A few things to know this week: July 15, 2019
Happy Monday! Every week here, we package up a collection of things that caught our attention during the week. The following list is compiled by the whole Verdunity team — our favorite relevant or thought-provoking pieces of news, commentary, research, discussions, or cat videos we came across (or were thinking about) this week.
Here are this week's things to know:
The automobile, says law professor Gregory Shill, took over this country because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives: "Instead of merely accommodating some people’s desire to drive, our laws essentially force driving on all of us—by subsidizing it, by punishing people who don’t do it, by building a physical landscape that requires it." But, he says, these laws present opportunities—to be reversed by the legislative bodies that put them in place to begin with. – Jordan
This piece highlights the Living Cully coalition in Portland Oregon, where key bottom-up initiatives are being pursued to not only answer the need for sustainable measures, but to provide equal access to low-income residents by overcoming physical, language, and affordability barriers. Think pedestrian infrastructure, resident-driven park design and wayfinding instead of methods disconnected from local neighborhoods, like rain gardens and measures that inflate real estate values and lead to displacement. This piece serves as a great reminder that it is less about the "what" in engagement, but all about the "who;" and the "who" involves empowering advocates of a neighborhood—adults and children. – AJ
Procurement! That word might not get you excited, but Sascha Haselmayer of CityMart seems to be on to something in his organization's quest to change the way cities go about their procurement process. Their approach is to help cities define what is the outcome they want to achieve, and then help them write a procurement process that matches. The results tend to be an improvement in supplier diversity, a cost reduction, and a more tailored solution to what the city needs (rather than just copying an ill-fitting "solution" from the past). Give it a listen on Aaron Renn's podcast. – Jordan
In the latest episode of the Little Things podcast, Jacob Moses does an interview about public art. While art is often seen as simply a quality of life improvement, Greta McLain, Artistic Director at GoodSpace Murals, explains how it can be used to transform citizens into stakeholders of the public realm. She especially notes how public art, when done in the right way, can truly represent the interests and character of the area in which public art is done. (And if you're interested in hearing more on this topic, check out these podcast episodes we ran last year: "Using the arts to connect neighbors and cultivate inclusivity" with Joanna Taft of the Harrison Center, and "What cities can learn from socially-engaged art" with Jim Walker of Big Car.) – Tim
It’s just what it sounds like: a list of 101 great ideas for building a good life with kids while living in a city. Some A+ (and unexpected) suggestions here. – Jordan
On the Go Cultivate! podcast: Building community wealth with Monte Anderson
Small developer Monte Anderson joins the show for a second time to go a bit more in depth about his Dallas-area projects that give small-time entrepreneurs a place to make a living and build wealth for the community.
On the blog: De-suburbanizing suburbia... is it possible?
Much of today’s suburban development was constructed in a way that’s car-dependent, fiscally underproductive for cities, and not intended to grow and flex with time and economic changes. How meaningful, then, are incremental improvements to retail centers in these regions—especially compared with the same amount of effort put to our neighborhoods that are more naturally human-scale? Tim Wright asks the first of what are sure to be many questions on this subject.
Hey, city people:
Have thoughts on any of the links above? Think we missed something essential? We’re discussing these topics and more over on our brand-new online community, exclusively for local government employees.* Sign up for the Community Cultivators Network and join the discussion!
* The network is currently only for those wonderful folks out there who work in local government. If you’re not currently working for a city, town, or county, we still love you (and are sure many of you would add value to the community), but we want to keep our commitment to making this a community focused specifically on our friends working in local government. Thanks for understanding!