VERDUNITY News - July 2014

Recent News

It's only been a few weeks since I did my initial VERDUNITY News post, but it's already the first of the month! It's been a busy summer for VERDUNITY so far, and I'm excited to share these updates. We also have several things in the works right now that we aren't quite ready to announce, so be sure to check back next month to learn about some new initiatives, projects and committees members of our team will be involved with.

  • Publications. Mikel was featured in an article titled "LEED for roads: greener infrastructure gains momentum" on  Mikel talks about how we utilize Envision credits to identify opportunities to implement green infrastructure on projects, and then use the Business Case Evaluator to measure the economic benefits of doing so. Kevin's previous blog on how we are trying to lead efforts to apply Envision in Texas was also referenced. As an added bonus, this article was featured front and center in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) email newsletter.
  • AIGA DFW PechaKucha Night, "Dallas: Drawing New Landscapes". Mikel was one of ten presenters that participated in this unique event.  Each speaker had just under seven minutes to present, PechaKucha style.  The audience consisted of Dallas creatives ranging from chefs to graffiti artists to...Mikel, an engineer. We're trying to push our message out to people who don't typically think about planning, development and infrastructure, and this event definitely got us in front of a different crowd. Mikel shares his thoughts on the experience in his latest blog.
  • New Cities Summit.  Kevin was invited to participate in this event along with more than 800 thought leaders from around the world to discuss the topic of re-imaging cities. There were tons of articles and reviews published on specific sessions, presenters and the overall conference. Take a look at the blog that Kevin wrote summarizing his take-aways from the summit, including a great quote comparing cars to mothers-in-law... 
  • WNYC Radio interview.  Don was contacted by WNYC out of New York to be interviewed for their podcast show "99% Invisible" regarding his involvement with the Trinity Lakes project. We aren't certain when it will be broadcast, but we will let you know when we know. The Strong Towns podcast I did in April with Chuck Marohn generated a lot of interest in our efforts, so we're optimistic that this one will do the same.

What's Ahead?

We've been invited to participate in some great conferences and events. We're also about to kick off some exciting new projects. Here's what's coming up in the next few months.

  • North Texas Renewable Energy Group Monthly Meeting, July 12, Dallas. Kevin will be presenting "Vision North Texas 2050: Helping Local Communities Plan for a Fiscally and Environmentally Resilient Future". Kevin recently gave this presentation to the City of Mesquite P&Z Committee. One of the P&Z members is also a member of NTREG, and asked Kevin to give a similar presentation to this group. This is one of Kevin's favorite topics to speak about, so if you're community or organization is interested in learning more about the impacts the anticipated growth will have on our region's mobility network, water resources, economy and workforce, give us a call or email Kevin directly.
  • Building a Fiscally Strong Town, July 15, Royse City. Kevin will be the main speaker at the Royse City Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon in July.
  • EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference, July 27-Aug 1, Fort Worth. Mikel will be participating in a panel discussion on Low Impact Development
  • Texas APA Conference, October 15-18, Frisco.  Kevin and Mikel will be presenting at the APA Conference this fall.  Mikel will be co-presenting with John Williams of Impact Infrastructure on the economics of green infrastructure.  Kevin will be part of a 3 hour session with John Williams, Lewis McLain and Becky Brooks on planning and designing fiscally resilient communities and infrastructure.  In addition, Kevin will be the lead facilitator for a green infrastructure bus tour that will highlight Dallas projects including Klyde Warren Park, Beckley-Commerce, and Elm Street.
  • University of North Texas. We were recently notified that we were one of five firms selected to work on various projects for UNT over the next five years.  While we don't know exactly what that will entail for us yet, we are excited about the opportunity to work with a new client that is particularly interested in sustainable site design.  
  • Cedar Springs Streetscape Improvements. We were selected for this project last summer, but have kicked off the project in the last month.  We are working with the City of Dallas Planning and Public Works/Engineering Departments to develop a long-term concept for Cedar Springs between Douglas and Oak Lawn, as well as a short-term plan to utilize current fund allocations to address the most pressing needs expressed by the public. We'll be writing more about this project in coming months.
  • Newsletter and Blog Changes. We've seen the amount of subscribers for our blog and mailing list nearly double since we rolled out our new site in January. In my last post, I mentioned that we were going to transition to providing more timely content via our blog. For those of you on our mailing list, our email newsletter will be going out next week, and then will be sent out quarterly going forward. Starting next week, we will be blogging at least twice/week and sending an email every Friday with all of our posts from the week. We're going to start out by including everyone on both email lists (quarterly newsletter and weekly blog summary), but if you want to receive only one of the two, or neither, please feel free to unsubscribe. We hope we don't lose any of you completely though! If you want to read blogs as they're published, follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook page. Also, we're going to be adding Disqus features to our website so we can make it easier for people interested in similar ideas to find and share comments between blogs.

We will continue to work to bring new people into the conversations about how to make our communities more fiscally and environmentally resilient. Whether you've followed us from our start three years ago, or are just now learning about us, we would love to hear your thoughts are on topics we post about, or if there are other things you want to share or learn about, please let us know and we can hook you up to do a guest blog post or we'll do some research and post something ourselves. Thanks for everyone's interest and help in expanding the VERDUNITY Community conversation!

Kristin Green, P.E., ENV-SP is a co-founder of VERDUNITY, Inc. As VERDUNITY's majority owner, Kristin leads, inspires, and many times, corrals our crew. She has been recognized by national, regional and local publications as a leader in the engineering profession and her home community.