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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities

Infinite Earth Radio is a weekly podcast produced by Skeo and the Local Government Commission and hosted by Mike Hancox and Vernice Miller-Travis. Each week they interview visionary leaders, dedicated government officials, savvy businesses and forward thinking individuals who are working to build smarter, more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous communities through social and economic inclusion that values the contribution of all citizens and seeks meaningful lives for everyone. You will discover new leading edge strategies for lifting up and building great 21st century communities, along with cutting edge strategies for revitalizing under resourced communities and empowering excluded populations. Smart Growth, Prosperity and Sustainability are not possible without social, civic, and economic inclusion for people of all economic, social, and racial backgrounds.
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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities
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Now displaying: Page 1
Jul 27, 2017

Topic:

Innovative Solutions for Resilient Water Management

In This Episode:

02:43  Guest James Workman in introduced.
03:42  James tells about his book and what motivated him to travel to Africa.
07:13  James shares why he created programming based on what he saw in Africa.
08:50  James describes AquaShares.
11:51  What measures are people taking to reduce their water use?
13:37  James addresses AquaShares’ partners and the incentives for homeowners.
16:43  James informs us of how many people have signed on to participate in the program.
19:07  James expresses what success looks like for this program and for water resilience in general.
23:05  James states where people can go to learn more about AquaShares.

Guest and Organization:

James Workman creates conservation markets for water and marine life. He wrote the award-winning Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought, and is co-author with Amanda Leland of the forthcoming Sea Change: How Fishermen Are Irreversibly Restoring Life Offshore – and On. Workman studied at Yale & Oxford, taught at Wesleyan & Whitman, but his real education came blowing up dams, releasing wolves, restoring wildfires, guiding safaris, smuggling water to dissidents, breaking down in Africa's Kalahari Desert, and becoming a dad. An investigative journalist, he served as White House appointee to U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, later joining the World Commission on Dams under Nelson Mandela. In San Francisco, he writes for Environmental Defense Fund, edits the International Water Association’s magazine, The Source, and is founder of AquaShares Inc., the world’s first online water savings market.

Follow James Workman on Twitter

Take Away Quotes:

“A lot of problems, especially environmental problems, can be solved by regulation alone. You just say, okay, that factory over there is pouring its waste, its sewage, its pollution into the air, into the water; we’ve got to just put a cap on that, lock that. But what do you do with the 50,000 people who are all competing with each other for the same resource? And that’s the tragedy that…makes all, to me, conservation issues interesting.”

“The approach of AquaShares is to give people a sense that they’re not just renting access to as much water as they want, as cheap as they want, but they have an ownership stake, that they’re stewards of that water that they save, and that they can profit from saving water, not just feel good about it.”

“One of the biggest water users in every city is the city itself. There’s lots of water loss, in some cases, 10, 20, 30 percent, and while, for more than a decade or more, utilities have been pointing a finger at families and firms, saying, ‘You should save water, you should save water,’ utilities themselves had real no incentive to spend $100,000 to systematically find and fix their leaks, manage their water pressure, and address that, because it might only save a few thousand dollars’ worth of water.”

“It’s a crazy business model for me, but success is when we go out of business; there’s no need for AquaShares anymore because everyone is autonomous, they’re using the bare-minimum water, there’s nothing left to trade, there’s no more water that can go towards a higher-value use.”

Resources:

AquaShares

Smart Markets

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 1-3, 2018

Jul 20, 2017

Creating Successful Communities Through Positive and Determined Leadership

In This Episode:

  • 02:36 Guest Mayor Rey Leon is introduced.
  • 02:56 Mayor Leon describes his community.
  • 05:54 Mayor Leon tells how long he’s been mayor.
  • 07:16 Mayor Leon conveys what he would like to accomplish during his time as mayor.
  • 19:20 Mayor Leon gives the status of three projects.
  • 21:38 Mayor Leon identifies some of the challenges he faces as a mayor in a small community.

Guest and Organization:

Rey Leon is the Mayor of Huron, California. Leon is also president and founder of ValleyLEAP and a member of the Air Resources Board Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC) in California.

Take Away Quotes:

“Huron is a farm-worker city. It’s got the highest rate of Latinos for an incorporated city in the nation, at the national level. And, of course, it’s a small community, around 7,000 on paper. I venture to say that there’s at least 10,000 residents. We, having an agricultural base and being a farm-worker community, we have a population that good amount of folks that are, I would say, economic refugees… It’s a community that speaks a good nine languages at least, which, to me, is amazing.”

“[A plaza is] just a magical space where you’re able to bond with the rest of the folks in your community, some way, somehow. It’s where young men, young women meet their mates; it’s where entertainment is shared; it’s where farmers’ markets happen; it’s where you do some exercise out there; it’s just ’the’ place.”

“The vision, the goal, my dream, in the period not just as mayor because it was prior to this but as we continue forward whether as mayor or just as a leader that I’ve been even before getting into elected office is making Huron the greenest farm-worker city in the country.”

Resources:

“Changing Huron for the Better”

ValleyLEAP

Jul 13, 2017

Topic:

Carbon and The Paris Agreement

In This Episode:

03:10 Guest Tom Kerr is introduced.
03:26 Tom explains what the World Bank is.
05:00 Tom describes the kind of work that the climate change group does.
07:37 Tom tells of the change he’s seen since Kim Yong became the World Bank’s president.
09:27 Tom speaks of his work at the IFC in engaging the private sector.
12:20 Tom addresses the response to President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
14:11 Tom shares his thoughts on if there will be a ripple effect from the U.S. pulling out of the Agreement.
16:21 Tom conveys if there is a financial-commitment hole that the U.S. will no longer fill with regard to developing countries.
18:43 Tom gives his thoughts about the upcoming bond talks and if ambition will be there.
21:27 Tom provides his sense of where the Trump administration is going to end up with regard to carbon.
22:39 Host Mike and co-host Michael discuss the Paris Agreement.
23:48 Mike states what he noticed this week in the news.
24:31 Michael identifies what he noticed this week in the news.
25:18 Mike and Michael discuss the economy of renewable energy and the Paris Agreement.

Guest and Organization:

Tom Kerr has worked for 20 years designing and implementing public/private efforts that transform markets for resource-efficient climate business solutions. He currently leads the IFC’s private sector climate policy engagement, which involves working with emerging economy governments and major corporations to develop investor- and climate-friendly national strategies; designing coalitions to advance carbon pricing and performance standards; and providing private sector input into international policy processes such as the G20 and the United Nations climate talks.

Mr. Kerr was previously the director of climate change initiatives at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he worked with international organizations, government leaders, and industry executives to advance practical solutions via platforms such as the G20, the United Nations, and the Forum’s Annual Meeting at Davos. While at the Forum, he designed and led the Green Growth Action Alliance, a public-private coalition launched at the 2012 G20 with over 60 leading companies developing solutions to unlock private investment for sustainable growth. From 2006-10, he worked in Paris for the International Energy Agency, leading the development of global reports, including the Technology Roadmap series, the flagship Energy Technology Perspectives publication, and the Clean Energy Progress Report.

Mr. Kerr started his career with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, where he designed and launched a suite of innovative voluntary programs such as Energy STAR, Green Power, and methane programs that today continue to engage thousands of businesses to adopt clean, efficient technologies and practices.

Take Away Quotes:

“Where I sit is the IFC. The International Finance Corporation is the private-sector arm of the Bank, so we work in developing countries, lending to private-sector clients and helping them to find profit in development, and in my particular group, trying to find profit in climate business. So we work across the world and emerging markets to really try to tackle poverty—that’s the main mission; then, development—make it smarter; and then, in my case in particular, we try to make profits out of climate business.”

“[Kim Yong, president of the World Bank] wanted to know what the current problem was, and once he found out, he got quite alarmed and made it a top priority for him personally and raised attention externally and also within the World Bank’s priorities. So, we’ve always been doing this, but he put an increased urgency behind it and really tried to push the agenda.”

“The [Paris] Agreement is…190 plus countries making their own national commitments, and so other than the U.S., we haven’t seen any other governments come forward and say, okay, now I’m reconsidering my pledge. And I think that was also another element to this resilience of the Paris Agreement is that it’s not a top-down process where if one big party, like the U.S., pulls out it completely collapses; but, instead, it’s got all these different commitments that are from the bottom up.”

“I think the biggest worry I have is that we do need to now make good on those pledges that were made in Paris and help those countries really go from a pledge to implementation, to see shovels in the ground and money going out the door to these lower-carbon investments.”

Resources:

World Bank

Jul 6, 2017

Topic:

Using Design to Create Positive Impacts

In This Episode:

01:29 Guest Lynelle Cameron is introduced.
01:39 Lynelle describes Autodesk.
02:48 Lynelle shares her journey to becoming the vice president of Sustainability at Autodesk.
04:06 Lynelle discusses Paul Hawken’s new book, “Drawdown.”
05:17 Lynelle tells about the Autodesk Foundation.
06:41 Lynelle defines the term “design.”
07:08 Lynelle talks about climate change through the lens of design.
09:58 Lynelle states how the Foundation provides support to companies and organizations.
14:03 Lynelle gives examples of organizations that are working domestically on issues of urban design and social and environmental justice.
15:44 Lynelle provides where people can learn more about the Foundation’s work.
16:07 Lynelle explains how investing at an intellectual-capital level has impacted Autodesk and its culture.
19:00 Lynelle speaks to the benefit of Autodesk employees’ ability to make a positive impact in the world.
20:57 Lynelle addresses what the current state of corporate social responsibility is and what the outlook is of sustainability and equity being a part of a business’s core mission.
22:40 Lynelle supplies her thoughts on if the current administration’s roll back of the climate progress that was made will have an impact on the business community.
24:05 Lynelle makes known how people who might benefit from the Autodesk Foundation’s programs can get more information.
25:17 Lynelle mentions if there is an effort to share the lessons, or best practices, that have been learned.

