per mile driven by car. These figures include both savings in the public sector and the rise in private sector economic activity.

 

Bicycle Commuting and Urban Sustainability

Today, more people bike to work in greater Copenhagen than in the whole of the United States, with commuters riding an average of 3 ½ miles each way. Over the past 30 years, the city of Copenhagen has gradually removed car-parking and road space, effectively clearing the way for bike infrastructure. In the Netherlands, where the culture of the bicycle is perhaps the most inclusive of any country in the world, there is a public-private organization called the Dutch Cycling Embassy that capitalizes on the acclaimed Dutch model of urban transportation. It promotes urban mobility to business and government leaders from around the world, who are concerned because of urbanization and the need to revitalize cities, and the necessity of sustainability in transit solutions. The Dutch have first-hand experience of the bikes’ direct contribution to better health and urban livability, road safety, cleaner air, improved traffic flow, decreased social isolation, and an improved economy.

 

Marketing the Bicycle as a Viable Form of Transit

Here in America, making the bike a viable form of transit by building infrastructure conforming to code involves recasting bicycle users as regular citizens, as opposed to “cyclists’, who are seen as composing a sub-culture. The Danish consulting firm Copenhagenize advises cities on how to bring about positive imaging of bikes and urban mobility through behavior and marketing campaigns, and their very name stands for the concept of making cities more livable through the development of “complete streets” - which happens to be the name of an American non-profit organization and movement – itself responsible for some gains in U.S. cities.

 

Improving the Urban Fabric and Restoring Downtown Vitality

As our cities struggle with declining state and federal funds, empty sidewalks, and questions of how and where to best accommodate new growth, leaders are beginning to look for models for sustainable development. For value-driven solutions, they need look no further than the popular tourist centers of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Like many U.S. cities, these cities have a limited land mass in which they can effectively grow. And while numerous cities here in the U.S. have large areas in which to accommodate future growth, in reality they can only achieve long-term vitality by centering development within existing, built-up areas. Today’s singles and young families desire meaningful town life that allows them to walk or bike on safe paths through downtowns stocked with shops, entertainment, and urban amenities. As the Dutch and Danish urban models have demonstrated, substantial numbers of people would ride bikes routinely if proper and extensive tracks were incorporated into our cities. The simple bike can unlock the door to smart-growth in America, without compromising our love affair with cars.

--

Christopher Berggren is a first-time contributor to CEOs For Cities, and is an urban photographer and blogger focusing on civic amenities that make cities livable as well as socially and economically sustainable. He recently completed research projects in Copenhagen and Stockholm, interviewing local leaders and studying the features of planning that make these among the most visited and ecologically advanced cities in the world. He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and his photography and commentary can be found at his Planning Photography website. His work has been published by The Urban Times, This Big City, Better Cities and Towns, The Sustainable Cities Collective, and the Congress of New Urbanism. He divides his time between San Diego and New York and accepts assignment work.

 

The Bicycle: The Simple Tool for 21st Century Urban Sustainability

0
0

Authored by Christopher Berggren

As Americans grapple with a wide range of societal problems like obesity and other health issues, traffic gridlock and reduced family time, and socially isolated city-centers, we might stop to ask how we got this way and how we can change. Having lived in Europe for three months last summer, I can speak for other Americans who have traveled to other locales and marveled at the high quality of living in those places – especially compared to the automobile-dependant, lifeless cities of the U.S. How we got to be a largely car-dependant, unhealthy society has to do with the early surrender of our cities to cars without the balancing mechanism of maintaining our streetcar and bicycle modes, which had been prominent in nearly all American towns of more than 10,000 people up until the 1930’s. Today, several European cities, most notably Amsterdam and Copenhagen, have become models in the utilization of the simple bicycle as a major tool in the restoring of transportation balance and sustainability to their urban fabrics.

Economic Impact of the Bike and Health Benefits

In Denmark, tax-payer funded universal health care has spurred promotion and investment in bike usage, since the health benefits of bike usage are well known and accepted. One study found a 30% reduction in mortality among adults who commute to work by bicycle. The city of Copenhagen estimates that $100 million is saved annually through health care savings, which doesn’t even take into account societal gains from increased productivity from a healthier work force, with additional savings from less road maintenance and congestion. In Copenhagen, the cost of building grade-separated bikeways is about $2 million per mile per side, which is fully paid for in five years: the city’s economic impact study estimates that every mile cycled yields a net gain for society of 21 cents, compared to a net loss of 12 cents per mile driven by car. These figures include both savings in the public sector and the rise in private sector economic activity.

Bicycle Commuting and Urban Sustainability

Today, more people bike to work in greater Copenhagen than in the whole of the United States, with commuters riding an average of 3 ½ miles each way. Over the past 30 years, the city of Copenhagen has gradually removed car-parking and road space, effectively clearing the way for bike infrastructure. In the Netherlands, where the culture of the bicycle is perhaps the most inclusive of any country in the world, there is a public-private organization called the Dutch Cycling Embassy that capitalizes on the acclaimed Dutch model of urban transportation. It promotes urban mobility to business and government leaders from around the world, who are concerned because of urbanization and the need to revitalize cities, and the necessity of sustainability in transit solutions. The Dutch have first-hand experience of the bikes’ direct contribution to better health and urban livability, road safety, cleaner air, improved traffic flow, decreased social isolation, and an improved economy.

Marketing the Bicycle as a Viable Form of Transit

Here in America, making the bike a viable form of transit by building infrastructure conforming to code involves recasting bicycle users as regular citizens, as opposed to “cyclists’, who are seen as composing a sub-culture. The Danish consulting firm Copenhagenize advises cities on how to bring about positive imaging of bikes and urban mobility through behavior and marketing campaigns, and their very name stands for the concept of making cities more livable through the development of “complete streets” - which happens to be the name of an American non-profit organization and movement – itself responsible for some gains in U.S. cities.

Improving the Urban Fabric and Restoring Downtown Vitality

As our cities struggle with declining state and federal funds, empty sidewalks, and questions of how and where to best accommodate new growth, leaders are beginning to look for models for sustainable development. For value-driven solutions, they need look no further than the popular tourist centers of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Like many U.S. cities, these cities have a limited land mass in which they can effectively grow. And while numerous cities here in the U.S. have large areas in which to accommodate future growth, in reality they can only achieve long-term vitality by centering development within existing, built-up areas. Today’s singles and young families desire meaningful town life that allows them to walk or bike on safe paths through downtowns stocked with shops, entertainment, and urban amenities. As the Dutch and Danish urban models have demonstrated, substantial numbers of people would ride bikes routinely if proper and extensive tracks were incorporated into our cities. The simple bike can unlock the door to smart-growth in America, without compromising our love affair with cars.

--

Christopher Berggren is a first-time contributor to CEOs For Cities, and is an urban photographer and blogger focusing on civic amenities that make cities livable as well as socially and economically sustainable. He recently completed research projects in Copenhagen and Stockholm, interviewing local leaders and studying the features of planning that make these among the most visited and ecologically advanced cities in the world. He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and his photography and commentary can be found at his Planning Photography website. His work has been published by The Urban Times, This Big City, Better Cities and Towns, The Sustainable Cities Collective, and the Congress of New Urbanism. He divides his time between San Diego and New York and accepts assignment work.

