1. Ecotourism Can Benefit Rural Communities

    In 2006, Fred Lochner was hired by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to help it decide what the group could do with some land it had bought in a remote part of Pennsylvania. (Lochner, an engineer who has long worked in parks and recreation, is now senior development specialist at MSA Professional Services in Baraboo, Wis.)He went to visit the area and stayed in a farmhouse on the property. The next morning, he found a herd of elk outside the window.
  2. Racial Equity is Key to Cleveland’s Comeback

    On June 22, 2019, the city of Cleveland will host what organizers hope will be the largest clean water rally in the nation, in observance of the 50th anniversary of one of the most infamous and influential disasters in the city’s history – an event that ultimately resulted in the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the federal Clean Water Act.It was on that date in 1969 that the Cuyahoga River caught fire… again.
  3. The Big (Green) Apple

    New York City is sometimes called the Capital of the World, the City of Dreams, or the Big Apple, but officials in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s sustainability office would like the city to be known as something else: no less than the most resilient, equitable and sustainable city in the world.And, they have a plan to make that happen.
  4. Upward Mobility Depends on Where You Live

    Children born in a low-income neighborhood whose families then relocate to an area with better opportunities can experience much-improved earning potential in adulthood than had they not relocated.While this data might encourage disadvantaged people to move to better neighborhoods, it could also help low-opportunity neighborhoods learn how to get better, the researchers say.
  5. Short-Term Vacation Rentals Impact Neighborhoods

    Placing a rarely used bedroom or house in the short-term rental market through a service like AirBnB can be a good way for a homeowner to bring in extra cash. It can also help communities that are short on hotel space make room for more visitors, which benefits the local economy.But too much of a good thing can be, well, too much, resulting in some painful unintended consequences. Sometimes the tipping point is the entrance of commercial investors into the scenario.
  6. Minneapolis Invests in 'Green Zones'

    Actively fighting climate change since 1993, Minneapolis was one of the first cities in the world to adopt a framework for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Today, the city remains a leader in sustainability with an emphasis on bringing environmental justice to its most vulnerable neighborhoods.The city’s goal to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2015 was exceeded by two and a half percent. It’s now on pace to reduce emissions 30 percent below 2006 levels by 2025, though many more significant changes are needed (including decarbonization of building heating systems) to achieve its ultimate goal of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050.
  7. Communities Find Quality Daycare is No Child's Play

    Finding a job, a safe place to live, and reliable transportation would seem to take care of life's big-picture necessities for most people… unless you’re a parent with young children.That's when quality child care often leaps to the top of the list.
  8. Corporate Giants Help Plano Grow

    In the northeast corner of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, Plano, Texas is an economic hub and headquarters to some of America’s biggest companies, including such recognizable brands as Capital One, Toyota, Frito-Lay, Dr. Pepper/Snapple and J.C. Penney.In 2016, Fannie Mae and JP Morgan Chase announced they would move their regional operations to Plano, bringing a combined 7,000 new jobs.
  9. Planning for Environmental Justice

    Urban and regional planners customarily focus on developing land use plans and programs to accommodate growing communities, keeping in mind social, economic and environmental realities.Now a law in California shaping how planning is carried out requires another element to be considered: Environmental justice.
  10. Restoring a Lost Corridor

    There is only one obstacle standing between the college town of Laramie, Wyo., and the year-round recreational opportunities of the Medicine Bow National Forest just to the east.That obstacle is a spread of 5,528 acres of privately owned land, sloping uphill from the edge of Laramie to what is known as Pilot Hill, which also happens to stand atop a portion of the Casper Aquifer, the main water supply for Laramie and the surrounding area.
  11. Using Creative Placemaking for Quality of Life

    Vibrant public gathering spaces make communities more livable.“At their best, public spaces are where communities come together,” said Sharon Yazowski, executive director of the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation. “They are platforms for civic engagement and for social dialogue. They are vehicles for connection where neighbors meet, where strangers can interact easily with each other, where people can share a sense of belonging, and where communities can heal.”
  12. Revitalize Downtowns with 'Maker' Economy

    Technological and economic changes have created new opportunities in small-scale manufacturing and the “maker” economy, which present a chance for communities to make progress on several important economic development issues.Small-scale manufacturing can grow local entrepreneurship and small business, develop or enhance new and existing economic sectors, and revitalize downtowns and business districts, according to a new report by Smart Growth America.
  13. Community Gardens: Equity, Equality, Eggplant

    Community gardening isn't undertaken for the health and well-being of squash and tomatoes. Rather, it is all about the people who otherwise have limited access to fresh, nutritious foods.That's why groups in Madison, Wis., and Douglas County, Kan., have focused on developing food systems that include community gardening and that make equity a central part of their framework.
  14. How to Prevent and Kill Development: On Purpose and by Accident