Guest & Organization:

Lynelle Cameron is president and CEO of the Autodesk Foundation and vice president of Sustainability at Autodesk. She established both to invest in and support people who are designing solutions to today's most pressing social and environmental challenges. Under Cameron’s leadership, Autodesk created the Sustainability Workshop, an online learning platform for sustainable design that has reached over 2 million students and professionals worldwide, and launched two software donation programs: the Technology Impact program for nonprofit organizations and the Entrepreneur Impact program for early-stage clean-tech and social-impact companies around the world. Cameron has also led the company in setting ambitious science-based greenhouse-gas-reduction targets, committing to 100 percent renewable energy and integrated reporting. Since Cameron joined nine years ago, Autodesk has received numerous awards for sustainability leadership and innovation. A published author and regular speaker, Cameron has degrees from Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, and Middlebury College.

Take Away Quotes:

“Autodesk is a leading provider of 3D design software that is used to make quite literally anything on the planet. Whether you’re building a car, a highway, a building, or even a whole city, there’s a good chance that you use one of Autodesk’s products.”

“The turning point for me was reading a book called ‘The Ecology of Commerce’ by Paul Hawken, and that’s when I realized to really make the kind of transformative change that I was looking for, I needed to go work from within the private sector.”

“We launched the Autodesk Foundation about three years ago, and we have historically as a company always given back to communities where we work. So the idea of philanthropy was not new for the company, although the actual foundation is … As a foundation, we invest in people and organizations who are using design to address, initially, a whole range of social and environmental challenges.”

“Design is the creation, the idea, and then the actual making of anything, quite literally, on the planet…it’s all about imagining and creating things that, in our mind, are going to make the world a better place for billions of people.”

Resources:

Autodesk

Jun 29, 2017

Topic:

Adjusting to the Rapid Pace of Change

In This Episode:

02:20 Guest Carl Guardino is introduced.
03:03 Carl talks about what is being done to stay relevant in technology and innovation.
05:45 Carl describes what leaders can do to be resilient and to continue to come up with innovative ideas.
08:05 Carl informs us if this administration’s tax reform proposal is where we need to go in response to the changing economy.
09:06 Carl shares if this administration is more responsive in terms of listening to the business community.
12:34 How has congestion impacted business in Silicon Valley, and how have you responded?
16:34 How are you addressing the housing crisis, and how is it impacting local businesses?
18:40 Carl speaks about the region’s response to the evolving workforce.
21:41 Carl shares what cities can do to retain and attract businesses.
25:10 Carl describes what current leaders should do to prepare and what types of innovation are on the horizon.
27:21 Kate shares what caught her attention during Carl’s interview.
28:28 Mike supplies what caught his attention.
29:14 Kate mentions what she noticed this week in the news.
33:15 Mike talks about what he read this week in the news.

Guest and Organization:

Carl Guardino, one of Silicon Valley’s most distinguished business and community leaders, is the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a public policy trade association that represents nearly 400 of Silicon Valley’s most respected employers.

In February 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Guardino to a four-year term on the California Transportation Commission, and he has been reappointed twice by Governor Jerry Brown. Known throughout the region as a consensus builder, Guardino has championed a number of successful ballot measures, especially in the areas of transportation and housing.

Guardino was born and raised in San Jose and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from San Jose State University, where he is a Distinguished Alumnus. Carl is married to Leslee Guardino. In their spare time, they compete in marathons, triathlons, and duathlons.

Take Away Quotes:

“What we try to explain to executives constantly is, we have a choice as executives: we can be engaged, or we can be enraged. And it’s much more productive and positive to actually be engaged with policymakers making incredibly difficult decisions in their difficult processes. And we, again, try to remind executives, if you’re just going to sit on the sidelines and be frustrated and wring your hands, not only are you not going to be successful in explaining to policymakers the ramifications of a product or services, but you are probably going to end up as dinner rather than at the dinner table when those decisions are made.”

“It has been since 1986 — 31 years ago — since our federal government has made major changes in federal tax law. Thirty-one years ago. eBay didn’t exist, PayPal didn’t exist, Google didn’t exist, Facebook didn’t exist…Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft — none of those companies even existed let alone a twinkling in our eye of the technologies that they would be creating, and the tax laws haven’t changed in a major way in this nation for three decades.”

“In the Silicon Valley and Bay Area, when we ask individuals about the concerns they talk about in their living rooms, or we’re asking CEOs and senior officers about the concerns that they face as companies here in the region in their boardrooms, the common themes are the same, and they’re the flip side of the same coin: housing and traffic.”

“When it comes to education, we always try to remember in Silicon Valley, it’s cradle through career; from the moment we’re born to the moment we retire, we have to focus on education.”

Resources:

Silicon Valley Leadership Group

 

Jun 22, 2017

Topic:

The People's Climate March, the Economy, and Policy Making

In This Episode:

01:40 Vernice Miller Travis is introduced.
02:14 Vernice tells about the Climate March.
04:50 Vernice gives her thoughts regarding the amount of press coverage of the Climate March.
07:23 Vernice describes the impacts of the various recent marches.
10:55 Is there evidence of impact on the direction the government is taking?
12:13 Vernice shares if there will be a change for various groups who have overlapping agendas but who don’t work well together.
16:58 Are we doing enough to overcome “tribalism”? Or are we working with other “tribes” just because it’s expedient?
25:35 Mike speaks about the modern economy.
26:48 Vernice talks about the possibility of future climate marches.

Guest and Organization:

Infinite Earth Radio Co-host Vernice Miller Travis is a nationally recognized expert in brownfields redevelopment, community revitalization, collaborative problem solving, multi-stakeholder design and planning and environmental justice.

Her interests have focused on economic and environmental restoration and the inclusion of low-income, people of color and indigenous communities in environmental and economic decision making at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels. Vernice enjoys listening to and singing gospel music, visiting her family in the Bahamas, traveling with her husband, and eating Maryland blue crabs and barbecue.

Take Away Quotes:

“There’s an initiative that is training young people, particularly young women of color, to run for elective office…it’s really to get a new generation of people engaged in the electoral process and to really put themselves out there, because a lot of the hard-core politics of our country, particularly the electoral national politics, have really rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and really pushed a lot of good people away from ever thinking that they may run for office, whether it’s a local school board or a county council or a planning commission or, certainly, any higher office than that. People like, ‘I don’t want to be a part of that;’ but if they’re not a part of that, you get folks in office, making decisions that actually adversely hurt people.”

“You cannot continue to operate and try to affect national policy by representing the top 10% of wage earners and mostly affluent and middle-class white communities—-those are not the only communities in the United States—-and if you want to have broad-based impact, you’ve really got to reach a much broader, much deeper constituency that really is activating and doing things and trying to drive change in their local communities.”

“We talk about shutting down coal-fired power plants, but I don’t hear any environmentalists talking about what happens to the people who work in the power plants, or who work feeding the stock digging the coal.”

Jun 15, 2017

Topic:

The Future of Cycling as a Mode of Transportation

In This Episode:

01:59 Guest Carlton Reid is introduced.
02:49 Carlton explains the history of the bike boom.
07:24 Carlton tells why there was a bike boom in the early ’70s.
09:18 Carlton talks about cycling as a mode of transportation, not just for recreation.
10:32 Carlton informs us of the degree to which bicycling is popular in the U.S.
13:07 Carlton addresses the percentage of modal sharing in the Netherlands compared to the U.S.
14:34 Carlton discusses having the bicycle infrastructure be more favored than the auto infrastructure.
19:58 Carlton mentions his support for cycleways.
22:05 Carlton gives his thoughts on the unpopularity of cycling among women, ethnic minorities, and the urban poor.
24:21 Carlton addresses Mike’s comment about the trend that may reverse the number of cars on the road and individual car ownership.
27:20 Carlton answers the question, what is the future of biking?

Guest and Organization:

Carlton Reid is executive editor of BikeBiz magazine and is writing a book about the recent history of roads. He is author of Roads Were Not Built For Cars and Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling. He also writes adventure travel articles for publications such as National Geographic Traveller and The Guardian – his forte is cycle touring. Founder and rider-manager of the first ever British mountain bike team – which competed in the World Championships in France in 1987 –Reid was inducted into the MBUK Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2008, one of the first 20 inductees. He has ridden solo in the Sahara and Kalahari deserts and, from his mountain bike in 1994, he researched the first guidebook to Lebanon since the end of that country’s civil war.

A digital native, Reid’s then one-man website BikeBiz.com tied for second with BBC.co.uk in theEuropean Online Journalism Awards of 2000. Working for the Bicycle Association of Great Britain he also commissioned the world’s first cycle-specific 3D satellite navigation, which has since been through a number of upgrades and can now direct cyclists on bike paths via beeps and wrist-buzzes on the Apple Watch.

Take Away Quotes:

“I would say the book is very much more interested in the advocacy side of cycling, the getting around as an everyday form of transport form of cycling, because at the end of the day, that’s actually what keeps cycling afloat.”

“Cities who want to increase their cycling modal share have, pretty much, got to bite the bullet and restrict the use of motoring.”

“It’s inescapable that many communities don’t see the bicycle as an aspirational form of transport; it’s very much the opposite of an aspirational form of transport. The white, hipster cycling thing is a thing because it’s genuinely a thing. Cycling, for some strange reason, now is this relatively middle-class, white activity.”

Resources:

Island Press Urban Resilience Project

Island Press – Bike Boom

Bike Biz

Bike Boom

Jun 8, 2017

The State of Carbon Pricing

In This Episode:

05:41 Michael tells what brought him to working on carbon pricing.
08:12 Michael addresses how people would feel the impact of a carbon tax.
10:38 How would putting a price on carbon play out?
12:17 Michael comments on the cost of carbon pricing.
13:19 How is carbon pricing implemented at the state level?
14:38 Is there a proposal in the state of Massachusetts to implement carbon pricing?
16:00 How close is Massachusetts to implementing the proposal?
17:18 Michael shares if other states or governmental entities have passed putting a price on carbon.
19:37 Michael states how close the vote was in the state of Washington.
20:26 Michael explains how British Columbia’s system works.
23:06 Michael indicates if any of the proposals in Massachusetts are modeled after the one in British Columbia.
23:42 How does Massachusetts compare with other states in relation to passing carbon pricing?
25:08 Michael addresses the concern of making a state less competitive than others.
26:32 What is California’s stance on carbon pricing?
27:42 Michael gives his thoughts on where we’ll first get some form of carbon pricing.
29:50 Michael shares what he noticed this week in the news.
31:12 Mike tells what he noticed this week in the news.