 

Call for Presentations: Historic Preservation in America’s Legacy Cities

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Historic Preservation in America’s Legacy Cities
An Interdisciplinary Convening Hosted by
The Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and
The Cleveland Restoration Society

June 5-7, 2014
Cleveland, Ohio

Call for Presentations

The Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and the Cleveland Restoration Society are convening an interdisciplinary meeting to discuss the role of historic preservation in revitalizing America’s legacy cities, where long-term population loss and economic decline present significant challenges for the future of the urban built environment. These cities have significant cultural heritage and a large stock of historic buildings, yet vacancy and abandonment are very pressing realities and, at times, demolition may be the best course of action.

At this crucial juncture, cities face difficult questions. What is the role that preservation can and should play in shaping the future of legacy cities? How can historic assets be identified and leveraged for planning and revitalization? What benefits and impediments exist in integrating preservation into community and economic development? How should we make decisions about what to save and what to destroy? This convening will be an opportunity to collaborate, share ideas, and devise solutions, with the goals of launching a more integrated approach to planning for the future of legacy cities, bringing preservation into urban policymaking, and crafting a 21st-century preservation profession that is responsive to current needs and conditions.

We invite policymakers, community leaders, practitioners, and scholars from a range of fields, including urban planning and design, community and economic development, urban policy, and historic preservation.  The convening will take place at the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University from Thursday, June 5 through Saturday, June 7, 2014, and will include a mix of speaker sessions, roundtable discussions and local tours.

Proposals are invited on any topic that addresses the role of historic preservation in America’s legacy cities. Potential topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • Case studies of innovative projects, policies, or programs that leverage and/or incorporate historic resources
  • Synergies and tensions between preservation and legacy city planning and development
  • Partnerships between public, private, nonprofit, and/or community actors
  • The role of preservation in community and/or economic development
  • Preservation and rightsizing policies at the local, state, and/or federal levels
  • Decision-making around demolition and targeted reinvestment
  • The role of non-governmental (or quasi-governmental) actors in shaping and revitalizing historic cities and neighborhoods (e.g., community development corporations, land banks)

Proposals can be for individual presentations or entire sessions. The program committee will organize individual proposals into sessions of 3-5 speakers, with presenters having about 15 minutes each. Session proposals should similarly include 3-5 speakers.

Please send all proposals in either Word or PDF format to LegacyCityPreservation@gmail.com. All of the following information must be included:

  • Session title (if a session proposal)
  • Individual presentation title(s)
  • A one-page (about 300 words) description of the proposed presentation or session
  • Name, contact information (address, email, phone), and a brief bio (100 words) for each speaker. For session proposals, all speakers must be confirmed prior to proposal submission.

Deadline for proposal submission: February 1, 2014.

You will be notified if your proposal has been accepted by March 15, 2014.

Presenters are required to register for the convening. Any presenter not registered by May 15, 2014, will be dropped from the program.All presenters are responsible for their own registration fees, travel, lodging, and expenses. Information on registration fees and hotel rates will be available in early 2014.

For more information, visit urban.csuohio.edu/conference/LegacyCityPreservation or find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LegacyCityPreservation.

Questions may be sent to LegacyCityPreservation@gmail.com or to Dr. Stephanie Ryberg-Webster at: s.ryberg@csuohio.edu.

Convening Cosponsors:

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

American Planning Association, Ohio Chapter

The American Assembly

Baltimore Heritage

Center for Community Progress

CEOs for Cities

Cincinnati Preservation Association

City Beautiful

City of Cleveland Landmarks Commission

Councilman Jeffrey Johnson, City of Cleveland

Cleveland Construction

Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative

Greater Ohio Policy Center

Heritage Ohio

Michigan Historic Preservation Network

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation

PlaceEconomics

Preservation Alliance of Greater Akron

Preservation Buffalo Niagara

Preservation Dayton

Preservation Detroit

Preservation Rightsizing Network

Sandvick Architects

Smart Growth America

Urban Land Institute – Cleveland

US ICOMOS


 

Homeless for the Holidays

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Authored by Andre Shashaty

1.17 million school kids have no home, U.S. says.

Most Americans will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in the comfort of their own home. But for more than 1.17 million children, that won't be possible because they have no home, according to the U.S. Department of Education (DE).

That count is from the 2011-2012 school year, and reflects a 10 percent increase from the 2010‐2011 school year total of 1,065,794. The states with the largest numbers of homeless students were California, New York. Texas, and Florida.

"The DE figures are a shocking reminder of the intense shortage of decent affordable housing in our country, and the consequences it has for our children," said Andre Shashaty, president of Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a national nonprofit education and advocacy group. Shashaty is also the author of the forthcoming book, Death of a Dream: The end of 50 years of progress for cities and the rise of the new American slum.

The actual total number of homeless children is probably closer to 1.7 million, Shashaty said. This is an estimate that is based on adding to DE figures kids who are homeless but not of school age or who are not enrolled in public schools. 

In 2010, the total was at least 1.6 million, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness. That was a 33 percent increase from 2007, when there were 1.2 million homeless children, the center said.

The data shows that homelessness among children has been increasing steadily on a national basis, and has increased dramatically in some states. DE said homelessness among students increased 13 percent from the 2009-2010 school year to the 2010-2011 year.

Forty-three states reported increases in the total number of homeless children and youths enrolled in public and charter schools in the 2011-2012 school year.

Ten states reported increases of 20 percent or more in the number of homeless students that year.  They are Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.

Just a few weeks after the DE data came out; the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development released data that claims there were only 610,042 homeless people in 2013.  In other words, while DE says there were 1.17 million homeless children enrolled in school, a different federal agency says there are only 610,000 homeless people of all ages.

"If you are wondering what gives, you're not alone. The answer is that HUD does not count people as homeless if they are sharing someone else's living quarters or living in a motel that is not paid for by a government agency," Shashaty said.  "Nor does it admit such people to the network of homeless shelters it operates unless they can prove their situation is temporary."

HUD only counts as homeless the people who were living in HUD-funded shelters or in the open and were willing to talk to volunteer survey workers on a single night in January when HUD does a "point-in-time" count.  The fact that it is done in January each year guarantees a low count.

DE works harder to identify as many homeless students as possible because it is required by law to see that every child gets a good education, even those with no stable place to call home. School districts count a student as homeless if he or she is "sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement."

"HUD refers to people who are sharing someone else's home as being 'doubled up,' as if it were a relatively minor inconvenience for them. That is a deception that gives Congress an excuse to ignore housing problems and condemns children to a very hard life," Shashaty said.

"Having a roof over one's head temporarily is not the same as having a home, especially for children.  These arrangements lack any shred of security or stability, making it hard for kids to stay safe, let alone have success in school," Shashaty said.

Doubling up usually involves a poor family living with people who are just as poor but have a lease, creating enormous overcrowding and stress. Shared living quarters and motels often don't offer use of a kitchen or easy access to a bathroom, and privacy is nonexistent.

For more details on homelessness in America and other issues in affordable housing and community sustainability, go to www.p4sc.org. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to educating policymakers and the public about housing and community development problems and solutions, all with the goal of long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability. It depends on donations and membership dues to do its work. Get details at www.p4sc.org. Or call 415-453-2100 x 302.

