Everyday I receive messages annoucing new webinars, reports or resources. Here is a sampling of items I received this week:
100 Urban Trends: A Glossary of Ideas from the BMW Guggenheim Lab—New York, Berlin, and Mumbai
Over the past two years, the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile urban laboratory centered around the topic of life in cities today, has offered free programs and workshops and implemented urban projects in New York City (August 3–October 16, 2011), Berlin (June 15–July 29, 2012), and Mumbai (December 9–January 20, 2013). Created as a resource, 100 Urban Trends aims to identify the most talked-about trends in urban thinking, as they were discussed in these three venues. Each individual glossary offers 100 contextualized definitions that apply to the way we understand, design, and live in cities.
Integral to 100 Urban Trends is the concept of cities as “idea makers.” In cities, people come together, share their thoughts and common interests, and generate the ideas that shape our world. Dense, growing cities have been and continue to be the catalyst for human progress, powered by daily proximity among their citizens as much as anything else. Despite some of the drawbacks of such massive urban centers, they may well embody the future for human life. Today’s cities are competing to attract more people; greater urban density can mean more conflict, but it can also produce a greater diversity of viewpoints and more opportunity for positive change.
In recent years, there has been an unequivocal shift in the study of cities. Urban thinking, whether related to architecture or urbanism, has become dramatically less focused on infrastructure, and more on the ultimate goal and reason for the existence of cities — that is, the well-being of the people that inhabit them and constitute their very soul and essence. “Cluster,” “concentrate,” and “collaborate” seem to have become the three big Cs of urban thinking of late — but that story is not new. Clustering, searching for a concentration of people, and finding ways to collaborate have been part of the human experience since prehistoric times. Then, as now, people gathered in search of protection, conviviality, and exchange.
The terms presented here reflect this type of urban exchange. They are new and old, classic and ephemerally fashionable. Among them are some of urbanism’s “usual suspects,” which interestingly, keep reappearing in the urban discourse of the early twenty-first century. Each definition concludes with an example of a Lab program that illustrated the relevance and context of that term. Some terms are shared between the three glossaries, as they proved relevant in all of the Lab’s locations.
What do people talk about today when they discuss the future of cities? Many things. Find some of them here—and tell us about the Urban Trends people are talking about now in your city.
100 Urban Trends: A Glossary of Ideas from the BMW Guggenheim Lab was written by Maria Nicanor, Curator, BMW Guggenheim Lab; Amara Antilla and Stephanie Kwai, Curatorial Assistants, BMW Guggenheim Lab; and Christine McLaren, Resident Writer, BMW Guggenheim Lab.
Listening Session: EPA's Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities
Date: June 11, 2013
Time: 3:00pm - 4:00pm EDT
EPA is creating a training program for public agencies and nonprofit organizations that provide technical assistance to communities. The training program will help staff understand EPA's Building Blocks tools and incorporate them into their technical assistance. During this listening session, EPA will gather input from key stakeholders on how best to design the training program, addressing the following questions: Who is the best target audience for this kind of training? Should it be a one-day training, two-day training, or some other format? Should training sessions be coordinated with major national conferences or held as separate events?
Sustainability Coordinator's Workshop
Date: July 31 - August 4, 2013
Location: Grand Lakes, Colorado
This four-day workshop, hosted by the National League of Cities' Sustainable Cities Institute, will address the unique sustainability needs of small to medium-size communities. Led by a team of experienced city sustainability directors, this workshop will guide participants through the concepts, challenges, strategies and opportunities to create strong, healthy and sustainable communities. City sustainability directors from Missouri, Arizona, and Colorado will lead participants through the program and share their on-the-ground experiences.
Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development
This new publication from Smart Growth America surveys 17 studies that compare different urban and suburban development scenarios. The analysis found that that smart growth development generates 10 times more tax revenue per acre than conventional suburban development, saves an average of 10 percent on ongoing delivery of services, and costs one-third less for upfront infrastructure.
Organizing to Promote Targeted Improvements in Our Neighborhoods (OPTIONs): Community Engagement Workbook
Smart Growth America has released this new workbook designed to help encourage and aid community engagement in the brownfields redevelopment process. The workbook contains seven worksheets with instructions designed to help community groups think about how to organize, what they need, and how to build a strategy to participate in the redevelopment process.
FRED - Free Energy Database
Free Energy Data "FRED" is a new open platform to help state and local governments, energy planners and policy-makers, private industry, and others to effectively visualize, analyze and compare energy-use data to make better energy decisions and sustainable strategies. FRED gathers complex, disparate energy datasets and distills them down into simple, easy-to-understand graphics, useful to a wide audience, from expert energy planners to non-energy professionals and the interested public. FRED strives to become an open exchange where users can compare and share their own data against others in FRED, becoming a resource for energy policy decision-making. Read more about FRED here.
New Report Showcases Successful Community Engagement Tactics in 14 US Cities
A new report from the National League of Cities (NLC) released this week highlights effective community engagement efforts in 14 communities across the United States. The case studies-which focus closely on innovative work in Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Austin-show new pockets of civic energy emerging in different sectors. The report, Bright Spots in Community Engagement: Case Studies of U.S. Communities Creating Greater Civic Participation from the Bottom Up, was produced in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
EPA Lists Agencies Providing Help for Brownfields
A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency gives an overview of federal programs that assist in brownfields development and lists the type of financial and technical assistance each program offers. The 2013 Brownfields Federal Programs Guide said that since 1995, EPA's brownfields investments have leveraged more than $19.2 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have resulted in the creation of about 86,200 jobs. The report on brownfields federal programs, posted May 22, is available at http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/partners/brownfields-federal-programs-guide-2013.pdf.