Guest/CoHost:

Michael Green is the Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA). He is also co-host here on Infinite Earth Radio. Michael is a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action and has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management and Harvard Business School’s CORe Program.

Organization:

Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is a membership-based organization in Boston, Massachusetts, that helps businesses take targeted action on climate change. We provide our member businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within their business on sustainability efforts, political advocacy and building a community of shared values.

Take Away Quotes:

“My original goal, going into college, was that I wanted to be a forest ranger. I’m from upstate New York and really wanted to be working out and preserving our forests and the Adirondack mountains. As I learned more about the challenges of climate change, I realized that being way out in the woods wasn’t going to be enough to really protect our natural habitat.”

“If people are starting to respond to a carbon tax because it’s already implemented, then, essentially, we’re losing the fight already because what it’s going to mean is it’s going to mean more expensive reliance on fossil fuels. So for those who are not able to make the transition, or are not willing to make the transition, they’re going to see an increase in cost.”

“We’re also going to create huge market signals for renewable-energy development and financiers who are questioning whether or not these transition technologies and opportunities stand to gain financially over time. So as much as we would see a price on our fossil-fuel reliance, at the same time you’re going to see a rapid decrease in cost in other technologies and other opportunities.”

“The number-one challenge that they faced wasn’t from the fossil-fuel industry, it wasn’t from conservative lawmakers, or climate deniers; it was actually from the Left. It was various groups that were concerned about making sure that the ballot initiative was written in a way that would be the most equitable way of going about putting a price on carbon.”

Resources:

Climate Action Business Association

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 65: #Carbon Series: Conservative Republicans Propose a Carbon Tax, with Catrina Rorke

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 70: Years of Living Dangerously, with Camila Thorndike

Jun 1, 2017

Topic:

Broadband Access in Rural Communities

In This Episode:

02:04 Mike gives a recap of last week’s podcast episode.
03:53 Guest Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is introduced.
04:51 Cecilia talks about why the issue of broadband is important to her.
06:19 Cecilia speaks of the relationship between under-connected communities and Internet access.
07:55 Cecilia informs us about AB-1665, the broadband-access bill.
10:42 Cecilia discusses if she’s in federal-level discussions regarding infrastructure services in rural areas.
12:49 Cecilia expresses the role that broadband plays in agriculture.
14:33 Cecilia shares the application she sees in helping people access state government in relation to smart-city applications and open-data portals.
16:10 Cecilia states her thoughts on how to continue innovation in smart technology, without leaving rural communities behind.
17:55 Cecilia addresses the decline of retail.
22:39 Kate shares what she noticed this week in the news.
25:54 Mike states what he noticed this week in the news.

CoHost:

Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Guest & Organization:

Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is an American politician who has been elected to the California State Assembly. She is a Democrat representing the 4th Assembly District, encompassing Wine Country and parts of the Sacramento Valley.

Cecilia grew up in western Yolo County and has long served her community. After going to school and working in the Bay Area for several years, she moved back to her hometown of Winters where she almost immediately became active in the local community and a regional leader on several issues. She first served as planning commissioner and then was elected to the city council eventually serving as the first female mayor of Winters.

While growing up, Cecilia was surrounded by agriculture. As a youth, she cut apricots in the packing shed and helped her father in the walnut orchards in the area. She is still involved in local agriculture to this day as she and her brothers own an 80-acre walnut orchard.

Take Away Quotes:

“It was really important for me to make sure that the families had the digital literacy training. I didn’t want anybody, ever, left behind, and I don’t think anybody in a rural community, as well as urban community, should be left behind and not be able to be part of the digital age.”

“People always said, well, in a rural community, you don’t have, necessarily, an educated population to be able to take on this digital literacy. I say that’s wrong. And the problem is that you’re not exposed to these opportunities. So bringing this kind of education to the forefront in our schools, in our libraries, in our community, is really important to all of us — it helps with the economic development, it helps with telehealth, it helps with so many things.”

“We wanted to make sure that the rural communities were connected, because it’s very easy to say the state of California, 95 percent of the people had Internet capabilities, but quite frankly, that 95 percent could be just taken up with the populations of the San Diegos, the Los Angeles’, the Silicon Valleys, the San Franciscos — the bigger communities — but rural communities weren’t included in that, so on this bill, it was really important that we included rural communities had to have the connectivity the same as 98 percent as everyone else had throughout the state.”

“Many people know that I farm 80 acres of walnuts, with my brothers, outside of Winters…now a lot of the requirements is that everything has to be filed electronically. Well, lo and behold, at our ranch, we have really, really poor connectivity where we can’t even get some of the forms over to the government agencies for filings. So it’s really vital to the future of agriculture that we have this Internet capabilities. For example, many of the farmers are now replanting their orchards, or they’re planting new orchards, and we really need to monitor water more precisely. Obviously, it helps with the conservation of water, but we can do a lot of that via the Internet if we had the capabilities as some of these areas.”

Resources:

Cecilia Aguiar – Curry

AB-1665 Telecommunications: California Advanced Services Fund

Winters, California

May 25, 2017

Topic:

Broadband Access Impacts Environment, Health, Agriculture, and Jobs

In This Episode:

01:20 Co-host Kate Meis is introduced.
02:04 Kate talks about the Local Government Commission.
03:11 Kate shares the LGC’s upcoming events.
05:00 Kate makes known the next two podcast guests and what the podcast topics will be.
06:43 Mike mentions that access to broadband is a national issue.
07:56 Kate comments about how cutting some of the services in the infrastructure makes broadband access that much more important.
09:47 Guest Trish Kelly is introduced.
11:23 Trish tells how she became involved in the broadband-access issue.
12:18 Trish gives some statistics on who’s being left behind in the digital divide.
13:50 Trish defines the term “underserved.”
14:32 Trish informs us of the demographic breakdown of underserved communities.
16:22 Trish conveys the economic-development impacts of the rapid changes in the job force.
19:11 Trish highlights the connection between broadband and the environment.
22:21 Trish comments on the use of technology in agriculture.
24:38 Trish states some steps to position communities for job opportunities.
27:07 Trish supplies what we should be asking from our community leaders.
29:34 Trish speaks to the accessibility of information and people feeling more connected in their community.
31:52 Trish tells how people can learn more about her work.
32:46 Kate provides what she noticed this week in the news.
36:42 Mike adds his thoughts to Kate’s observations from this week.

CoHost:

Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Guest & Organization:

Trish Kelly is the Managing Director of Valley Vision. Trish joined Valley Vision as Senior Vice President in 2014, having been involved with Valley Vision on several projects over the years. As a consultant, Trish has contributed to Valley Vision initiatives in such areas as regional food systems and agriculture, broadband, economic vitality, and quality of life indicators. She is managing Valley Vision’s agriculture and food system projects and the Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium, and is supporting other Valley Vision regional leadership efforts. Trish has a passion for projects that provide strong research and accessible information as the basis for engaging community leaders, stakeholders and partner organizations in collaborative, solution-driven strategies that will ensure a Triple-Bottom Line for the region – with shared opportunity, environmental quality and economic prosperity for all.

Valley Vision is a leadership organization dedicated to making the Sacramento region a great place to live, work, and recreate.

Take Away Quotes:

“In the 21st century, high-speed Internet access is no longer a luxury amenity but rather an essential service for homes and businesses in this interconnected world. No other technology has produced as much innovation, competition, and economic growth.”—Congressional letter to the new administration

“I started this process more than 10 years ago. We were working with the governor’s cabinet, looking at issues that really impeded or affected rural economic vitality, and broadband kept coming up as the number-one issue. So that led to a series of activities which have culminated, for many of us in the regions, in a program that’s supported through the Public Utilities Commission, that provides funding for regional broadband consortium and then also funding for infrastructure and other opportunities to help meet our infrastructure gaps.”

“Every year there’s a public survey that tracks overall adoption and infrastructure deployment across our regions and across the state. So we are making progress. But we know, for instance, a recent survey by the Public Utility Commission showed that only 47 percent of our rural areas have the same Internet access as urban areas. So that’s a huge divide. In our region, we looked at the grades, using Public Utility’s data, on our infrastructure in four of our counties that make up our consortium, and the grades ranged from C- to F+. So, clearly, we’re very far behind.”

“‘Underserved’ might mean that you don’t have enough competition in service, so your service might be unreliable; it might be too cost prohibitive. You might not have access to the technologies that you need to connect; maybe you’re connecting by a cell phone, but you don’t have access to a computer, so you can’t write a paper for school on a computer, or it’s very hard to do a job search, or it’s very hard to get healthcare services online. So we have a lot of variations of what ‘underserved’ looks like.”

“The data shows, through the PUC and other surveys, that the hard-to-serve markets or the underserved markets include high levels of poverty, economically disadvantaged, people who have disabilities, communities of color, and then we also have challenges in some of our older neighborhoods and our kind of industrial parks or job centers. Those are areas that didn’t have forward-leading broadband infrastructure.”