***

Andre Shashaty is a writer, editor and publisher known for his expertise on housing, urban policy, sustainable communities, and real estate. He has successfully launched, operated, and sold a publishing business; directed two national nonprofit groups; published hundreds of articles in magazines and newspapers; and been a leading advocate for affordable housing.

Shashaty is president of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a nonprofit education and advocacy group based in San Rafael, CA.

From 1992 to 2008, he edited Affordable Housing Finance magazine, establishing it as the most authoritative journal on housing and community development in the U.S.He was owner and publisher of this and other periodicals and conferences, which he sold in 2006 to Hanley Wood.

Shashaty wrote hundreds of articles and commentaries that established him as a thought leader in the housing and community development field. In 2005, he received an award from the National Association of Home Builders for his work.

In 2008, Shashaty received national media attention and won multiple awards, including a Neal Award from American Business Media, for a series of articles about corruption at the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the G.W. Bush Administration.   

In the 1980s, Shashaty broke a story about influence peddling in the federal Sec. 8 housing subsidy program that was picked up in national print and broadcast media, and which lead to the prosecution of several Reagan-era officials at HUD.

In 2002, Shashaty founded and directed The Campaign for Affordable Housing (TCAH), a nonprofit group organized to promote greater public acceptance of affordable housing.  

Shashaty has written hundreds of articles about housing and community development. His free-lance work has appeared in The New York Times, Better Homes & Gardens, The Washington Post, and many other publications.  

He wrote a book on seniors housing which was published by the Home Builder Press in 1990.

Earlier in his career, Shashaty was editor-in-chief of Commercial Property News and held several senior editorial positions for other periodicals.

Engagement Through Arts

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Ideas, connections and innovation are the ultimate resources in today’s world. Figuring out how we can facilitate these very things to bolster the cultural and creative capital of a city is critical. At our upcoming National Meeting in Grand Rapids, we will hear firsthand examples of creative solutions that utilize art and artists to engage citizens in creative dialogue:Jim Walker will discuss how Big Car utilizes socially engaged art in Indianapolis, Phil Cooleywill discuss the 30,000 square-foot warehouse, Ponyride, in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, and Kemi Ilesanmi will share how The Laundromat Project offers arts-education in underserved communities.Read more about these fascinating organizations.

Who:Big Car

What: Big Car is a grassroots nonprofit arts organization with a collective of artists, writers, musicians, and active citizens who work together on projects and programs in the Indianapolis community. . . . Their mission is to “bring art to people and people to art” by facilitating artistic ideas, and simultaneously increasing livability and creativity in communities. . . .

How: Through cultural organization and engagement-based arts programming, including performances, games, exhibitions, and events, Big Car brings together people of all backgrounds in local Indiana communities to inspire creativity and activate public spaces. . . . Big Car collaborates with local residents and stakeholders by forming partnerships in order to build social capital and encourage civically engaged communities. . . .

Why you should know about Big Car:Big Car utilizes “social practice art,” or socially engaged art. . . . Social practice art is unique; individuals that may not necessarily define themselves as artists become directly involved in the process of art, building connections and empathy among participants. . . . The organization focuses on people and process rather than products. . . . Their events begin with identifying particular issues and concerns; artists then connect with participants by brainstorming creative approaches and solutions to address the issues and concerns. . . . Their projects engage whole communities in planning and creating community-building projects, bridging the gap between art institutions and residents. They opened the Service Center, a “grassroots hub for art, culture, education, and health,” in the Lafayette Square neighborhood in 2011. . . . Local arts and community groups use the space for performances and activities. . . .


Who: Ponyride

What:Ponyride is a multiple-use space in a 30,000 square-foot warehouse in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. . . . This space houses around 40 small companies and community projects and serves as a study to see the potential positive impact the foreclosure crisis can have. . . .

How:Ponyride provides cheap space, $0.10-$0.20 per square-foot, for “socially-conscious” artists and entrepreneurs to work and share knowledge, resources and networks. . . . This space remains cheap because of the consistent flow of community support and resources. . . . Tenants have the opportunity and resources to produce, create, and educate community members in creative and innovative ways.

Why you should know about Ponyride:Artists and entrepreneurs that find home in Ponyride serve members of Detroit communities through various activities and workshops. . . . Living in a collaborative space allows for shared resources and knowledge, which helps to build a creative community in spite of Detroit’s struggles. . . . The opportunities Ponyride’s tenants offer are referred to as “education;” Community members can partake in weekly activities including figure drawing, dance workshops, sewing tutorials, yoga, and even a class to learn about the process of cultivating coffee. . . .


Who: The Laundromat Project

What:The Laundromat Project is a community-based, non-profit arts organization in New York City that offers arts-education in underserved communities that would otherwise not have the opportunity due to income, age, or background. . . .

How: The organization is committed to remedying social inequities, raising the quality of life, and fostering vibrant communities and vibrant economies through art and creativity. . . . To do so, the organization brings art workshops and program to the local Laundromat, where the community members already are. . . .

Why you should know about the Laundromat Project: The communities that the Laundromat Project focuses on are communities that do not have access to art and cultural facilities, so the organization’s workshops and programs focus on increasing the accessibility of art and culture for everyone. . . . The Laundromat Project also offers professional development opportunities for artists within these communities, encouraging artists to develop public art in their neighborhoods. . . . One of the Laundromat Project’s public art programs is Works in Progress (WiP),   which brings free, hands-on workshops and programs to local Laundromats and community spaces during summers. . . . In the long-run, the Laundromat Project envisions owning and operating an art center attached to a Laundromat with space for artists to create and foster collaborative public art practices for whole communities. . . .

***

Jenna Chilingerian is a CEOs for Cities Summer Success Fellow. Jenna is a Fresno, California native and recent graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.  Jenna received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Civic Engagement, and earned both College Honors and Summa Cum Laude Latin Honors.  She recently moved to Cleveland, Ohio to complete a summer City Success Fellowship with CEOs for Cities.

2013 National Meeting

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2013 National Meeting Summary
Grand Rapids, MI | Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2013

CEOs for Cities’ 2013 National Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan gathered over 320 cross-sector civic CEOs and changemakers from over 80 cities to explore the theme, “The Art of the Collaborative City.”  It was the largest National Meeting in CEOs for Cities history, exceeding the record attendance of over 250 in Boston in 2012.

This year’s conference explored the intersection of the private, public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors and the intersection of art, design, talent, and place to catalyze city success. We used ArtPrize, the internationally acclaimed art competition that Time Magazine listed in its "Five Festive Events You Won't Want to Miss in 2013," as our canvas, to help our business, community, foundation, and government leaders explore the smart practices that are helping American cities grow in investments, talent, and quality of life.

Program Overview

Sunday, September 29

We kicked off the conference on September 29, 2013 with a reception at the Reserve Wine & Food. During the reception, attendees heard remarks from Lee Fisher, President and CEO, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, CEOs for Cities Board Chair, and Kathleen McIntyre, Ford Motor Company Fund.

Monday, September 30

Monday, September 30, began with welcoming remarks from Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell and Jerry Tubergen, CEO of RDV Corporation and unveiling of a compelling new video about Grand Rapids.