    Public/private partnerships can make a positive difference for communities trying to encourage development or redevelopment, particularly in their downtowns.But sometimes apathy — exacerbated by public officials who are popular but not good at their jobs, or city staff who want to be in charge of policy — get in the way.
  15. How Chemistry Shapes the Local Environment

    MILLBROOK, N.Y. – Through a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) is partnering with Baltimore City Public Schools to transform the way that chemistry is taught in the city’s high schools.The innovative approach draws on data gathered by BES to convey how chemistry shapes the local environment.
  16. How to Organize a Successful Farmers Market

    Farmers markets are becoming more popular than ever across the country, as consumers become more concerned about the safety and quality of mass-produced and processed foods. When combined with arts and entertainment components, these local food venues can become the focal point in a community’s placemaking, tourism and economic development endeavors.Farmers markets can also play a critical role in strengthening community resilience, fighting obesity, improving health and supporting disadvantaged neighborhoods in urban food deserts.
  17. More Farms Transitioning to Organic in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin

    CASCADE, Iowa — Kim and Marvin Lynch’s dairy farm in Cascade was certified as organic in 2009, but the process wasn’t easy.The Lynches had to discontinue using fertilizers, insecticides and synthetic herbicides in the fields of their third-generation farm for three years before it could be certified. Their cows could no longer be given a regular regimen of antibiotics.
  18. Campaign Seeks to Lower the Voting Age in Local Elections

    In most U.S. states, 16- and 17-year-old citizens are considered old enough to drive on local roads, work in local businesses, attend local schools and pay local taxes.Now a nationwide campaign is pushing to give these young people the right to vote in local elections as well.
  19. Study Finds Poor Neighborhoods Have More Mosquitoes

    MILLBROOK, N.Y. - A new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology reports that in Baltimore neighborhoods with high levels of residential abandonment are hotspots for tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus).This environmental injustice may leave low-income urban residents more vulnerable to mosquito-borne disease.
  20. Hospitals, Communities Work Together on 'Population Health'

    When it all comes down to it, sustainability is really about designing healthy places to live and work for generations to come.So, it only stands to reason that hospitals can be important allies in that endeavor. After all, who knows better how to promote wellness than the institutions established with that very mission in mind? If your community isn’t already integrating resources from local healthcare institutions into its sustainability plans, now might be the time to reach out.
  21. Urban Design without Displacement

    Gentrification has changed the composition of a number of urban areas in the United States and internationally. In the U.S., this has sometimes meant the displacement of poorer communities of color by wealthier white populations moving in and pricing them out of the market.Often, the phenomenon results from profit-driven developers seeking cheap land in neighborhoods that have a history of disinvestment. Cities like Portland, Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., among others, are often identified in tandem with gentrification.
  22. Iowa Legislature Defunds Sustainable Agriculture Research

    A bill passed by the Iowa Legislature to defund the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture now waits on the desk of Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.Supporters of the 30-year-old research center at Iowa State University in Ames are hoping one of Bradstad's final acts as governor will be to veto the closure. After all, it was Bradstad himself who signed the 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act into law, providing funds to establish and maintain the Leopold Center.
  23. Big Data and the Internet of Things

    According to technology lore, the “Internet of Things” first came into being in the early 1980s when someone in the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University connected a soda machine to the Internet so they could tell without leaving their desk whether their favorite brand of soda was still in stock and had reached the desired temperature.Since these auspicious beginnings, humankind has been adding almost every conceivable device to the global network.
  24. Equity, Smart Growth Converge at St. Louis Conference

    ST. LOUIS, Mo. − With civil unrest after the Michael Brown shooting, legal challenges over discriminatory policing practices, and the contentious election of President Donald Trump all serving as unavoidable subplots, equity and inclusivity were reoccurring themes at the 16th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.While Trump's name was not uttered once during the opening plenary session, his perceived threat to the core values of many in the room was palpable.
  25. Synthetics: Ignored Agents of Global Change

    MILLBROOK, New York -- Despite a steady rise in the manufacture and release of synthetic chemicals, research on the ecological effects of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and industrial chemicals is severely lacking.This blind spot undermines efforts to address global change and achieve sustainability goals. So reports a new study in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a publication of the Ecological Society of America.
  26. Feeding Public Schools with Local Food Hubs

    Question: Can schools be viable local food markets for farmers if they partner with a food hub?Answer: Yes, according to a recent study conducted by Iowa State University with a grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. In order to truly grow farm to school programs, there needs to be an intermediary market like a food hub that can serve as a facilitator between the farmer and the school.

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