1. Community Visioning on a Smaller Scale

    Municipal leaders and staff in large metro areas face ongoing maintenance of roads, bridges, sewers, housing, transit fleets, and other fixtures of urban life. Small towns have infrastructure and amenities to work on, too, but on a smaller scale.Some projects can be as simple as installing an attractive welcome sign at the city limits and putting a little landscaping around it. Other needs are more complex, like rejuvenating structures on Main Street or making sidewalks compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  2. Tackling Poverty One Asset at a Time

    Generational systemic poverty doesn't just affect individuals and families. It affects entire communities. So it makes sense that individuals, families, and communities combine resources to resolve poverty, together.Two organizations in Dubuque, Iowa, are involved in an innovative national movement that engages individuals and communities to resolve poverty. One of these is the Circles Initiative, a networking model for under-resourced individuals and families to address the barriers in their lives and create a supported vision for their future.
  3. Fostering Sustainability from the Ground Up

    Sustainability starts with neighborhoods and, with the right promotion, can spread across an entire city and into the next until it becomes a regional force for positive change.Organizers of a statewide survey in Wisconsin and a neighborhood initiative in Hobart, Ind., shared their experiences and discoveries at the recent Growing Sustainable Communities Conference in Dubuque. One of the biggest lessons learned:
  4. Energy Reduction a 'Contact' Sport

    If you turn learning into a game, people are more interested in the lesson. That's especially true if you turn your game into a contest with prizes that will directly and immediately benefit them.That's what the city of Columbia, Mo. did when it introduced its Neighborhood Energy Challenge in 2013. This game set up a friendly competition between neighborhoods to see which one could reduce its energy consumption the most.
  5. Involving Citizens in Impact Assessments

    Impact assessments are typically conducted as legal requirements to identify the economic, social and environmental effects of public policy. They usually involve public meetings led by government officials in government buildings.But, what if the role of the citizen wasn’t limited to that of a spectator in these assessments? What if residents were given the opportunity to lead these discussions?
  6. Urban Gardens Feed America’s Hungriest City

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- In Memphis, only seven out of 77 high-poverty neighborhoods are within reasonable distance of a full-service supermarket.The United States Department of Agriculture defines these remaining 70 neighborhoods as food deserts, which means that residents of these areas don’t have ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Grocery stores in these areas are more than one mile away and most residents don’t have a personal vehicle. Public transportation in these areas is often unreliable.
  7. Libraries Seen as Essential to Sustainability

    As city governments large and small struggle to fund essential services such as fire protection and safe infrastructure, some managers eye the "non-essential" service provided by the public library as a place to cut the budget.Library staff and boards are speaking up, arguing that they are one of the few spaces in the world of public democracy available to all members of the community, regardless of age, education, income or interests.
  8. Tool Improves Transportation and Health Policies

    It isn't likely that a controversial highway like the Cross Bronx Expressway could be built in America in 2016.The expressway, created by New York City planner Robert Moses in 1948 and open since 1955, is likely the shining example of how NOT to design a major transportation artery. Moses continues to be blamed for destroying the South Bronx neighborhood by putting the automobile first and ignoring vital social and public health concerns.
  9. Small Towns Share a Roadmap to Economic Recovery

    If you’ve ever driven Interstate 35 north or south through the nation’s mid-section, you’ve probably stopped in Emporia, Kan. - or at least seen the exits. The highway bisects the small, Midwestern city, which lies approximately halfway between Kansas City and Wichita. If you’re familiar with the area as more than just a rest stop, you have likely observed some changes in recent years.Like many small and mid-sized American cities, Emporia experienced population decline and economic stagnation in recent decades. Rather than resign itself to such a fate, though, the city picked itself up by its bootstraps.
  10. Developing Health Oriented Neighborhoods

    Say you’re driving through a city you don’t know well – or maybe even your hometown - and you discover a new neighborhood.The shops and restaurants look interesting, the sidewalks are wide, people are out and about, and it looks inviting.
  11. Green Infrastructure Fuels Green Jobs

    Google “community college” and “horticulture” or “community college” and “landscape design” and programs from all over the country will pop up, boasting course offerings in urban farming, garden design, plant classification, and the like.Increasingly, many such programs also include offerings in green infrastructure strategies.
  12. Putting Schools in the Right Spots

    Going to school is a big part of every day for students and their families. Schools influence where families choose to live and how communities grow.Deciding where the school should be is a big decision that affects community safety and health.
  13. Early Warning System for Infectious Diseases?