Bruce Katz

Bruce Katz followed with a keynote presentation on the Metropolitan Revolution. Katz detailed how the country’s 388 metropolitan regions account for 91% of the GDP, with the largest share coming from the top 100 metropolitan areas, and explained that metropolitan areas are leading the country in getting back to the basics of economics as well as leading in transportation, manufacturing, applied sciences, immigration, and innovation. According to Katz, cities and metro regions can start their revolution by establishing networks, setting a vision, and finding their game-changer.

The Medical Mile

Brian Harris, CEO of H&H Metal Source in Grand Rapids, moderated a panel on the nationally acclaimed Grand Rapids Medical Mile, which includes Michigan State University Medical School, the Van Andel Institute, the Spectrum Health System, and a number of other noted health care and higher education institutions. The impressive panel of Grand Rapids CEOs discussed how it was important to bring together competitors and to foster an environment of “co-opetition” (competition + cooperation). The game changer for the medical mile was the unique collaboration of competing organizations.

Tony Hsieh

For our midday keynote, we traveled to the JW Marriott hotel to hear Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, speak at a luncheon held in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Economic Club. Hsieh explained that company culture is Zappos’ number one priority and discussed ways that Zappos is working to integrate their new corporate headquarters – located in the old Las Vegas City Hall building – with the downtown Las Vegas community. Hsieh’s Downtown Project, a $350 million privately funded investment in downtown Las Vegas, focuses on a “Return on Community”, rather than the typical real estate investment goal of Return on Investment. Tony was joined by his colleagues Fred Mossler and Zach Ware, and together they noted that they are forfeiting short-term profits, and are instead focused on Collisions, Community, and Co-Learning. The Downtown Project’s ingredients for success include a density of 100 residents per acre, street-level activity, and culture of creativity, openness, and optimism.

Walking Tours; Governor Snyder; The Role of Art in Public Places

After lunch, we split into separate groups for walking tours of GRid70, Grand Valley State University’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Haworth | Interphase @ MoDiv, and Start Garden.

To close day one, we gathered at the Grand Rapids Public Museum for a reception, special remarks from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and a panel on the Role of Art in Public Places. Welcoming the meeting attendees to the state of Michigan, Governor Snyder stated, “You're here at a fascinating moment in our history", before describing the progress Michigan has made since the hit of the national recession and noting the rejuvenating power ArtPrize has had on the Grand Rapids economy and downtown culture.

Following Governor Snyder’s remarks was a panel composed of national leaders in the arts: Michael Kaiser, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Kemi Ilesanmi, Executive Director of New York City’s The Laundromat Project, and Rick DeVos, the Founder of Grand Rapid’s ArtPrize. The panel, moderated by Jim Hackett, CEO of Steelcase Corporation, explored how art can catalyze community engagement, empower individuals, and serve as an important educational tool. The panelists noted that it is in cities’ best interests to incorporate art in public places because communities with prevalent arts cultures are often the most thriving and competitive. 

Tuesday, October 1

On Tuesday, October 1, day two of the conference began with welcoming remarks by Bob Milbourne and Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, CEOs for Cities Board members, and special remarks by Doug DeVos, President of Amway Corporation.

Joe Cortright- the Green Dividend

Joe Cortright unveiled The Green Dividend™, the latest research report from CEOs for Cities. The Green Dividend Report quantifies a net economic impact of $31-billion for the US economy for reducing vehicle miles travelled by only one mile per day. Additionally, Cortright explained how market forces are already encouraging people to drive fewer miles due to increased gas prices and an increased appeal to living in cities.

Anil Menon

Anil Menon, President of Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities, shared a global perspective on cities during his Tuesday morning’s keynote presentation. Menon noted that by 2050 there will be big changes in the world: China will be the largest economy, the U.S. will be down 30%, and many European countries will drop out of the top ten globally. Furthermore, there will be a proliferation of mega-cities (cities with a population greater than 10 million). Menon explained that the U.S. will have to establish new different business models in order to remain competitive and adapt to the changing times. He indicated that we must utilize technology and implement key digital infrastructure changes to the way people work, live, and play. Menon’s concluding message was that that innovation happens when you bring multiple disciplines together and challenge them to solve a problem.

The Lightning Round

Brian Boyle, Issue Media Group, moderated a lightning round panel of presentations highlighting innovative work in seven different American cities. Meg Fitz, Greater Des Moines Partnership, discussed the Capital Crossroads’ plan to make Des Moines the healthiest city/region in the nation by focusing on sustainability and wellness. Phillip Cooley, founder of Ponyride in Detroit, discussed his work in hiring the homeless. Erin Flynn, Portland State University, described Electric Avenue, a public-private partnership in downtown Portland that examined charging patterns and the behavior of electric car drivers. Karen Gahl-Mills, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, described how the arts and culture community of Cleveland is using imagination as a community development tool. Tim Maloney, Haile/US Bank Foundation, and Dan Reynolds, Landor Associates, shared how they are using public art to illuminate community needs in Cincinnati. Chris Muller, M Retail Solutions, shared efforts of bringing the rapids back to Grand Rapids. And Jessica Zenk, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, discussed how they are harnessing the arts to make transportation systems more appealing for pedestrians.

The Power of Place

Brian Payne, CEO of the Indianapolis Foundation and Central Indiana Community Foundation and CEOs for Cities Board member, moderated a panel about the power of place, which focused on how to redesign, rebuild, and revitalize cities. Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties, discussed how their developments have used artistic sidewalks to combat under lit streets, foliage to hide parking structures, and public art walls to create a vibrant sense of place, and Dick DeVos, CEO of The Windquest Group, discussed how the Grand Vision nonprofit organization he helped found has worked to attract and retain talent in Grand Rapids.

City Changemaker Awards

Six dynamic city leaders were honored as the first ever group of "City Changemakers." This year's awardees included Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Mark Rosenberg, President of Florida International University, Olga Stella of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and Jim Walker, founder of Big Car. Each individual was nominated based on their innovative leadership in making their cities more vibrant, sustainable, and economically competitive. In a panel discussion moderated by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, each of the panelists highlighted the positive change occurring in his/her city.

Mayor Michael Nutter

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter gave the meeting’s closing keynote presentation, and spoke eloquently about Philadelphia’s efforts to balance the city budget and provide low-cost access to services through public-private partnerships. Mayor Nutter also discussed his efforts in developing a skilled and talented workforce.

The Bicycle: The Simple Tool for 21st Century Urban Sustainability

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Authored by Christopher Berggren

As Americans grapple with a wide range of societal problems like obesity and other health issues, traffic gridlock and reduced family time, and socially isolated city-centers, we might stop to ask how we got this way and how we can change. Having lived in Europe for three months last summer, I can speak for other Americans who have traveled to other locales and marveled at the high quality of living in those places – especially compared to the automobile-dependant, lifeless cities of the U.S. How we got to be a largely car-dependant, unhealthy society has to do with the early surrender of our cities to cars without the balancing mechanism of maintaining our streetcar and bicycle modes, which had been prominent in nearly all American towns of more than 10,000 people up until the 1930’s. Today, several European cities, most notably Amsterdam and Copenhagen, have become models in the utilization of the simple bicycle as a major tool in the restoring of transportation balance and sustainability to their urban fabrics.