Resources:

Valley Vision

Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium

May 18, 2017

Topic:

Incorporating Public Health Considerations in the Local Government Planning Process

In This Episode:

02:40 Co-host Paul Zykofsky is introduced.
02:48 Guests Miguel Vazquez and Erik Calloway are introduced.
03:10 Miguel tells how he came to be working on healthy-communities issues.
04:13 Erik tells how he came to be working on healthy-communities issues.
05:02 Erik describes ChangeLab Solutions.
05:41 Miguel describes the Riverside University Health System-Public Health (RUHS-PH).
09:09 Miguel shares about the National Healthy Communities Platform.
09:44 Erik expresses why there’s a need for a National Healthy Communities Platform.
11:13 Erik evaluates the state of the healthy-communities movement.
12:25 Miguel gives his evaluation of the state of the healthy-communities movement.
13:42 Miguel identifies what he hopes will come out of the National Healthy Communities Platform.
15:04 Erik comments on the breakdowns of the social limitations of health.
15:51 Erik supplies his recommendations of how to get started to address the issues of the social limitations of health.
18:30 Miguel states the challenges that will be encountered as the healthy-communities movement is pushed forward.
20:45 Erik states the challenges that will be encountered as the healthy-communities movement is pushed forward.

CoHost:

Paul Zykofsky directs the Local Government Commission’s (LGC) programs related to land use and transportation planning, community design, and health and the built environment. In the past 20 years, he has worked with over 300 communities to improve conditions for infill development, walking, bicycling, and transit. Mr. Zykofsky provides technical assistance to communities throughout the nation on issues related to smart growth, infill development, transit-oriented development, street and sidewalk design, health and the built environment, and public participation in the planning process. Mr. Zykofsky is a co-author of Building Livable Communities: A Policymaker’s Guide to Transit Oriented Development and Emergency Response: Traffic Calming and Traditional Neighborhood Streets. In 2006, Mr. Zykofsky co-wrote (with Dan Burden of Walkable Communities) the section on “walkability” in the American Planning Association’s Planning and Urban Design Standards.

Guests & Organizations:

As a senior planner at ChangeLab Solutions, Erik Calloway focuses on the links between the built environment and health. He conducts research, prepares strategies, and develops tools to help communities support healthy living and sustainability. Prior to joining ChangeLab Solutions, Erik worked for 13 years as an urban design consultant. He has led multidisciplinary teams on streetscape and public space design, district and corridor restructuring, city planning, neighborhood development, and downtown revitalization projects.

Learn More About Erik

Miguel Vazquez, currently serves as the Healthy Communities Planner for the Riverside University Health System-Public Health (RUHS-PH) (formerly known as Riverside County Department of Public Health) in California. Our work directly impacts the quality of life of 2.2 million people living in 28 cities and the unincorporated area of Riverside County. For the past five years, my leadership role has focused on the integration of planning and health through policy, programs and outreach.

Learn More About Miguel’s Career Journey as a Planner

Take Away Quotes:

“My journey has been kind of strange in a sense that I’m an urban planner, but urban planners typically don’t work for public-health departments. Now, a conference like the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference has provided an open door for everyone to understand each other, so my boss saw that connection of public health and planning, and at some point he decided to hire a planner. So, somebody said, hey, there’s an opportunity, would you be interested in applying for it; so I went for it, and here I am.”—Miguel

“ChangeLab Solutions is a nonprofit organization. Our mission is healthier communities through law and policy. And so we work…to help communities integrate health into their everyday actions of planning—land-use planning, community outreach, complete streets. So we do model policies, we do technical assistance, and we help communities build their own capacity to transform themselves.”—Erik

“In Riverside County, we’re responsible for the health of 2.3 million people, and the statistics have shown that 63 percent of our deaths are related to mainly three major conditions: they have to do with cancer, respiratory conditions, and diabetes. And they are correlated to three behaviors—behaviors are actually given by the places in which you live, work, play, and learn—and they are how much physical activity you have, access to healthy foods and vegetables and clean water, and smoking.”—Miguel

“I think that a National Healthy Communities Platform can provide some clarity to those various sectors—development sector, planning…health departments—so that the actions that they do, they’re aware of what other sectors play, what role that they play, in supporting their own outcomes so that everybody, when they’re doing their work, can all be aligned and heading in the same direction.”—Erik

Resources:

Climate X Change – Carbon Pricing Awareness Raffle – Buy a Raffle Ticket!

Health in All Policies

ChangeLab Solutions

Riverside University Health System-Public Health

May 11, 2017

Topic:

Coal, Coal-Fired Power Plants, and the Impacts on Communities

In This Episode:

01:58 Mike shares information about Island Press.
03:18 Mike mentions what will be covered in today’s podcast.
05:15 Vernice identifies why the EPA was focused on regulating the emissions from coal-fired power plants.
10:50 Guest Jacqueline Patterson is introduced.
11:31 Jacqueline defines the term “urban resiliency.”
12:49 Jacqueline shares what she thinks motivated the NAACP to create the energy and climate-justice program.
14:34 Jacqueline tells of the reactions she gets for the NAACP taking on environmental issues.
15:53 Jacqueline expresses if there is a legal advantage to looking at environmental issues as a civil-rights issue.
17:02 Jacqueline tells about the NAACP’s “Coal Blooded” report.
19:41 Jacqueline conveys her thoughts on the seeming lack of conversation around the negative impacts on communities of color and people living near power plants.
21:30 Jacqueline discusses why uninterrupted energy service should be looked at as a civil-rights issue.
25:35 Jacqueline addresses how to alleviate the hardship for people who can’t pay their utility bill.
28:55 Jacqueline states the accomplishments she’d like to see in the public-policy conversation.
31:14 Mike shares what he noticed this week in the news.
32:10 Vernice conveys what caught her attention this week in the news.

Guest/Organization:

Jacqueline Patterson is the Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. She has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘ s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Patterson served as a Senior Women’ s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she integrated a women’ s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV & AIDS.

Environmental injustice, including the proliferation of climate change, has a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world. The NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program was created to support community leadership in addressing this human and civil rights issue.

Take Away Quotes:

“The reason that EPA was so focused on trying to regulate the emissions from coal-fired power plants is that those emissions create huge pollution issues that then create and trigger huge public-health challenges…the combustion of coal has a lot of adverse impacts.”

“Resilience, I guess in any context…would be the ability of a community to withstand disturbances, basically, to life and living. And as we define resilience in our work as a civil- and human-rights organization, we look at the structural inequities that make certain communities more vulnerable—whether it’s disasters or sea-level rise or other types of shifts—and as we build resilience, it includes eliminating those vulnerabilities.”

“Communities of color; low-income communities; women, to some extent; and other groups are being disproportionately impacted by the environmental injustices—whether it’s exposure to toxins, air pollution, water pollution, land contamination, etc.—to the effect that these communities do hold these pre-existing vulnerabilities that make them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, extreme weather events, shifts to the agricultural yields, etc.”

“The price of poverty should never be death.”

Resources:

Island Press

Urban Resilience Project

NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program

Coal Blooded Report

Lights Out in the Cold: Reforming Utility Shut-Off Policies as if Human Rights Matter

May 4, 2017

Topic:

Putting a Price on Carbon

In This Episode:

01:37 Co-host Michael Green is introduced.
02:23 Mike and Michael talk about “Years of Living Dangerously.”
04:50 Mike and Michael mention the Put a Price on It campaign.
06:44 Guest Camila Thorndike is introduced.
07:22 Camila shares the origin and goal of Put a Price on It.
08:39 Camila describes how the partnership with the “Years of Living Dangerously” team came about.
12:12 Camila reflects on carbon-pricing stories that she’s heard.
17:53 Camila expresses if celebrity involvement is an advantage in terms of communicating the climate-crisis message.
21:42 Camila states her response to the question, “What can I do?”
26:30 Camila tells where people can go to connect with Our Climate and Put a Price on It.
28:33 Camila provides how she stays positive during the climate-change issue.
32:06 Michael identifies what in the news caught his eye this week in the news.
33:40 Mike conveys what caught his eye this week in the news.

Guest:

Camila Thorndike has been an environmental advocate and social entrepreneur for 10 years. At Whitman College, she led the largest campus club and founded a tri-college leadership network. After graduating with honors in 2010, Camila directed outreach for a regional urban planning project in Arizona; advanced green jobs for the mayor of D.C.; worked at the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution; and co-founded COAL, a nationwide musical theater project about fossil fuels. She is a Udall Scholar, Fellow of the Center for Diversity and the Environment, Sitka Fellow, Mic50 Awardee, and member of the 2016 class of the Young Climate Leaders Network.

Organization:

Our Climate mobilizes and empowers the generations most affected by climate change to pass inclusive, science-based climate policy through creative civic engagement.

Take Away Quotes:

“It takes a lot of education and encouragement to make sure that young people, especially, feel confident advocating for the policy, but once they’re hooked, it’s amazing what they’ve been pulling off.”

“We’re finally getting more creative in how we bring people in, and there’s nothing more powerful than story. It’s not unique to the efforts around carbon pricing, but I think the climate and sustainability movements as a whole have really gotten the memo that you can’t just broadcast facts and figures and graphs and charts—it won’t resonate emotionally—and that when you don’t have that emotional link, then you can’t expect folks to prioritize this above their grocery list or paying the bills or whatever it might be.”

“Something that young people everywhere need to realize is that you don’t wait until some magical moment—that you have this right title or the right position—to speak out on something that you care about. It is actually your youth and your perspective of being in the most imperiled generation and facing down the barrel of this gun that is the core message that will resonate and move the rest of society, and, in fact, if you don’t speak out, you’re missing this incredible opportunity which is going to fade with time.”

“…more and more people are waking up and taking action, and I think that comes from refusing to take no as an answer and doing the hard work of honing your skills and your knowledge base and, again, making use of this precious time that we have when we’re alive on this earth to advance something that we believe in, whether or not we win. The victory is not guaranteed, but the effort is in your hands.”

Resources:

Our Climate

Years of Living Dangerously

Watch Years of Living Dangerously

Find #putapriceonit online

Follow #putapriceonit on Facebook

Apr 27, 2017

Topic:

The Importance of Play in Our Society

In This Episode:

01:50 Aisha Alexander is introduced.
02:02 Aisha shares what KaBOOM! is.
02:40 Aisha provides why play opportunities are so important.
04:06 Aisha explains why access to play is an issue.
06:02 Aisha describes the Play Everywhere Challenge.
09:08 Aisha states how people can learn more about KaBOOM! and the Play Everywhere Challenge.
09:38 Mike comments how playspaces have dual benefits.
10:16 Aisha expresses how kids are indicator species for cities.