    In the recent issue of EMBO reports, Barbara Han of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and John Drake of the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology call for the creation of a global early warning system for infectious diseases.Such a system would use computer models to tap into environmental, epidemiological and molecular data, gathering the intelligence needed to forecast where disease risk is high and what actions could prevent outbreaks or contain epidemics.
  14. Can More Cattle Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

    A new study co-authored by an Iowa State University researcher indicates that an increase in cattle production, and associated forage land, on Iowa’s agricultural landscape could lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions.The research, published recently in the peer-reviewed Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, found that cattle production yields a smaller percentage of greenhouse gas emissions than row-crop cultivation.
  15. Majoring in Sustainability

    As an evolving job market demands variously skilled workers, higher education responds by developing academic programs to meet those emerging demands.  Fields like sustainability and clean energy are no exception.According to the U.S. Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency many colleges and universities around the country offer four-year and advanced degree programs in renewable energy fields. In addition, many community colleges offer two-year programs and certifications to give workers a basic set of skills they need to work in various clean energy trades.
  16. The Legacy of the Rosenwald Schools

    In the early 1930s, one out of every three black children in the South attended a special type of school that few people remember today.The Rosenwald Schools, which at their height numbered 5,000, provided black schoolchildren with the opportunity for greatly improved education, helping to decrease the gap between the quality of education available to black students as compared to white students. In the past 60 years since the dissolution of the Rosenwald School program, the legacy of the schools has been forgotten by most.
  17. Inclusive Approaches Encourage Gentrification Talks

    Nonprofit organizations, community development corporations and city officials are working separately toward a unifying goal in Los Angeles:Giving a voice to the under-represented communities that typically don’t speak at planning and zoning meetings, but are directly impacted by policies and decisions aimed to revitalize their urban neighborhoods.
  18. Henderson Becomes a Shining STAR

    The city of Henderson, Nev., has become the latest U.S. city to be formally certified in the STAR Community Rating System. The city's approved final score is 426.1, which qualifies Henderson as a Certified 4-STAR Community.The city is the 45th community nationwide to achieve certification from STAR Communities, a nonprofit organization that certifies sustainable communities.
  19. Portland Works for Social Equity

    Portland, Ore., bills itself as “The city that works,” and, in the early 21st Century, is a city that is working in spite of some tough challenges.A good example is the cutting-edge Diversity and Civic Leadership (DCL) program introduced in 2006 and operated by the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI). DCL’s goal is to support efforts to build the organizational and communication capacity of community organizations of color, immigrant/refugee organizations and other agencies underrepresented in government.
  20. Infusing Equity into the Urban Planning Process

    If you want to include equity concerns in your long-range planning, your process might be as important as your results.That’s what the Rhode Island Office of Statewide Planning discovered when it incorporated equity goals into its two-year plan for the first time.
  21. Large-Scale Composting Solutions

    Composting is a great way to divert food scraps away from the trash can — but how can it be applied in a larger context, such as in a hospital or university cafeteria? Composting on such a large scale not only reduces negative impacts on the environment, but also provides an opportunity to educate thousands of patrons about the benefits of going green.We asked these three university and hospital professionals four questions about their experiences implementing composting programs:
  22. Portland's Bridge to the Future

    At first glance, the Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People spanning the Willamette River in Portland, Ore., looks like any other cable-stayed bridge in any other river city. But take a closer look and you might notice something different.Traversing this new bridge, which opened on Sept. 12, are light rail trains, streetcars, buses, people on bicycles and pedestrians. But, you won’t see a single private car or truck – because, on this bridge, they aren’t allowed.
  23. Hotel or Home-Share: Which is Greener?

    Long before there were hotels, there was room-sharing. Room- or home-sharing is the simple concept of renting out a space in your home to a stranger for a short period at a fixed price.It was a common practice in early America, when almost every community had a boarding house or home with a "room to let."
  24. Green Dorm Rooms Get Students on the Right Path

    As universities and colleges work to become more sustainable, administrators are looking for ways to educate – and encourage – their students to adopt “greener” lifestyles.Consider the thousands (upon thousands) of students on each campus across North America, and the impact of students adopting a more sustainable lifestyle is quite significant.
  25. Power Up Anywhere with Solar Charging Stations

    Joe Kobus was on his way back from a Colorado whitewater rafting trip about a decade ago when he got the idea for his company, EnerFusion Inc. Flying standby, he ended up waiting in the Denver airport for the better part of a day and in search of a convenient, free way to charge his laptop.An engineer by trade, Kobus started thinking about solutions to his charging challenge.
  26. Dubuque Comes Back in a Big Way

    In the 1980s, Dubuque, Iowa, was down and out, or so it seemed. The farm crisis that had swept across America’s grain belt hit Dubuque’s agriculture-based economy especially hard – at one time bringing the city’s unemployment rate to a nation-high 23 percent. Its Mississippi riverfront, arguably the community’s most precious asset, was a tangled mess of scrap yards, rusty oil tanks, shuttered factories and dilapidated warehouses.By the end of the decade, thousands of people (nearly 8 percent of its population) had left the city for greener pastures and, adding symbolic insult to injury, even the “little old lady from Dubuque” had passed on.

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