Economic Impact of the Bike and Health Benefits

In Denmark, tax-payer funded universal health care has spurred promotion and investment in bike usage, since the health benefits of bike usage are well known and accepted. One study found a 30% reduction in mortality among adults who commute to work by bicycle. The city of Copenhagen estimates that $100 million is saved annually through health care savings, which doesn’t even take into account societal gains from increased productivity from a healthier work force, with additional savings from less road maintenance and congestion. In Copenhagen, the cost of building grade-separated bikeways is about $2 million per mile per side, which is fully paid for in five years: the city’s economic impact study estimates that every mile cycled yields a net gain for society of 21 cents, compared to a net loss of 12 cents per mile driven by car. These figures include both savings in the public sector and the rise in private sector economic activity.

Bicycle Commuting and Urban Sustainability

Today, more people bike to work in greater Copenhagen than in the whole of the United States, with commuters riding an average of 3 ½ miles each way. Over the past 30 years, the city of Copenhagen has gradually removed car-parking and road space, effectively clearing the way for bike infrastructure. In the Netherlands, where the culture of the bicycle is perhaps the most inclusive of any country in the world, there is a public-private organization called the Dutch Cycling Embassy that capitalizes on the acclaimed Dutch model of urban transportation. It promotes urban mobility to business and government leaders from around the world, who are concerned because of urbanization and the need to revitalize cities, and the necessity of sustainability in transit solutions. The Dutch have first-hand experience of the bikes’ direct contribution to better health and urban livability, road safety, cleaner air, improved traffic flow, decreased social isolation, and an improved economy.

Marketing the Bicycle as a Viable Form of Transit

Here in America, making the bike a viable form of transit by building infrastructure conforming to code involves recasting bicycle users as regular citizens, as opposed to “cyclists’, who are seen as composing a sub-culture. The Danish consulting firm Copenhagenize advises cities on how to bring about positive imaging of bikes and urban mobility through behavior and marketing campaigns, and their very name stands for the concept of making cities more livable through the development of “complete streets” - which happens to be the name of an American non-profit organization and movement – itself responsible for some gains in U.S. cities.

Improving the Urban Fabric and Restoring Downtown Vitality

As our cities struggle with declining state and federal funds, empty sidewalks, and questions of how and where to best accommodate new growth, leaders are beginning to look for models for sustainable development. For value-driven solutions, they need look no further than the popular tourist centers of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Like many U.S. cities, these cities have a limited land mass in which they can effectively grow. And while numerous cities here in the U.S. have large areas in which to accommodate future growth, in reality they can only achieve long-term vitality by centering development within existing, built-up areas. Today’s singles and young families desire meaningful town life that allows them to walk or bike on safe paths through downtowns stocked with shops, entertainment, and urban amenities. As the Dutch and Danish urban models have demonstrated, substantial numbers of people would ride bikes routinely if proper and extensive tracks were incorporated into our cities. The simple bike can unlock the door to smart-growth in America, without compromising our love affair with cars.

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Christopher Berggren is a first-time contributor to CEOs For Cities, and is an urban photographer and blogger focusing on civic amenities that make cities livable as well as socially and economically sustainable. He recently completed research projects in Copenhagen and Stockholm, interviewing local leaders and studying the features of planning that make these among the most visited and ecologically advanced cities in the world. He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and his photography and commentary can be found at his Planning Photography website. His work has been published by The Urban Times, This Big City, Better Cities and Towns, The Sustainable Cities Collective, and the Congress of New Urbanism. He divides his time between San Diego and New York and accepts assignment work.

 

Homeless for the Holidays

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Authored by Andre Shashaty

1.17 million school kids have no home, U.S. says.

Most Americans will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in the comfort of their own home. But for more than 1.17 million children, that won't be possible because they have no home, according to the U.S. Department of Education (DE).

That count is from the 2011-2012 school year, and reflects a 10 percent increase from the 2010‐2011 school year total of 1,065,794. The states with the largest numbers of homeless students were California, New York. Texas, and Florida.

"The DE figures are a shocking reminder of the intense shortage of decent affordable housing in our country, and the consequences it has for our children," said Andre Shashaty, president of Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a national nonprofit education and advocacy group. Shashaty is also the author of the forthcoming book, Death of a Dream: The end of 50 years of progress for cities and the rise of the new American slum.

The actual total number of homeless children is probably closer to 1.7 million, Shashaty said. This is an estimate that is based on adding to DE figures kids who are homeless but not of school age or who are not enrolled in public schools. 

In 2010, the total was at least 1.6 million, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness. That was a 33 percent increase from 2007, when there were 1.2 million homeless children, the center said.

The data shows that homelessness among children has been increasing steadily on a national basis, and has increased dramatically in some states. DE said homelessness among students increased 13 percent from the 2009-2010 school year to the 2010-2011 year.

Forty-three states reported increases in the total number of homeless children and youths enrolled in public and charter schools in the 2011-2012 school year.

Ten states reported increases of 20 percent or more in the number of homeless students that year.  They are Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.

Just a few weeks after the DE data came out; the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development released data that claims there were only 610,042 homeless people in 2013.  In other words, while DE says there were 1.17 million homeless children enrolled in school, a different federal agency says there are only 610,000 homeless people of all ages.

"If you are wondering what gives, you're not alone. The answer is that HUD does not count people as homeless if they are sharing someone else's living quarters or living in a motel that is not paid for by a government agency," Shashaty said.  "Nor does it admit such people to the network of homeless shelters it operates unless they can prove their situation is temporary."

HUD only counts as homeless the people who were living in HUD-funded shelters or in the open and were willing to talk to volunteer survey workers on a single night in January when HUD does a "point-in-time" count.  The fact that it is done in January each year guarantees a low count.

DE works harder to identify as many homeless students as possible because it is required by law to see that every child gets a good education, even those with no stable place to call home. School districts count a student as homeless if he or she is "sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement."

"HUD refers to people who are sharing someone else's home as being 'doubled up,' as if it were a relatively minor inconvenience for them. That is a deception that gives Congress an excuse to ignore housing problems and condemns children to a very hard life," Shashaty said.

"Having a roof over one's head temporarily is not the same as having a home, especially for children.  These arrangements lack any shred of security or stability, making it hard for kids to stay safe, let alone have success in school," Shashaty said.

Doubling up usually involves a poor family living with people who are just as poor but have a lease, creating enormous overcrowding and stress. Shared living quarters and motels often don't offer use of a kitchen or easy access to a bathroom, and privacy is nonexistent.

For more details on homelessness in America and other issues in affordable housing and community sustainability, go to www.p4sc.org. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to educating policymakers and the public about housing and community development problems and solutions, all with the goal of long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability. It depends on donations and membership dues to do its work. Get details at www.p4sc.org. Or call 415-453-2100 x 302.

***

Andre Shashaty is a writer, editor and publisher known for his expertise on housing, urban policy, sustainable communities, and real estate. He has successfully launched, operated, and sold a publishing business; directed two national nonprofit groups; published hundreds of articles in magazines and newspapers; and been a leading advocate for affordable housing.

Shashaty is president of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a nonprofit education and advocacy group based in San Rafael, CA.

