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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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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A new path to code reform

The Users’ Guide to Code Reform leads planners through the code reform process, providing tools for governments lacking the capacity to develop a full form-based code. Continue Reading

Tools to Stop Coming Up Short on Affordable Housing

In the weeks before the Congress for the New Urbanism conference in Savannah, GA, May 15-19, we’re presenting interviews with experts contributing to a day-long exploration of “Affordability: The Intersection of Everything.” A three-hour morning forum on Thursday, May 17, kicks off the discussion, followed by two break-out sessions that afternoon. Below is an interview with Ahmad Abu-Khalaf, research analyst with Enterprise Community Partners. He’ll be on the morning kick-off panel.

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Affordable Housing Finance: Show me the money

In the weeks before the Congress for the New Urbanism conference in Savannah, GA, May 15-19, we’re presenting interviews with experts contributing to a day-long exploration of “Affordability: The Intersection of Everything.” A three-hour morning forum on Thursday, May 17, kicks off the discussion, followed by two break-out sessions that afternoon. Below is an interview with Jeff Staudinger, former Community Development Director for the City of Asheville and currently a consultant in affordable housing finance. He’ll be a panelist in the afternoon session, “New Housing Finance (Mostly) Without the Feds,” at 4 p.m.

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