Guest/Organization:

Aisha Alexander is a Director of External Affairs for KaBOOM!, where she leads efforts promote the creation of kid-friendly cities. She attended Hampton University, where she earned her BA in English and Early Childhood Education; and Temple University, earning a Master of Social Work, concentrating in Community and Policy Practice. Before joining KaBOOM!, she worked in municipal government, most recently for the City of Charlotte, where she managed the city’s neighborhood improvement programs. Aisha is an expert in community engagement, neighborhood quality of life and social sector innovation.

Take Away Quotes:

“KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization that’s committed to making sure that all kids have the access to the play opportunities they need to thrive.”

“There’s lots of reasons that play is really important. Number one, we believe that play is a fundamental right of childhood; it is the work of children.”

“We realized through our community-built playgrounds that we could not address the problem at scale, and so we worked with Ideas42, a behavioral research firm, to figure out what are the barriers to play, and when we looked at those barriers, we found out that what needs to happen to be able to give access to all kids is to really make play everywhere.”

“We really wanted to have this Play Everywhere Challenge to help spur these types of ideas of how you can infuse play into everyday spaces where kids and families are already spending time.”

Resources:

Play Everywhere Challenge

The Play Everywhere Playbook

KaBOOM

Apr 20, 2017

Topic:

Expanding the Conversation of Community Resiliency

In This Episode:

01:50 Co-host Kif Scheuer is introduced.
01:54 Guest John Zeanah is introduced.
02:05 John shares how he became involved in community resiliency
04:20 John explains what he thinks the word resiliency means.
05:31 John informs how communities across and within jurisdictional boundaries are responding to resiliency.
09:58 John relates the kind of conversation that takes place within the community he works in.
14:40 John comments on energy-cost burdens and how costs are factored into response strategies.
18:09 John tells if resiliency is just another word for disaster preparedness.
20:29 John addresses how to have the conversation of investing money for the benefit of something that won’t happen, like a flood.
23:28 John identifies the pieces of his plan that will continue beyond the grant.
27:07 John mentions how people can look at his plan.

Guest/Organization:

John Zeanah is the Deputy Director of the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development. In this role, Mr. Zeanah assists the direction of planning functions including land use, comprehensive planning, sustainability and resilience, transportation, housing, and development services. Prior to this role, Mr. Zeanah served in the roles of program manager and administrator for the Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability, coordinating various program areas including energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, green infrastructure, and sustainable food systems. Recently, Mr. Zeanah led the development of the Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Plan, a unified vision for a regional network of green space connecting across the Greater Memphis area, and Shelby County's Greenprint for Resilience initiative, which received over $60 million in HUD's National Disaster Resilience Competition. Mr. Zeanah holds a BA in Political Science from Rhodes College and a Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of Memphis.

Take Away Quotes:

“I think the evolution of resilience is pushing people to think beyond just, how do you bounce back from a flood, or how do you build back from a hurricane, but also as you’re building back, as you’re bouncing back, how are you doing that in a way that’s addressing so many of the social and economic issues that your community may face.”

“I don’t know that the way that we’ve thought about disaster preparedness as a practice has taken in, at least to the degree that we’ve seen in the last few years around resilience, this concept of focusing on co-benefits, focusing on the multiple benefits, and ensuring that what we do around a preparedness initiative or project in a community has benefits throughout the year.”

“My advice for any community out there is think about when you have a disaster, whether it’s a flood or something else, what are the systems that have to get in place to be able to prevent damage from happening? What are the cleanup efforts that have to take place? What’s the dollar value of those things?”

Resources:

Learn More about Shelby County’s Resilience Efforts

Resilient Shelby – Resilience Plan

Shelby County Planning and Development

Mid-South Regional Greenprint

Apr 13, 2017

Topic:

Sales Tax Issues and Impacts

In This Episode:

02:27 Guests Bob Lewis, Jim Brasfield, and Sarah Coffin are introduced.
02:57 Jim shares why he’s interested in sales tax and distribution equity.
03:18 Bob tells why he’s interested in sales tax and distribution equity.
03:52 Bob talks about his role as Principal at Development Strategies.
04:13 Sarah speaks about why she’s interested in sales tax and distribution equity.
04:55 Bob gives his view of what sales tax distribution equity is.
06:13 Jim explains where sales tax money goes and what it pays for.
08:15 Sarah shares what the negatives of sales tax distribution are.
09:43 Bob speaks about how the sales tax system drives land-use decisions.
11:30 Who decides who is a point-of-sale city?
12:54 Mike speaks of the incentives for more commercial development than housing development.
13:51 Sarah comments about the zoning decisions made by local governments and the affordable-housing issue.
14:48 How do we fix the problem of poorer communities going to rich communities to shop and the rich communities taking the sales tax?
16:26 Is there any property tax sharing or is it just the sales tax?
17:31 Mike mentions the challenges of too many local governments and overlapping jurisdictions.
18:02 Bob adds to the conversation of sharing the costs.
18:55 Sarah reflects on how St. Louis County supports its cultural districts.
20:23 Are there any words of wisdom for other parts of the country that aren’t doing sales tax sharing?

Guests/Organizations:

Sarah Coffin is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Development at the Center for Sustainability at Saint Louis University. Learn more about Sarah and her research here.

Bob Lewis is the Principal at Development Strategies. Learn more about Bob.

Jim Brasfield is a Professor Emeritus at the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University. Learn more about Jim.

Take Away Quotes:

“In St. Louis County, when you buy something at a store, depending on the kind of city you live in, the money goes in a pool and is distributed to other cities around the county, or if you are in a city that is a point-of-sales city, it means that most, but not all, of the money goes to that particular city. And one of the unique things about St. Louis County, and I think fairly unique in the country, is that the point-of-sale cities share about twenty percent of the total revenue collected in sales tax with other cities in the county on a per capita sharing.”

“The jobs-housing mismatch is a challenge for St. Louis, and some of the research I’ve done on tax increment financing (TIF), those communities that are wealthier communities, that are low-minority, low-poverty communities, are the one’s that…use their TIF tool for retail, to promote retail sales, which is then those large clusters of low-wage jobs, which are the jobs that a lot of the poor people need, but they’re located further out in the county, whereas in the poorer communities, the more distressed communities tend to focus on residential TIFs and mixed-use TIFs that have a high degree of residential use.”

“It was a tough political battle to ultimately get the sharing, but I think in that instance, both sides had to be willing to compromise, and that’s something that these days in politics seems to be in short supply as people stake out their positions. But as someone who was involved in that discussion leading to the sharing, there was a willingness on both sides to sit down and discuss it and find a middle ground, and I think that’s a key to this and other decisions is that you can’t sit in an ivory tower someplace and say this is what’s best; you’ve got to work with the local people and try to develop some kind of consensus, even if that means you don’t get everything that you would like to get.”

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 52: Affordable Housing and Employment Patterns in the San Francisco Bay Area (Re-release), with Dr. Chris Benner

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 65: #Carbon Series: Conservative Republicans Propose a Carbon Tax, with Catrina Rorke

Development Strategies

George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University

 

Apr 6, 2017

Topic:

Making Sure All People Have Access to Affordable Food

In This Episode:

02:16 Mike gives the topic that will be addressed in today’s episode.
02:38 Julia Freedgood is introduced.
02:47 Julia tells about the American Farmland Trust.
03:08 Julia shares why farmland and food equity are important.
04:19 Julia explains what food equity is.
05:40 Julia discloses if food insecurity is a real problem.
06:50 Julia reflects on what needs to be done to attack the problem of food insecurity.
09:08 Julia gives examples of communities that are making progress in the issue of food insecurity.
11:28 Julia provides information regarding the content on the Growing Food Connections website.
13:44 Julia indicates how to get access to the Community Guide to Planning for Agriculture and Food Systems.
15:00 Julia identifies some of the issues that are creating an obstacle to food security and food equity.
19:45 Julia communicates what the average person can do to be supportive of more food security for other people.
23:23 Mike mentions the book “The New Grand Strategy.”

Guest:

Julia Freedgood is the Assistant Vice President of Programs for the American Farmland Trust and oversees federal, state and local program and policy efforts to support farmland protection and agricultural viability.

Organization:

American Farmland Trust is dedicated to preserving the nation's farm and ranch land – and critical natural resources like soil and water. They also make sure to never forget that it is people – our family farmers and ranchers – who feed us and sustain America.

Take Away Quotes:

“The American Farmland Trust is a national nonprofit organization. We were founded in 1980 to protect farmland for farming, so our mission is to save the land that sustains us by protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land.”

“For us, in the context of the project that I was talking about, which is a project American Farmland Trust is part of called Growing Food Connections, and the goal of that project is to strengthen community food systems by supporting small and midsize farmers who are growing food within their communities and regions, and also by improving food access, food security, or food equity. And so for the food-equity piece, we’re really looking at making sure that all people in a community have access to affordable food that’s culturally appropriate, the kind of food they’re familiar with and like to eat, and that it’s readily available.”

“Fifty million people in the country are affected by food insecurity, and so that means lack of access to food on a regular basis. It doesn’t mean that they’re starving, necessarily, but it does mean that they don’t have food access every day, three meals a day, healthy food. It’s gotten a little bit better in the last few years, but it’s still worse than it was before the Great Recession, and it’s still a problem that we need to work on. And you find it especially in low-wealth communities and communities of color and rural communities.”

“Through the project [Growing Food Connections], we studied what we call Communities of Innovation, and so these would be places across the country that have really addressed food-system issues through planning and policy and building partnerships and making investments.”