From 1992 to 2008, he edited Affordable Housing Finance magazine, establishing it as the most authoritative journal on housing and community development in the U.S.He was owner and publisher of this and other periodicals and conferences, which he sold in 2006 to Hanley Wood.

Shashaty wrote hundreds of articles and commentaries that established him as a thought leader in the housing and community development field. In 2005, he received an award from the National Association of Home Builders for his work.

In 2008, Shashaty received national media attention and won multiple awards, including a Neal Award from American Business Media, for a series of articles about corruption at the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the G.W. Bush Administration.   

In the 1980s, Shashaty broke a story about influence peddling in the federal Sec. 8 housing subsidy program that was picked up in national print and broadcast media, and which lead to the prosecution of several Reagan-era officials at HUD.

In 2002, Shashaty founded and directed The Campaign for Affordable Housing (TCAH), a nonprofit group organized to promote greater public acceptance of affordable housing.  

Shashaty has written hundreds of articles about housing and community development. His free-lance work has appeared in The New York Times, Better Homes & Gardens, The Washington Post, and many other publications.  

He wrote a book on seniors housing which was published by the Home Builder Press in 1990.

Earlier in his career, Shashaty was editor-in-chief of Commercial Property News and held several senior editorial positions for other periodicals.

The Power of City Dividends

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Lee Fisher recently reflected on his travels to cities accross the country as President and CEO of CEOs for Cities in a blog post for Code for America. In his travels, he's learned about the Power of Progress - and the importance to motivate, mobilize, focus, and accelerate action. The progress principle informs what we call our City Dividends, premised on research and experience that show measurable progress, or “moving the needle,” on targeted work can reap huge economic growth dividends for cities, and accelerate movement on important goals. City Dividends focus this idea down to the power of one: showing that the difference in one percentage point, one mile, one measurement (a small step) has the potential to yield a large economic dividend (a big idea)—which helps demonstrate measurable progress.

Change is happening across America from the bottom up. Read more about how cities and metro regions are shaping America's future at Code for America.

A New Name / A New Look

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Our newsletter has a new name and a new look that better reflects who we are and what we do. The new name is derived from our signature work known as City Dividends.

City Dividends

Making Small Changes that reap Big Economic Dividends

To achieve city success, it is essential to motivate, mobilize, focus, and accelerate action.We believe the best way to do that is by using the “Power of Progress.” This theory of action is based on what Harvard Professor Teresa Amabile calls the “progress principle”- the single most important motivator and catalyst of positive action is making progress and showing forward momentum in meaningful work. Small but regular “wins” have a cumulative increase, and can trigger much bigger reactions.

The progress principle informs our City Dividends, premised on research and experience that show measurable progress, or “moving the needle,” on targeted work can reap large economic growth dividends for cities, and accelerates movement on important goals. City Dividends focus this idea down to the power of one: showing that the difference in one percentage point, one mile, one measurement (a small step) has the potential to yield a large economic dividend (a big idea)—which helps demonstrate measurable progress.

CEOs for Cities has already developed three City Dividends—the Talent, Green, and Opportunity Dividends. Each dividend reflects one small change that leads to a big difference:

  • The Talent Dividend: A one percentage-point increase in the four-year college attainment rate for the population aged 25 and older in the 51 largest U.S. metropolitan areas is associated with an $856 increase in annual per capita income for the metropolitan area, totaling an increase $143 billion for the entire nation.
  • The Green Dividend: If we can reduce the number of miles traveled per person per day in the 51 largest U.S. metro areas by one mile, the nation would save $31 billion on fuel and the expense of purchasing and maintaining vehicles.
  • The Opportunity Dividend: A one percentage-point reduction in poverty in the nation’s 51 largest metro areas is associated with government savings of $31 billion per year—as each additional person in poverty is associated with $19,000 in anti-poverty expenditures in a metropolitan area.

City Vitals

Benchmarking your City’s Success

You will notice that our newsletter is divided into four sections:

Connected City; Innovative City; Talented City; Your Distinctive City.

Here’s why.

Given the complex, interconnected problems that cities and regions face, it is critical to frame and organize work that puts a focusing lens on the city and region, and helps to see and understand the critical levers for city and regional success. Framing is critically important, because, as Wayne Dyer has noted, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

It is important to benchmark city/regional performance in the four areas most vital to CITY success that spell out the word ‘CITY’: Connections, Innovation, Talent, and Your distinctiveness. These are what we call City Vitals.

Connected City

How does your city connect it physical, human and social capital? Cities thrive as places where people can easily interact and connect. We measure the local connectedness of cities by looking at a diverse array of factors including voting, community involvement, economic integration and transit use. Our measures of external connections include foreign travel, the presence of foreign students and broadband Internet use.

Innovative City

How does your city foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship? The ability to generate new ideas and to turn those ideas into reality is a critical source of competitive advantage not just for businesses but for cities and regions. Invisible and weightless, ideas can’t be measured directly, but the footprints they leave in the economic landscape can be traced by counting numbers of patents, the dollar value of venture capital investments, the extent of personal entrepreneurship and the number of small businesses.

Talented City

How does your city develop, retain, attract, train, and employ its talent? The indispensable asset in aknowledge economy is smart people. Talent, which we measure byeducational attainment, the numberof creative professionals, themigration of well-educated youngadults and the number of foreign born college graduates, reveals theunderlying intellectual capital a regioncan draw on to build its economy andto weather the inevitable shocks ofcompetition and change.

Your Distinctive City

How does your city find its authentic voice? It’s DNA? How does it link and leverage its distinctive assets? The unique characteristics of place may be the only truly defensible source of competitive advantage for regions. In a world of global competition, a strategy of “pretty much the same, maybe cheaper” is a recipe for mediocrity and economic stagnation. Our measures of distinctiveness are inherently incomplete. Every city has its own unique characteristics for which there are few, if any, statistics. We offer some initial measures of distinctiveness drawn from market data about consumer behavior and its variance across U.S. metropolitan

Cities should assess their City Vitals and adopt City Dividends because they can’t afford to drive into the future without collective energy, intense focus, and a well-informed, accelerated path to success.

The future belongs to those cities and regions who can frame their opportunities and challenges, act in ways that demonstrate measurable progress, and connect and engage with the smartest people and the smartest ideas in the most places and in the most ways. In the words of Steve Jobs, the cities and regions that “tear down walls, build bridges, and light fires” will be the ones that change their future and our nation’s future.

Lee Fisher
President and CEO
CEOs for Cities

Repurposing Urban Roadways for More Than Just Cars in the Midwest

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Photo from flickr user citymaus

Cities throughout the United States are redesigning their roadways to accommodate multiple means of transportation. One of the major push/pull factors of alternative commuting options is the cost of fuel, coupled with the desire to live as close to work as possible. To make these changes a reality, city governments and transportation authorities have worked to add bicycle lanes, increased public transportation service, and has made sidewalks safer for pedestrians. Focusing on examples in Cleveland and Chicago, this article will focus on enhanced bicycle infrastructure. Both cities have experienced increases in bicycle commuting, and, as such, needed to add adequate bicycle infrastructure to assure a safe ride for cyclists. The repurposing of roadways for multiple means of transportation has come with both praise and harsh criticism from motorists.

