Climate Adaptation: A weather report

This is a case study of the application of Scott’s argument that will be presented at the upcoming virtual Congress, CNU28, during the Wednesday, June 10, 2:30pm EDT session, New Tools for Urban Resilience, as well as part of our ongoing series in support of urbanist COVID-19 policy discussions.

Among the lessons the COVID-19 crisis and the protests of the death of George Floyd have hammered home are those connected with, first of all, recognizing vulnerabilities, then having a plan to overcome them before the threats are upon us. We’d be wasting this unwelcome opportunity if we didn’t apply what we’ve learned to building resilience capacities in the face of climate change. The current crises are emphasizing how essential it is to plot a path for adaptation after a disturbance, stress, or adversity. Continue Reading

Lessons from the Pandemic: Housing, Retail, Broadband

This is the second in a series of conversations about what comes next in local government policies and processes. Geoff Koski is president of the Bleakly Advisory Group, providing advice to real estate professionals, governments, and non-profit organizations dealing with a wide- range of real estate and economic development-related issues. Read the first post in this series here.

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After the Plague: Go Big or Go Backwards?

This is the first of several posts planned for the next few weeks on lessons we’re learning from the pandemic and how local and regional governments might respond – not only to the crisis itself, but also to weaknesses in policies and processes COVID-19 exposed.

Let’s start with an understatement: Community development leaders – whether they’re in government, non-profits, or the private sector — are likely to remember this time as the most challenging of their lives. Every hard choice is harder, every strategy fraught with uncertainty.

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Shelter in Place: Working in a time of isolation

In this time of social distancing without a clear time frame, I’m feeling the need to share some of the things I’ve learned over 17 years of working from a home office. It’s clear that the novel corona virus will disrupt our previous ways of doing business, but it’s possible some parts of that may be good, eventually. For people who are able to return to near former levels of productivity while COVID-19 runs its course, you may be able to contribute to economic stability, and save yourself much of the roughly 6 weeks every year that the average North American spends commuting to work. That’d be a serious bump in productive hours available with major reductions in transportation costs and green house gas emissions.

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Code Score: A New Aid for aligning policy and vision with outcomes

Whether we’re talking equity, affordability, jobs, health, or a list of other pressing topics, every community strives for more effective outcomes from policies to address a broad range of competing demands. The fact that the demands – and the strategies to address them – are competing for time and resources is its own problem, especially in an era of diminishing trust in cities’ and towns’ capacities to deliver on the collective local vision.

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Code Hackathon: What can go wrong with form-based codes?

We often talk about how places can hack their zoning code to enable livability. The Project for Code Reform is taking this idea to the next level, helping cities look for the lowest hanging fruit on the walkability front. However, for places on the cutting edge of land use reform that have already adopted a form-based code, there’s a different sort of code hack. Continue Reading

Climate Change Update, Part II: Leveraging “The Biggest Little Things”

“The best strategies are the ones that can be implemented.”

That’s a reminder from Jim Fox, director of NEMAC, the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Taking ideas to meaningful action is the bottom-line test of any plan. And it applies particularly to what is arguably humankind’s biggest challenge ever: the struggle to cope with the impacts of climate change.

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Climate Change Update, Part I: The End is Near (Really)

Back in 2011 when we were emerging from the Great Recession, I wrote an “End Is Near” post about the chance to make use of the crisis.

When you run out of all options except the ones that force you to think big,” I wrote, a little panic could be a good thing: “We are about to be freed to innovate, to become heroes even, by being stripped of comfortable delusions. Chief among them: Faith that somebody else will pick up the tab.”

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