Resources:

American Farmland Trust

Farmland Information Center

Growing Food Connections

“The New Grand Strategy”

Mar 30, 2017

Topic:

Climate Change and Putting a Price on Carbon

In This Episode:

01:10 Carbon series co-host Michael Green is introduced.
01:40 Michael shares what he hopes to bring to this podcast series.
02:22 Mike shares his excitement for sustainability and equity at the sub-national level.
02:48 Michael tells about CABA’s (Climate Action Business Alliance) expansion efforts to help state-based networks.
03:31 Mike mentions the list of diverse topics that he and Michael have come up with for this new series and introduces what today’s episode will be about.
04:32 Michael conveys his thoughts regarding the Republican party’s view on climate change.
05:01 Mike describes the carbon tax proposal.
06:44 Michael gives his view on the carbon tax proposal.
08:03 Mike states his thoughts of the conversation that upcoming episodes should have.
08:28 Catrina Rorke is introduced.
08:58 Catrina tells about R Street.
10:44 Catrina elaborates on carbon pricing.
11:24 Michael agrees with carbon pricing and says that they will be talking about what to do with the revenue.
11:49 Catrina answers the question of whether carbon pricing and the idea of putting a market signal on an externality is a conservative idea.
13:06 Catrina speaks about the idea of a direct rebate to taxpayers.
14:37 Catrina explains how the R Street approach would work and if it would be fair to those who are paying taxes.
17:19 Catrina expresses her thoughts on putting a price on carbon.
19:12 Catarina shares if climate change is a populist-enough issue for the Republican party.
20:28 Catarina gives her insights of how effective a carbon tax would be.
24:53 Catarina comments on the increase of the carbon tax and how to ensure an environmental outcome from a price signal.
28:03 Michael discusses information on what he’s been following regarding sustainability, the future of climate change, and the outdoor-sports industry.
30:22 Mike talks about an article he read about the Alberta tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline.
32:24 Michael provides information about his interest in the pipeline.
32:54 Mike shares what he knows about ExxonMobil and supplies an issue with the tar sands.
33:33 Michael mentions that Canada is going to be putting a price on carbon.

Guest:

Catrina Rorke is senior fellow and energy policy director for the R Street Institute. She founded and leads the institute’s energy program, which works to clarify a well-defined and limited role for government in shaping decisions about infrastructure, wholesale and retail electricity, research and development, fuel choice and diversity, and climate adaptation and mitigation.

Follow Catrina on Twitter

Organization:

The R Street Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy research organization (“think tank”). Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets and limited, effective government.

Take Away Quotes:

“As an organization that’s dedicated to conservative free-market principles, the carbon tax sort of checked the boxes, and so R Street has long advocated for a revenue-neutral form of a carbon price, especially one that includes preemption for regulatory programs that currently try to price carbon into the market.”

“It’s certainly a conservative idea to use the lightest touch possible to correct a market failure. So, when you look at a role for government, as a conservative you don’t want government to expand beyond addressing substantive market failures, where the market isn’t addressing problems on its own. And climate change is a really perfect example of this. We know that there’s risk related to anthropogenic emissions, the market isn’t pricing that on its own, and so without the ability to enforce reductions to emissions, I guess through property rights…and then, that’s not working, so how do we address reducing emissions? There should be a role for telling the market that there’s this failure, and we’ve traditionally depended on government to fill that role. So I don’t want to say that a carbon tax is a conservative idea, but the idea of using a light touch to address externalities, that’s a conservative idea, and that’s what leads us to a carbon tax.”

“One of the main obstacles to getting the carbon price internalized in the market is that it’s affecting every corner of the economy, right? So nearly every industry is in some way going to be impacted if we start pricing emissions, and because that’s the case, we’re going to see economic contraction. What we want to do is use the revenue that we collect to solve that contraction, and we think we can do it by dedicating all of the revenue to the most distorting taxes that we currently have on the books, and those are taxes to capital. So while a Baker-Shultz proposal is suggesting a dividend, R Street doesn’t think that that’s the most conservative idea. In fact, we think it leaves out sort of the crucial part of this situation which is that you don’t want addressing climate change to damage the economy. You want addressing climate change to lead to a more productive economy.”

“Climate change, also, is this funny problem that just makes all of the existing problems we can measure today worse. So climate change leads to water insecurity, which we already document; it leads to trouble accessing sanitation services, which we already document; it expands the range of disease, which we’re already having trouble addressing.”

Resources:

R Street

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 027: Businesses Acting on Rising Seas with Michael Green of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA) – and our newest Infinite Earth Radio podcast co-host! 

Mar 23, 2017

Topic:

The Impact Domino Effect: From Neighborhoods to Cities to Regions

In This Episode:

01:19 Rachel Deffenbaugh is introduced.
01:29 Rachel shares how she became involved in urban agriculture and why urban agriculture is important to her.
02:15 Rachel states what Gateway Greening is.
02:31 Rachel describes the difference between community gardening and urban agriculture.
03:19 Rachel answers how we look at urban agriculture in terms of it being a system within a community.
04:58 Rachel talks about why we should focus energy on urban agriculture.
07:25 Rachel conveys her thoughts on the direct economic benefits of urban agriculture.
10:49 Mike comments that urban settings can make the food system more economically viable.
12:13 Rachel speaks about the consumer side of food.
13:11 Mike mentions a book called “The Two-Income Trap” by Elizabeth Warren, and that our economy has other things that are more expensive than food.
14:16 Rachel tells what Gateway Greening is doing to make St. Louis more of an urban agricultural place.
17:50 Rachel talks about the goals and vision of Gateway Greening.
20:33 Rachel states how people can support the work of Gateway Greening.
21:24 Rachel shares if there are resources for those who do not live in the St. Louis area.

Guest:

Rachel Deffenbaugh managed the Gateway Greening Urban Farm for over 6 years, during which time she developed and implemented dynamic employment and therapeutic programming for individuals struggling with homelessness, mental illness, and/or addiction. She has a diverse background in sustainable agriculture and therapeutic horticulture. She recently transitioned to supervising the Therapeutic Horticulture program at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Organization:

Gateway Greening isn’t just about gardens and plants. It’s about working together to create something beautiful — safer, more colorful neighborhoods for our children; food for the underprivileged and opportunities for the homeless; and a city that embodies our vision of sustainability and hope. Gateway Greening is a community of gardeners, neighbors, friends and volunteers. And we believe that by educating and empowering our community through gardening and urban agriculture, we can continue to grow St. Louis into the city we know it to be.

Take Away Quotes:

“For me, community gardening has a very localized effect. So it’ll be a garden in a neighborhood, or at a church, that is really focused on whatever community is connected to that garden, which is really significant and impactful for that community. Urban agriculture has a much bigger focus. Maybe it’s a whole city that is impacted by the programing and the produce that is grown there, or potentially even a whole region. So it’s really kind of the scale of what you’re working with.”

“Urban agriculture can be easily integrated into any sort of community with intention behind it… in the case of where I work, it might look like a big—we have a two-and-a-half acre urban farm in downtown St. Louis; and we operate a lot of different programs and impact people struggling with homelessness; we bring in volunteers from all different walks of life, all different communities; we have a teen-employment program. So that’s a very centralized, kind of top-down approach to urban agriculture, which I don’t think is bad by any means, but there’s also the bottom-up approach that is out there as well.”

“Another thing that urban agriculture can be if you’re a city planner or developer or something is tucking in agricultural elements into what you’re already doing. So if you’re redesigning the streetscape in some cute little neighborhood or something, rather than using nonfood-producing trees, use apple trees, pear trees, whatever kind of trees fit your climate best, but some sort of food-producing tree. They take the same level of maintenance and care as any other tree, but the community can benefit that, and it’s no more effort than anything else, and there’s a whole urban-agriculture element already tucked into what exists.”

“…the other thing that I really love about urban agriculture is that it has this incredible power to bring people together, which I think is true of anything having to do with plants. Whether we’re talking about a food-producing plant or your Aunt Margaret’s prize-winning rosebush or whatever the case is, I think humans are inherently drawn to plants.”

Resources:

Gateway Greening

Mar 16, 2017

Topic:

People Taking Charge of Their Own Community

In This Episode:

01:20 Jane LaFleur is introduced.
01:28 Jane shares what interests her about community development and how she got involved in community-development work.
02:30 Jane provides some of the economic challenges.
03:33 Jane defines community wealth.
04:13 Jane states what “a barn-raising approach to community wealth” means.
06:06 Jane tells more about the Heart and Soul approach.
07:31 Jane mentions how long she’s been doing the Heart and Soul approach.
08:14 Jane gives a success story of the Heart and Soul approach.
11:14 Mike discusses the problem of getting people engaged in their communities.
11:30 Jane replies with the old way of doing business.
11:41 Jane supplies another success story of the Heart and Soul approach.
13:26 Mike states his thoughts about the disconnect between government and the people.
13:40 Jane informs that the Heart and Soul approach is about what communities can do for themselves.
15:00 Mike shares his view of what governance is.
15:48 Jane says how people can learn more about her work.
16:04 Jane speaks about the inclusiveness of the Heart and Soul process.
16:58 Mike clarifies which website to go to, depending on your state of residence.
17:33 Jane answers if community wealth is an economic-development process.
18:52 Mike mentions focusing on social capital.
19:32 Jane conveys that social capital is a part of asset-based planning and that businesses are attracted to a community that knows what its values are.

Guest:

Jane LaFleur is the Senior Program Director of Lift360, a state-wide organization that inspires leadership, builds stronger leaders, and equips those leaders to tackle the critical issues facing Maine. Lift360 works to strengthen leaders, organizations and communities through its work with cities and towns, non-profit organizations and community members. Jane served as the Executive Director of Friends of Midcoast Maine (FMM), a regional smart growth, planning and civic engagement organization for 13 years until joining Lift 360 in September 2016. She developed The Community Institute, a program of Friends of Midcoast Maine and has been named a coach and champion on the Orton Family Foundation Heart & Soul planning program. Jane grew up in Lewiston, Maine and has been a city and regional planner since 1981. Her work has received the Maine Associations of Planners Plan of the year award in Damariscotta, Maine and in South Burlington Vermont and in 2015 she was named The Professional Planner of the Year by both the Maine Association of Planners and the Northern New England Chapter of APA. Jane is a sought after lecturer and trainer on planning and civic engagement topics at the local level as well as at national and state conferences including NNECAPA, APA, New Partners for Smart Growth, Community Matters, and MAP Annual Meetings. She has recently published an article in the “Communities and Banking” magazine of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston as well as other publications. Jane graduated from the University of Maine and received her master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University and lives within Camden, Maine.