Rankings of Bike-Friendliness in Cleveland and Chicago, and Infrastructure Improvements:

According to a 2011 article in Bicycling Magazine, to meet their criteria for the most bicycle friendly city in the United States, cities had to prove that they are accommodating to bicycles. Segregated bike lanes, municipal bike racks, and bike boulevards helped cities to improve their score. Bicycle Magazine ranked 50 major cities based on their bike friendliness.

Chicago has made great strides in increased bicycle infrastructure; it is ranked as the 5th bike-friendly city in the US as of 2012, and it was previously ranked 10th in 2011. Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is said to have more enthusiasm for bicycle infrastructure in the United States, according to Bicycle Magazine. When Mayor Rahm Emmanuel became mayor in 2011, he brought with him former transportation director, Gabe Klein, to move Chicago’s bicycle infrastructure development forward. Cleveland ranks significantly lower, and is ranked as the 39th bike-friendly city in the US as of 2011. Bicycle Magazine cites the Towpath Trail, which connects Cleveland to Akron, is a popular trail among cyclists, as an example of how Cleveland has begun to improve bicycle infrastructure. Unfortunately, there was no ranking for Cleveland for the 2012 ranking by Bicycle Magazine.

Chicago has more than 200 miles of bicycle infrastructure within its city limits, including two-way bike paths with their own traffic signal segregated from traffic. Throughout the city, there are thousands of bike racks at businesses, parks, and transit stations. The increased bicycle infrastructure has been beneficial to places of businesses and neighborhoods throughout the city. The City of Chicago isn’t done yet, they have plans to build on its existing infrastructure. According to the Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020, the Chicago Department of Transportation (or CDOT) plans to add an additional 645 mile network of bicycle facilities, and to assure that Chicagoans have access to bicycle infrastructure within a half mile.

The City of Cleveland has been slower at improving bicycle infrastructure. As more people move Downtown, and to other thriving close-in neighborhoods such as University Circle, Detroit Shoreway, Ohio City, and Tremont, there has been pressure to improve its roadways to make them more accommodating to all means of transportation than cars. In January of this year, the City of Cleveland’s Planning Commission announced a plan to add up to 70 miles of bicycle lanes to the city streets. So far, only 47.5 miles exist in Cleveland. From 1990 to 2012, bicycle commuting has increased in Cleveland, and because of the rising number of cyclists, this has prompted advocacy groups like Bike Cleveland to advocate for improved infrastructure for Cleveland bicycle commuters.

Social Drawbacks to Improved Bicycle Infrastructure

One drawback to bicycle advocacy and improving bicycle infrastructure is the antagonizing attitude of motorists. Because of the automobile-centric culture of the United States, there have been many motorists who have adapted to the changes in roadway infrastructure, and others believe that roadways are for motor vehicles only; cyclists to the sidewalk! Some motorists have labeled cyclists, according to an article in The Oregonian as “stop sign-running free-loaders.”

City officials in Chicago and Portland are now talking about adding a bicycle tax for city cyclists. Already most cities require bicycle owners to register their bicycles for a small fee. In Chicago, a councilwoman recently proposed implementing an annual $25 bicycle tax. Such taxes and fees are acceptable by some bicycle advocates, but are often unacceptable by others, because bicycle advocates and commuters already enjoy an inexpensive commute. Motorists who are in favor of such a tax see it as a responsibility that cyclists should have.

Roadway improvements are costly, including improvements for bicycle infrastructure, so it is understandable why cities may favor taxing cyclists. However, there are many cyclists who commute out of necessity, not choice, and if such taxes were levied on them, it would hurt them. According to the mentioned article, other cities have explored the possibility of looking to cyclists for revenue, but mostly for the purpose of improving roadway conditions.

Cities throughout the country have been working to improve infrastructure for all commuters. However, there still is a long way to go due to the country’s automobile-centric culture. Since more people are moving back into cities, or at least closer to the cities, city governments and departments of transportation need to make strides in roadway improvement for all commuters to coexist. There will be a cost to the improvement of roads to make them complete, but there needs to be a way where all commuters, from motorists to pedestrians to come together to talk about a solid plan to make commuting easy and free of danger for all who drive, ride, or walk on our streets.

***

Edward Chenock, Jr. is currently a City Success Fellow at CEOs for Cities. He is a recent graduate of Cleveland State University, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies. Housing and Neighborhood Development, Bicycle Commuting Issues, Urban Revitalization, and Historic Preservation are among his interests related to the field of urban affairs. In addition to his work at CEOs for Cities, he also serves as the Chairman of the Landmarks Commission for the City of Euclid, Ohio.

Zimpher’s Work Earns Presidential Praise

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Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York and immediate past Board Chair for CEOs for Cities, was called “Obama’s favorite college leader” in an article published last week. Chancellor Zimpher briefed the press corps, along with Press Secretary Jay Carney, after over 100 college leaders and other figures in education met with President and Michelle Obama to discuss solutions for low-income students. Chancellor Zimpher has been close to the Administration’s education efforts including involvement in financial aid overhaul proposals and an agreement to prevent sexual assault on college campuses. President Obama is wise to choose Chancellor Zimpher as an ally in the treacherous world of higher education. She is an innovator and strives not only for the betterment of higher education for students, but also to use higher education as a tool to improve communities.

Leading up to her current involvement at the national level, Chancellor Zimpher has led a fruitful career at various higher education institutions. In 1998, Chancellor Zimpher became the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the first woman to do so. It was here that she began to present herself as a force for education and community betterment. While Chancellor at UWM, Chancellor Zimpher introduced a strategic plan, known as the Milwaukee Idea, which would tie the university to the economic health and strength of the greater Milwaukee area. This plan sought to strengthen both the city and the university and give the university an edge over nearby rival Marquette University.

After leaving UWM, Chancellor Zimpher became President of the University of Cincinnati, where she was, once again, the first woman to fill this position. She continued to build connections between higher education institutions and the communities they serve.  While she was president, Chancellor Zimpher established the university’s Center for the City, designed to facilitate partnerships that encourage university and public expertise to work toward bettering the community; as well as chairing a neighborhood development group that involved five of the community’s largest employers. It was during her time at UC, Zimpher co-founded Strive, a birth-to-career collaborative that connects all levels of education with business, civic, and nonprofit organizations. Strive has since grown into a national network of innovative partnerships geared at holistically addressing challenges in education.

Now, as the Chancellor of SUNY—yet again, the first female in this role—Chancellor Zimpher has been striving to make SUNY an example of what a good university should be.  Within her first year as chancellor, she launched The Power of SUNY, a strategic plan that aims to use the university to drive economic revitalization across the state of New York. Already this year, Chancellor Zimpher has been busy, introducing a comprehensive online learning platform that will initially offer eight degree programs and expanding the SUNY Works program that seeks to engage Fortune 500 CEOs from around the state. Chancellor Zimpher’s goal is to “ensure that every student in the state has the experience he or she needs to succeed in the world”.  Given all the experience gained from her successful career thus far, that goal shouldn’t be that hard to reach. Chancellor Zimpher has learned and appreciates the importance of connections and partnerships when it comes to higher education.

Colleges and universities don’t exist in a vacuum, and Chancellor Zimpher recognizes this. She sees the potential higher education provides for students and for the nation. By engaging the community and creating partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, and civic institutions, schools—like SUNY—are creating amazing opportunities for their students. In return, the communities that serve them benefit. Chancellor Zimpher recognizes the good she can do for her students and their communities and even, as with SUNY, entire states.

***

Olivia Bailey is a CEOs for Cities City Success Fellow. Olivia is a senior at Cleveland State University, majoring in Urban Studies, with a focus in Urban and Regional Planning. She is a native of Northeast Ohio and has spent the last few years living in Cleveland. She has plans to pursue a graduate degree in either Planning or Historic Preservation after graduating and getting some more real world experience.

City Valentines

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If cities gave out Valentines, what would they say? We took a quick stab at it-- so you can share or give them to the thought leaders and city advocates in your life! What would your City Valentine say? Tweet us with the hashtag #CityValentine or post on our Facebook timeline and we'll pick one to create and post on our blog tomorrow! 

It's important that cities show love for their people as well as people showing love for their cities! Show love for your city!

Click here to Tweet.

 

For the transit lover in your life-- a Valentine that expresses appreciation for greener travel and bringing people into the urban core. 

Click Here to Tweet.

 

Love makes the world go round, but our roads, sewer lines, and electrical posts certainly help! They all probably need some love also... 

Click Here to Tweet.

 

Density has many advantages-- from the environment to innovation. While love can be sprawling, who doesn't love to get cozy?

Click Here to Tweet.

 

We here at CEOs for Cities love our benchmarking. Share this card with the data enthusiast in your life, and also send them our City Vitals 2.0 report

Click Here to Tweet. 

 

...literally! I'm sure all of our cities would appreciate a few more people in their hearts. 

Click Here to Tweet. 

 

We hope you enjoyed! 

 

City Valentines

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If cities gave out Valentines, what would they say? We took a quick stab at it-- so you can share or give them to the thought leaders and city advocates in your life! What would your City Valentine say? Tweet us with the hashtag #CityValentine or post on our Facebook timeline and we'll pick one to create and post on our blog tomorrow! 

It's important that cities show love for their people as well as people showing love for their cities! Show love for your city!

Click here to Tweet.

 

For the transit lover in your life-- a Valentine that expresses appreciation for greener travel and bringing people into the urban core. 

Click Here to Tweet.

 

Love makes the world go round, but our roads, sewer lines, and electrical posts certainly help! They all probably need some love also... 

Click Here to Tweet.

 

Density has many advantages-- from the environment to innovation. While love can be sprawling, who doesn't love to get cozy?

Click Here to Tweet.

 

We here at CEOs for Cities love our benchmarking. Share this card with the data enthusiast in your life, and also send them our City Vitals 2.0 report

Click Here to Tweet. 

 

...literally! I'm sure all of our cities would appreciate a few more people in their hearts. 

Click Here to Tweet. 

 

We hope you enjoyed! 

 

The Bicycle: The Simple Tool for 21st Century Urban Sustainability

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Authored by Christopher Berggren

As Americans grapple with a wide range of societal problems like obesity and other health issues, traffic gridlock and reduced family time, and socially isolated city-centers, we might stop to ask how we got this way and how we can change. Having lived in Europe for three months last summer, I can speak for other Americans who have traveled to other locales and marveled at the high quality of living in those places – especially compared to the automobile-dependant, lifeless cities of the U.S. How we got to be a largely car-dependant, unhealthy society has to do with the early surrender of our cities to cars without the balancing mechanism of maintaining our streetcar and bicycle modes, which had been prominent in nearly all American towns of more than 10,000 people up until the 1930’s. Today, several European cities, most notably Amsterdam and Copenhagen, have become models in the utilization of the simple bicycle as a major tool in the restoring of transportation balance and sustainability to their urban fabrics.

Economic Impact of the Bike and Health Benefits

In Denmark, tax-payer funded universal health care has spurred promotion and investment in bike usage, since the health benefits of bike usage are well known and accepted. One study found a 30% reduction in mortality among adults who commute to work by bicycle. The city of Copenhagen estimates that $100 million is saved annually through health care savings, which doesn’t even take into account societal gains from increased productivity from a healthier work force, with additional savings from less road maintenance and congestion. In Copenhagen, the cost of building grade-separated bikeways is about $2 million per mile per side, which is fully paid for in five years: the city’s economic impact study estimates that every mile cycled yields a net gain for society of 21 cents, compared to a net loss of 12 cents per mile driven by car. These figures include both savings in the public sector and the rise in private sector economic activity.

Bicycle Commuting and Urban Sustainability

Today, more people bike to work in greater Copenhagen than in the whole of the United States, with commuters riding an average of 3 ½ miles each way. Over the past 30 years, the city of Copenhagen has gradually removed car-parking and road space, effectively clearing the way for bike infrastructure. In the Netherlands, where the culture of the bicycle is perhaps the most inclusive of any country in the world, there is a public-private organization called the Dutch Cycling Embassy that capitalizes on the acclaimed Dutch model of urban transportation. It promotes urban mobility to business and government leaders from around the world, who are concerned because of urbanization and the need to revitalize cities, and the necessity of sustainability in transit solutions. The Dutch have first-hand experience of the bikes’ direct contribution to better health and urban livability, road safety, cleaner air, improved traffic flow, decreased social isolation, and an improved economy.

Marketing the Bicycle as a Viable Form of Transit

Here in America, making the bike a viable form of transit by building infrastructure conforming to code involves recasting bicycle users as regular citizens, as opposed to “cyclists’, who are seen as composing a sub-culture. The Danish consulting firm Copenhagenize advises cities on how to bring about positive imaging of bikes and urban mobility through behavior and marketing campaigns, and their very name stands for the concept of making cities more livable through the development of “complete streets” - which happens to be the name of an American non-profit organization and movement – itself responsible for some gains in U.S. cities.

Improving the Urban Fabric and Restoring Downtown Vitality

As our cities struggle with declining state and federal funds, empty sidewalks, and questions of how and where to best accommodate new growth, leaders are beginning to look for models for sustainable development. For value-driven solutions, they need look no further than the popular tourist centers of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Like many U.S. cities, these cities have a limited land mass in which they can effectively grow. And while numerous cities here in the U.S. have large areas in which to accommodate future growth, in reality they can only achieve long-term vitality by centering development within existing, built-up areas. Today’s singles and young families desire meaningful town life that allows them to walk or bike on safe paths through downtowns stocked with shops, entertainment, and urban amenities. As the Dutch and Danish urban models have demonstrated, substantial numbers of people would ride bikes routinely if proper and extensive tracks were incorporated into our cities. The simple bike can unlock the door to smart-growth in America, without compromising our love affair with cars.

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Christopher Berggren is a first-time contributor to CEOs For Cities, and is an urban photographer and blogger focusing on civic amenities that make cities livable as well as socially and economically sustainable. He recently completed research projects in Copenhagen and Stockholm, interviewing local leaders and studying the features of planning that make these among the most visited and ecologically advanced cities in the world. He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and his photography and commentary can be found at his Planning Photography website. His work has been published by The Urban Times, This Big City, Better Cities and Towns, The Sustainable Cities Collective, and the Congress of New Urbanism. He divides his time between San Diego and New York and accepts assignment work.