Organization:

Lift360 focuses on leadership every day – for individuals, in organizations, and throughout communities.Their mission is to inspire leadership, build stronger leaders, and to equip those leaders to tackle the critical issues faced in Maine. That focus takes them into communities and boardrooms, reaching all sectors and all areas of the state. They deliver programs and services working side by side with organizational and community leaders. The impact of their work and the stories they hear from those they collaborate with is an incredible reward. It’s their way to make Maine an even better place to live and work.

Take Away Quotes:

“I’m a city planner by training, and I’ve been involved with communities since about 1980, when I got out of graduate school, and I really started to care about how communities grow and change and help people take leadership positions in communities to make a difference…I love watching communities wrestle with tough decisions, and I love watching young people get engaged in communities, because we need more of that. We need new young people to take over our roles as we get older.”

“Community wealth is not necessarily cash, it’s not necessarily money; it’s all the things that make up your community, and it’s the assets in your community, it’s who’s living in your community, it’s the social fabric of the community, it’s whether you have engaged people, whether you have people making tough decisions and helping to grow that community.”

“The [Heart and Soul] approach is outlined on the Orton Family Foundation website, and with lots of free materials. It doesn’t cost anything for someone to take on this process; they don’t charge. There are some costs as you’re running the process—you need to fund a coordinator to help keep all the ducks in a row and keep all the activities in line so you know who’s doing what. But it’s an 18-month to two-year, four-phase process. It starts with identifying who’s in your community and who are the connections in the community. Often, some never really think about all the organizations and groups and individuals that are making that community function.”

Resources:

Lift360

Orton Family Foundation

Mar 9, 2017

Topic:

Spurring Community Revitalization

In This Episode:

01:36 Co-host Kate Meis is introduced.
01:44 Guest Darin Dinsmore is introduced.
01:53 Darin shares how he ended up working on affordable-housing and infill-housing issues.
02:24 Darin explains what smart infill housing is.
02:50 Darin describes what infill and smart growth look like in rural communities like Truckee, California.
03:54 Darin provides information on his tiny-home project.
06:04 Darin discusses the zoning ordinance for the tiny-home project in Arizona.
06:50 Kate mentions that with the growing interest in tiny homes, local governments are having to figure out how to keep the zoning updated.
07:23 Mike comments on the dynamic of minimal residential house size and people who are living in hotel rooms in dilapidated buildings.
08:11 Darin speaks about micro units and single-room occupancy units.
08:46 Darin tells about the infill score and revitalization roadmap tool.
09:27 Darin states where people can go to take the infill-readiness test.
09:48 Darin describes the Crowdbrite tool.
11:25 Darin shares where people can go to access the Crowdbrite tool.
11:39 Darin mentions the city where the Crowdbrite tool is bring used.
12:06 Darin supplies some of the things that communities can do to be infill ready.
13:01 Mike adds to the discussion that there’s a public-approval issue.
13:24 Kate conveys that most Americans prefer smart growth.
13:33 Darin provides some of the challenges that cities face in becoming infill ready.

Co-Host:

Kate Meis joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Guest:

Crowdbrite CEO Darin Dinsmore is an urban planner and landscape architect with over 15 years experience in community based planning and design. His award winning projects have transformed communities and neighborhoods. Darin is an expert in collaborative techniques and community engagement.

Organization:

Crowdbrite is a leader in civic engagement. They combine next generation online tools and award winning approaches for meaningful engagement.

Take Away Quotes:

“I’m originally a planner from Canada, came to the United States, came to California, back in 1999. As a nonprofit planning director, really got involved in working with communities, doing community-based planning, and one of the big issues is infill development and, today now more than ever, affordable housing.”

“Most cities, as you’re aware, including St. Louis, where we are now, have lots that are underutilized or could be utilized better or parking areas that could be used for housing and things. It’s just making better use of those lands where there are existing services—water, sewer, parks, schools—and how can we use those lands more efficiently and more effectively.”

“Truckee, for instance, was one of the last incorporated cities in California, and it really was and grew as a bunch of, sort of, scattered neighborhoods in Placer County. And since they’ve incorporated, they’ve been, basically, trying to knit that community fabric together with roads, parks, schools, and infrastructure to really become that community and that town that’s more walkable and friendly for its citizens. And so their type of infill isn’t large-scale projects; it’s small two- and three-story buildings, accessory dwelling units, even, maybe, tiny homes in your backyard.”

“About a year ago we launched this infill-score tool. It’s a tool for citizens, elected officials, and planners to kind of get a number in terms of their infill readiness, and it takes about 10 minutes online to calculate your score. And in the last year, without really any advertising, we’ve had 250 cities in seven countries and every state except Delaware use the tool. So we’re seeing that there’s a lot of interest and demand in tools and strategies for smart infill.”

Resources:

Crowdbrite

Infill Score

Infill Planning Tool – Community Revitalization Roadmap

Mar 2, 2017

Topic:

How Community Design Impacts lives

In This Episode:

01:31 Elizabeth Hartig is introduced.
01:40 Elizabeth shares how she became involved in planning for health issues.
02:23 Elizabeth tells about the American Planning Association.
03:02 Elizabeth states if there are specific objectives to achieve with the Plan4Health initiative.
04:08 Elizabeth relays the degree to which community design impacts health versus access to healthcare.
05:05 Elizabeth answers the question of how to move to a more healthy-community design.
07:18 Elizabeth shares her thoughts on what needs to be done to get a faster-moving healthy-community movement.
08:36 Elizabeth provides the degree to which her work focuses on communities that have a lower quality of health outcomes and what needs to be done for those communities to be healthier.
10:54 Elizabeth relates what she is doing to get the people who are building communities to be more responsive to the urban walkable-community market demand.
12:37 Elizabeth tells where can people learn more about Plan4Health.
13:53 Elizabeth provides the first steps to making healthier communities.
15:38 Mike mentions one of the biggest mistakes that planners make.
16:06 Elizabeth comments on the mistake that planners make.
16:59 Elizabeth mentions if there is an expected end to the program or if it’s ongoing.


Guest:

Elizabeth Hartig joined the American Planning Association (APA) as a project coordinator for the Planning and Community Health Center in January 2015. Immediately prior, Elizabeth was a program officer with the Chicago Foundation for Women, leading the foundation’s volunteer grantmaking committee, managing the final evaluation plan for each proposal and supporting the foundation’s grantee community. Elizabeth received her master of arts in social administration from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and has worked in a variety of direct service and administrative positions.

Organization:

Plan4Health is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Center is an awardee of the CDC’s National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention funding opportunity. Plan4Health is one community within the larger project — sharing lessons learned and expertise with the American Heart Association; the National Women, Infants, and Children; Society for Public Health Education; and Directors of Health Promotion and Education.


Take Away Quotes:

“My background is actually in social work, so I worked with a community foundation in Chicago, really thinking about how we can reach vulnerable populations, how we can support families and women and girls, and a lot of our work focused around places, so where people were and how that impacted their lives and their health and their choices. So when the opportunity to work with a Plan4Health project came up, I was really excited to take this to a deeper level and really think about how the design of our communities can impact our lives.”

“APA is a membership organization. We have about 38,000 members across the country. Our members are working at all different levels, with local communities, in regions, really thinking about how we can create healthy, vibrant communities.”

“APA was awarded a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September of 2014, so we are in our second-and-a-half year of the project, and, really, the goal of the award and the goal of our overall project is to prevent chronic disease. So, how do we do that? We can make it easier to walk and bike and increase opportunities for physical activity, and we can also make it easier to get healthy food.”

“I think a lot of times we think about health equalling healthcare, but, really, most of your health is not happening at the doctor’s office, it’s happening in your daily life.”

Resources:

Plan4Health

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Local Government Commission

Planners4Health Project

American Planning Association (APA)

APA’s Planning and Community Health Center

Feb 23, 2017

Topic:

Sustainability and Economic Opportunity and Inclusion

In This Episode:

01:24 Co-host Kif Scheuer is introduced.
01:32 Julie Seward is introduced.
01:40 Julie shares how she became interested in working in resiliency, sustainability, and community equity.
03:14 Julie describes the biggest successes and the biggest challenges in the smart-growth movement.
05:23 Julie speaks about the subtopics and interconnected terms of the smart-growth movement and if there’s confusion for the public.
06:47 Julie comments on who is involved in the smart-growth movement and the roles they play.
08:28 Julie addresses challenging issues that go beyond jurisdictional boundaries.
10:41 Julie states how to weave together thriving-economy areas and non-thriving-economy areas of the country.
14:37 Kif mentions the economic imbalance of coastal urban areas, valuable resources we have under a stressed climate, and the “makers and takers” of the environment.
15:35 Julie expresses her thoughts on the future leaders who may be able to help shape the future
16:50 Mike adds to the discussion his opinion that the biggest need is for people to have equitable opportunity to participate in the economy.
18:29 Julie responds with her perspective on economic inclusion, urban economies, and the inflection point.

Co-Host:

Kif Scheuer joins the Infinite Earth Radio as the co-host for this episode. Kif Scheuer is the Climate Change Program Director at the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kif is a solution-oriented sustainability professional with a strong history of engaging diverse audiences in real-world climate protection efforts through innovative, market-focused research and analysis, creative program design, effective project implementation, and compelling public advocacy and education. In 2013 Kif organized the first California Adaptation Forum, which attracted over 800 attendees and served to kick start the statewide conversation on adaptation. Kif led the development and growth of one of the LGC’s key coalitions – the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a statewide network focused on addressing adaptation at the regional scale.

Guest:

Julie Seward is the Principal of Julia Seward Consulting. Julie is skilled at building the foundation for long-term initiatives and transforming strategies into actions. Her consulting work often involves finding solutions and promoting common goals and collaboration among highly diverse stakeholders. Julie’s particular areas of interest and experience include building sustainable communities through smart growth; creating and integrating state policy partnerships; and planning and orchestrating conferences and meetings that produce innovative outcomes.

Organization:

Julia Seward Consulting provides strategic planning, project management and implementation, and facilitation to national organizations, local, state, and regional governing bodies, community based organizations, foundations and consulting firms.

Take Away Quotes:

“The biggest success in the smart-growth movement, in fact, is there is a smart-growth movement that is understood, and smart growth is now a fairly accepted frame of reference for people. If you had asked people a decade ago what that means, certainly there are a core of people who would understand that, but many people would not have. I think there’s huge success and the…people that are involved in smart growth should really claim great credit for having really created something that has become a common word for people in the United States. Sustainability is now a part, I think, of the way most people think about the work they do—certainly not that way a decade ago—so I think in some ways that’s the greatest success is it’s become an integral part of the way people think about their lives.”

“Well, I think sometimes we even confuse ourselves. Yeah, I think in many people’s minds they [the interconnected terms of smart growth] are the same thing. I think that people assume that if you are a smart place, you are a resilient place, and that means not only do you deal with some type of disaster well but also do you deal with the stresses that are inside your communities. So, in my mind, I guess, when I hear the word resilience, I love the word itself—I think it sort of says what it is—but how that gets connected into and used in the same context of smart, I don’t think we clearly know. But many people would say smart growth is no longer, perhaps, the best way to describe what we’re about. So maybe resilience is becoming the way we describe that work in the future.”

“Equity is sort of a word that, as my father would have said, you can drive a truck through; it means many different things to many different people. But I think that people that are trying to work around equity issues now, a lot of that conversation is moving toward economic inclusion as a way they like to think about equity as we move forward. And to me there’s a great connector between that and sustainability and resilience, and how that’s something that is afforded to everyone and is that something that, in fact, can apply to all communities in an equitable way, because when you’re thinking about equity or economic inclusion, it’s just not about individuals; it really is about cities and towns…so that whole concept, I think, of economic inclusion becomes something that could, well, potentially certainly could cover a lot of that work that’s going on among all those actors.”

Resources:

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Local Government Commission

Feb 15, 2017

Topic:

Serving Lower-Income Families Through Inclusionary Housing

In This Episode:

01:13 Co-host Kate Meis is introduced.
01:21 Sasha Hauswald is introduced.
01:30 Sasha shares how she ended up working on affordable-housing issues.
02:21 Sasha talks about some of the tools that cities are using to ensure that there is a supply of affordable housing so that families can stay together.
04:33 Sasha conveys her thoughts on challenges that municipalities have with providing affordable housing.
05:10 Sasha explains how inclusionary zoning is used.
06:42 Sasha states if there’s an incentive to the developer to include inclusionary housing.
08:33 Sasha elaborates if the impact of housing affordability is long term or short term.
10:28 Sasha discusses how one has to think of inclusionary housing differently in strong versus weaker up-and-coming markets.
16:13 Sasha addresses if there is anything else in the inclusionary zoning, beyond incentives to developers, that can incentivize more housing creation.
20:04 Sasha communicates why affordable housing should matter for those who already have housing.
22:47 Sasha comments on how policy decisions can favor or disfavor certain people.
24:32 Sasha gives advice on how smaller communities can get started on this conversation around affordable housing.
26:11 Mike mentions the importance for people to understand zoning and how that impacts housing prices.
27:20 Kate discusses the misalignment of the planning process with zoning codes.
28:20 Sasha shares how people can learn more about her work.

Guest/Organization:

Prior to serving as Director of State and Local Policy at Grounded Solutions Network, Sasha was Senior Program Officer at Cornerstone Partnership, where she led Cornerstone’s inclusionary housing engagements and activities. Before that, Sasha worked in at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development where she oversaw legislative affairs, strategic planning, and program evaluation projects as Public Policy manager.

Grounded Solutions Network is supporting strong communities from the ground up. We work nationally, connecting local experts with the networks, knowledge and support they need. Grounded Solutions Network helps promote housing solutions that will stay affordable for generations so communities can stabilize and strengthen their foundation, for good.

Take Away Quotes:

“I started off working in foster care, and a lot of the kids who I was looking after in foster care were trying to be reunited with their families, but their parents were not able to find housing. So their parents are dropped in shelters, and the kids are dropped in foster care, and I just realized that it was sort of an underlying issue that was keeping families apart.”

“[Kate] read a study that said that there isn’t a county anywhere in the nation that can fill all of its low-income-population need for affordable housing.”

“Now, places are finding that they have affordability challenges even for moderate-income workers, and it’s just become a problem that affects “normal people” in “normal places,” so it’s not just the super-hot markets or the extremely low income anymore.”

“There are, I’d say, ecological benefits, economic benefits, and social benefits. The ecological benefits are that if people have to drive really far from some very far out suburb into their job in the city, then, it’s polluting the air for all of us, and that’s something that isn’t just impacting that family that has to drive. If you’re empathetic, you might feel bad that they have to drive for two hours to get to their job, but, regardless… The economic benefit is that there are businesses that need employees of all wage levels everywhere, especially in job centers…so businesses need affordable housing in order to be able to survive because they need to be able to pay their workers a level that the business can actually feasibly make happen, given what their revenue stream looks like. The third reason, the social benefit, is that we know concentrated poverty leads to bad outcomes for kids, and if you have all of the kids who are of the lowest income all living together in a far out place, then we know that those kids are going to grow up to have poor academic achievement, poor economic outcomes, and poor health outcomes, which is bad, again, for our infrastructure, our hospitals, and our economy.”

Resources:

Grounded Solutions

Policy Link’s Equity Tools

National Low Income Housing Coalition

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

Local Government Commission

Feb 9, 2017

In This Episode:

01:14 Erik Pages is introduced.
01:39 Erik talks about how he ended up focusing his work in economic development and entrepreneurship.
02:27 Erik supplies the keys to success of communities that have reinvented themselves.
03:38 Erik explains why his approach to economic recovery is not more widely used.
04:44 Erik shares an example of a community that’s been successful with his kind of economic-recovery approach.
05:28 Erik describes what a place-based approach is.
06:17 Erik provides an example of someplace in Coal Country that is taking the place-based approach.
07:14 Erik gives advice to those living in a community that needed to reinvent itself.
08:04 Erick makes known how to leverage the entrepreneurial talent that’s found in every community.
09:12 Erik states how communities can make themselves more resilient to economic changes.
10:53 Erik tells if it’s possible to build an economy that will keep people’s jobs since technology is replacing some jobs.
12:25 Erik shares his thoughts on the Trump administration’s objective of creating more jobs through better trade deals and a better tax structure.
13:49 Erik speaks to the opportunity of the coal economy coming back.
15:46 Erik expresses how people can help the people in Coal Country make an easier transition so that they might have more political support for an alternative-energy economy.
17:20 Erik proposes a national-level policy that would move our economy forward.
19:18 Erik shares if there is a need of a better system for re-training and job-transition programs.
19:55 Erik gives his suggestion that would allow easier and faster reinvention of communities.
20:43 Erik tells how people can learn more about his work and entrepreneurial economic development.

Guest:

Erik Pages is the President of EntreWorks Consulting, an economic development consulting and policy development firm focused on helping communities and organizations achieve their entrepreneurial potential.

Learn More About Erik

Organization:

Based in Arlington, VA, EntreWorks Consulting is an economic development consulting and policy development firm focused on helping communities, businesses, and organizations achieve their entrepreneurial potential. EntreWorks works with a diverse base of clients including state and local governments, Chambers of Commerce, business leaders, educational institutions, and non-profits. Since its founding, EntreWorks has worked with customers in forty states and overseas. EntreWorks Consulting works with communities, organizations, and civic leaders to design, implement, and promote innovative economic development strategies, policies, and programs. They help create and publicize the best of new thinking about community economic development. Their work is based on a belief that entrepreneurship in all its forms is the key to revitalizing our communities, ranging from the booming technology hot spots to distressed rural and urban communities.

Take Away Quotes:

“I think I come at entrepreneurship from a slightly different perspective of most people. I’m not one of these people that adores Bill Gates or adores Steve Jobs. I’m interested in entrepreneurship because I think it’s an economic-development strategy that’s available to all communities, unlike some other, say, high-tech-development strategy. So that’s why I’m a big fan of entrepreneurship, and I think it’s an economic-development strategy that can fit in almost any kind of community.”

“I do think that there’s a couple things that successful communities do. One is that they engage everybody in the community. It’s not just a handful of leaders doing it. The other thing—and this is really the biggest challenge for economic-development folks—is you need to, what we like to say is, hit for singles, not for home runs. Don’t try to replace all of the lost jobs in one fell swoop, because that’s not possible. Recovery from an economic shock takes time, and you have to be in there for the long haul, and you’ve got to rebuild yourself one job at a time. That’s the way to do it.”

“When we look at economic development, you could have a place-based strategy that tries to make a place better for business or for individuals, and we also have a people-based strategy where you provide education and training to people and give them the skills you want. Most of the programs that we have in the United States—public programs, at least—are people-based programs, primarily education and training programs. We don’t invest as much as we should in place-based programs that are trying to improve the quality of life in a place, that could improve the business prospects of a place so that every community, no matter where you live, you could have economic opportunity.”

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 56: Autonomous Vehicles—The Future Much Sooner Than You Think, with Lisa Nisenson & Ryan Snyder

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

EntreWorks Consulting

Center for Rural Entrepreneurship

Kauffman Foundation

U.S. Economic Development Administration

National Association of Development Organizations

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